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 one of your teeth in the mirror, what you see is the crown. The rest of the tooth, 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.
No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced, non-film, computerized system called digital radiography. It produces radiation levels up to 90% lower than those of 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/DVD.
Again, there's no need for concern. We adhere to the rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control, and the American Dental Association.
When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact your dentist’s office if a follow-up restoration is recommended within a few weeks of your visit with us. Your dentist will decide what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. It is rare for patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, we are available at all times to respond.
After Endodontic Treatment:
When endodontic treatment has been completed you will receive specific, verbal and written instructions particular to your clinical situation. But in general, once root canal therapy has been performed, the root canal system has been permanently filled. However, the outer surface is most often sealed with a temporary restoration. A follow-up restoration must be placed to protect your tooth against fracture and decay. Please telephone your restorative dentist for an appointment to have this accomplished. A report of the treatment provided will be sent to your restorative dentist. Included in your treatment is a follow-up examination to evaluate the progress of healing several months after initial therapy. This appointment will require only a few minutes and no additional fee will be charged for this follow-up visit. Please call, or expect a call, to schedule a follow-up appointment approximately 6-months after root canal therapy.
Radiographs are taken using digital imaging. This technology reduces the patient’s exposure to radiation by up to 90%, increases accuracy, eliminates harmful chemicals, and shortens procedure time. Images are displayed on a computer monitor, rather than traditional dental film, providing patients the opportunity to see and understand our diagnosis. We’ve found that patients are more comfortable pursuing treatment when they can see why it is necessary. These images are also printed, archived, and sent to your dentist.
In addition to digital radiography, we utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see minute details inside your tooth. Also, a tiny video camera on the microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor's findings.
We also employ advanced electronic root-length measurement technology to verify the dimensions of each root canal. This is accomplished by connecting an instrument to a device that corresponds to the tactile sensation of the instrument to the device’s meter, once the device is at the apex (end) of the root canal; the meter provides a signal to indicate the precise length of the root. The apex locator allows us to be efficient and accurate during each procedure.
Endodontics Ltd. is very pleased to be working exclusively with Palmetto Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery. In some complex cases, two dimensional x-rays are not definitive; therefore, Palmetto Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery provides 3-D high definition facial imaging to evaluate and treat the case
Most root canals are completed in a single appointment. There are exceptions. Highly infected teeth discovered on the first visit will have an anti-bacterial paste placed within the tooth to allow thorough disinfection before filling the root canal on the second, shorter visit. This second-level disinfection process helps ensure success, and minimizes likelihood that any further treatment will be needed.
First, recognize that you are not alone. Many people fear the idea of root canal therapy since they don’t know exactly what to expect or have heard negative comments.
Second, consider the fact that people often lump the memory of their dental or tooth pain in with the root canal therapy itself. The indication for root canal therapy is usually an excruciating tooth ache. In contrast, the treatment is pain relieving! So allow us to put you at ease, and take care of your endodontic needs painlessly, with precision and compassion.
Third, carefully weigh your options. The most common alternative to having a root canal performed is extraction (i.e. having your tooth pulled). In carefully-controlled clinical studies, patients who have had extractions report more pain and pressure during the extraction and more post-operative pain and complications after extraction than patients who have had root canal therapy performed. With root canal therapy you will still have your natural tooth. By extracting it you will not.
While root canal therapy is usually preferable to extraction (having your tooth pulled), there are conditions and situations which do justify extraction over root canal therapy. We can give you an accurate and unbiased professional opinion in conjunction with your restorative dentist. Bridges are a good alternative to replace missing teeth.