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 endodontics 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 cotherapists via e-mail or diskette.
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. In Naperfield Endodontics we cover all exposed treatment surfaces with disposable covers, we use autoclaved instruments and rubber dam barrier during treatment. We routinely exceed the standard requirements of universal infection control.
What happens after treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your general dentist. You should contact his or her office for your permanent restoration (usually a crown) within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your general 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. For more information on what to expect following root canal therapy and for instruction on home care please review ( Post operative instructions) form under patient registration. Those instructions will be given to you verbally and in writing upon completion of your treatment and before you leave our office.
What new technologies are being used?
We constantly update our techniques to stay current with all the new and advanced technologies in the field of endodontics. The following are examples of some of the advanced technologies we use at our practice.
Operating Surgical Microscopes:
We utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth. Also, a tiny video camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor’s findings.
The main advantage of using digitized radiographs is minimizing exposure to x rays radiation. Further protection agains radiation in the form of lead aprons with thyroid shields will also be used. These digital images are of high quality and will be visible to you and to your doctor on a flat computer screen. Findings on these images can be discussed with you and later shared with your general dentist.
Three Dimensional Computerized Cone Beam Tomography:
These are highly advanced images that are reserved for cases of trauma, fractures and teeth with extremely complex anatomy. It gives the doctor the opportunity to view your tooth and surrounding tissues from many different angles in three dimensions. Your doctor is trained to analyze and interpret these complex images.
Nickel Titanium Engin Driven Instruments:
Those are highly flexible root canal instruments designed for better and more efficient cleaning of the inside of your tooth. They are used in conjunction with hand held files to optimize the root canal treatment outcome.
A specially designed ultrasonic tips are introduced into the treatment routine to activate antiseptic medication used inside your root canals to better clean them. Those tips are also used to remove old posts or pins from inside your tooth.
Resin Bonded Filling Materials:
These are root canal and crown filling materials used to bond and sometimes strengthen the inside of your tooth following root canal therapy. Your doctor will decide if your case is a candidate for the use of these materials.
Single Tooth Anesthesia (STA):
This is a computerized devise that controls delivery of the anesthetic solution and constantly measure the back pressure exerted by the soft tissues receiving the anesthetic solution. The result is a pain free injection that establishes an effective anesthesia. (This technique is not used for every case, certain teeth still require the standard regional nerve block injection).