Endodontic FAQ

PROFESSIONAL CONSIDERATE CARE

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.

Is a Root Canal for you?

Do you have any of the following symptoms?

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold that lingers
  • Discomfort when chewing or biting
  • Dull Ache
  • Discomfort that wakes you up at night
  • Your dentist has diagnosed the need for endodontic treatment either by clinical exam or x-ray

If you answered yes to any of the above, you might very well need a root canal. Please call and schedule for an evaluation. Be aware not all teeth that ARE in need of root canal therapy will cause pain. It is possible to be pain-free and still need a root canal.

What are the Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Versus Extraction?

The single most important benefit of root canal therapy is that you keep your tooth. Extractions may lead to other dental problems. For instance, drifting of teeth, bite problems, TMJ discomfort, and the need to treat adjacent teeth that do not otherwise need dental treatment in order to restore the missing tooth. No matter how effective modern tooth replacements are – and they can be very effective – nothing is as good as your natural tooth.

Is the Root Canal Procedure Painful?

With modern techniques and anesthetics the procedure is much faster and with less discomfort than there has ever been. A similar anesthetic as the one used by your dentist will be used for the root canal. For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive to the bite. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications in order to control normal post-treatment discomfort.

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 CD’s.

What about infection?

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 appointment within a few (4-6) weeks of completing the root canal therapy 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 answer your questions.

What new technologies are being used?

Microscopes:

In addition to digital radiography, we utilize special operating Global 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.

Cone Beam CT:

In keeping with our tradition of being early adopters of technology to better serve our patients, we at University Park Endodontics are pleased to announce that we have the KODAK 9000 3D Extra oral Imaging System.

Three-dimensional technology allows our doctors to better visualize our patients’ dentition, without having to send patients for radiology scans.