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?
While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontics treatment, we use an advanced computerized system, called digital radiography. Digital radiographs are exposed using up to 90 percent less radiation compared to conventional film based dental x-rays. These digital images can be enhanced and magnified increasing the quality of treatment.
What about infection control?
Again, there’s no need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, WISHA, 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 or her 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 addition to digital radiography we utilize Zeiss operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic Xenon illumination are critical in aiding Dr. George to see tiny details inside your tooth. Also, a digital SLR camera attached to the operating microscope is used to record images of your tooth for correspondence with your dentist.
Our newest addition to the office is the Carestream CBCT scanner. The CT machine allows for imaging in three dimensions. The ability to visualize a tooth from every direction aids in all phases of therapy. From diagnosis to treatment, the CBCT scanner has been instrumental to elevating our standard of care.