Apex Endodontics FAQs
What is Endodontics?
Endodontics is a specialized form of dentistry that treats diseases or injuries that affect the root tip or nerve of the tooth and the structures known as the pulp chamber, pulp, and root canal, of the tooth. Root canal therapy is the most common endodontic procedure. Endodontics is one of the nine specialties recognized by the American Dental Association; it was recognized as a dental specialty in 1963.
What is Endodontic treatment?
Endodontic treatment, commonly called “root canal treatment”, is a common dental procedure that removes damaged tissue from inside the root canals of a tooth, thereby significantly lengthening the life of the tooth. Endodontic treatment restores once damaged teeth and is a recognized and superior alternative to tooth extraction as a means of treating damaged interior structures such as pulp.
Who is an Endodontist?
An endodontist is a specialized dentist with training in diagnosing and treating problems associated with the inside of the tooth. Endodontists complete four years of dental school and an additional two or more years of advanced training in endodontics. Endodontists are also licensed by the state in which they practice. Endodontists primarily perform root canal therapies, including retreatment of previous root canals that have not healed completely. They are also qualified in diagnosing and treating oral and facial pain, as well as treating dental emergencies, such as toothaches, oral trauma, and cracked or displaced teeth. Endodontists can also treat more complex conditions, such as extreme pain, medically compromised patients, and anatomic problems including tooth curvature and calcification. Endodontists also perform certain surgical procedures, most of which are required as an alternative to conventional root canal therapy.
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 existing low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to cotherapists via e-mail or diskette.
What new technologies do Endodontists use?
In addition to digital radiography, we utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification (up to 30x) and xenon fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details of the root canal anatomy inside your tooth. It would be difficult to visualize this with the naked eye. Also, a tiny video camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor’s findings. With our special training with the dental operating microscope, we ensure a higher success rate for your treatment. We believe that all root canal therapy should be performed with the light and magnification advantages provided by a microscope.
We also utilize Ultrasonic instrumentations, which is a newer type of instrument used in Endodontic Treatment. Ultrasonic instruments are used during complex root canal procedures, including chemical debridement or management of calcified canals and removal of broken instruments. They are also used to make the root end filling spaces during apical surgery cases.
What are the signs & symptoms that my tooth may need Endodontic treatment?
Indications for Endodontic treatment include prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, discoloration of the tooth, pain with biting, swelling or tenderness of the tooth or adjacent gums, and the appearance of an abscess on an x-ray. Sometimes there are no signs and symptoms.