What is endodontics?
Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving treatment of the pulp (root canal) and surrounding tissues of the tooth. When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown. The rest of the tooth, the portion hidden beneath the gum line, is called the root. Though the outer portion of the root is a hard tissue called dentin, the inside channel or “root canal” contains a pulp of soft tissue, blood vessels and nerves. Bacteria that are introduced into the pulp as a result of tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth fracture or other problems, can severely damage the pulp. When that happens, an endodontic specialist removes the diseased pulp to save the tooth and prevent further infection and inflammation. After successful endodontic treatment, the tooth continues to perform normally.
I’m worried about x-rays. Should I be?
No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography, that produces radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to co-therapists via e-mail or CD.
What about infection?
Again, there’s no need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. We utilize autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection.
What happens after treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact his office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond.
What new technologies are being used?
In order to provide the best treatment for our patients, Endodontic Associates takes pride in keeping up with the most up-to-date technology and techniques in endodontics. Here are some other examples of technology we use in our office.
In our office, we have surgical microscopes in each patient operatory. It provides enhanced visualization of the endodontic access area up to 25 times. This is especially beneficial for accurate visualization of complex anatomy cases, locating root fractures or defects, and locating additional canals.
Computer Digital Radiography
Dental x-rays can now be taken using sensors that transmit the image directly into a computer monitor. This larger image helps the patient understand the doctor’s explanations more easily and enables the doctor to “zoom in” on a specific area of the tooth. An important advantage to this new technology is that it reduces the amount of radiation by up to 90%. Digital x-rays are also faster. The digital image takes only seconds to appear on the monitor. In addition, this new technology is friendly to the environment since no chemicals are needed for developing the image.
The Wand is a technological advancement in the way that we administer anesthetic. Initially, with each treatment, we use this system because it enables us to deliver the anesthetic in a much more controlled and predictable manner. As a result, the initial injection is more comfortable for each and every patient.
ConeBeam Computed Tomography (CBCT)
Nickel Titanium Rotary Files
Nickel Titanium has the unique features of flexibility and shape memory. The instruments are used to clean and shape the inside of the canal. Previous stainless steel instruments had the tendency to break and could not take a curve to follow the shape of the canal; therefore, it was difficult to clean the canal successfully. Nickel Titanium is more flexible so even canals that are sharply curved can be thoroughly cleaned and shaped. Using these instruments routinely allows us not only to be more effective but also to work faster.
Apex Locator (Root ZX)
We use this instrument to quickly and accurately locate the foramen at the end of each root. This allows us to more predictably clean and fill the canals in each root at the correct length.
Electric Pulp Tester
This instrument is used to test the vitality of the nerve inside the tooth.