Endodontic FAQ

What is an Endodontist?

An Endodontist is a dentist who has undergone a minimum of 2 years of post-graduate training beyond dental school.  This specialized training allows an endodontist to do the following:

1) Render specialized care to address disease of the dental pulp and supporting structures; and

2) Diagnose facial pain and related problems.

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. The pulp can become damaged from irritation from accumulated dental procedures or bacteria that are introduced into the pulp as a result of tooth decay, periodontal disease, tooth fracture or other problems.  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 CD-ROM. 

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.

What happens after treatment?

Once treatment has been completed in our office, we will provide you with a post-operative form that will review any particular instructions and recommendations for your particular case. We will review any recommended medication protocol, any particular need to return to our office, and also any possible need to return to your restorative dentist for further care of the treated tooth. When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. We make every effort to make sure that this report (including radiographs) is sent in a timely manner.  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.