Frequently Asked Questions
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. For more information about having your root canal treatment completed by an endodontist, see Why Choose an Endodontist.
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 other providers involved in your care via e-mail or USB drive.
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 a follow-up restoration 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.
What new technologies are being used?
In addition to digital radiography, 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 camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor’s findings.
Cone Beam CT:
Our practice utilizes state-of-the-art, small volume cone-beam CT (computed tomography) technology that provides highly accurate, 3-D radiographic images for the diagnosis, planning and treatment of endodontic disease.
This allows three-dimensional visualization of teeth, bone, sinuses and surrounding structures with minimal radiation to the patient, enabling a level of anatomical accuracy and patient care not possible with 2-D technologies (regular dental x-rays). With the addition of cone-beam CT technology to our office, our practice is committed to providing innovative, high-quality, patient care.
WHAT DO THE STUDIES SHOW?
- 89% of patients are satisfied after a root canal by an endodontist. [National Consumer
Awareness Survey, May 2007]
- Patients who have a root canal treatment performed by endodontists are more satisfied than those who have the procedure performed by general dentists. [National Consumer
Awareness Survey, 2008]
- A comparison of endodontic treatments performed by general dentists or by endodontists
showed that endodontic treatment was significantly more successful when performed by a
specialist based on a comparison of survival of teeth following endodontic treatment. [Oral
Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2004 Jul;98(1):115-8; Alabama study]