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What is an Endodontist and what do they do?

Endodontists are dentists who specialize in maintaining teeth through endodontic therapy -- procedures, involving the soft inner tissue of the teeth, called the pulp.  The word "endodontic" comes from "endo" meaning inside and "odont" meaning tooth.  Like many medical terms, it's Greek.  All dentists are trained in diagnosis and endodontic therapy, however, some teeth can be especially difficult to diagnose and treat.  That’s why you may have been referred to an endodontic specialist.

In addition to dental school, endodontists receive two or more years of advanced education in this kind of treatment. They study root canal techniques and procedures in greater depth, for diagnosis and treatment of more difficult cases.


As an endodontic patient, what should I expect?

• A comprehensive examination to diagnose oral-facial pain and pulpal injury to determine if the tooth is a good candidate for endodontic therapy.

• Non-surgical treatment to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed.

• Under certain circumstances, microsurgery may be indicated. We are experts in performing this procedure and utilize sophisticated technology to ensure the best outcome.


I'm worried about x-rays. Should I be?

No. While x-rays will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system called digital radiography that produces radiation levels up to 90% lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to your dentist via mail or email.


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.


How long does a root canal treatment take?

The root canal treatment usually can be completed in one visit. In some cases, a second visit is required. Please allow 2 hours for your office visit.


Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

The goal of endodontics is to relieve pain caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern anesthetic techniques, the majority of patients report that they are comfortable with the procedure. For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may be sensitive or sore, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. In the majority of cases, over-the-counter pain relievers are used for this discomfort, but your doctor may prescribe additional medications for you.


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 their 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.


What new technologies are being used?

Operating microscopes:

In addition to digital radiography, we utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth.


Digital radiography:

All radiographs in our office are taken with digital sensors. The acquired image is then sent to a special computer and can be instantly viewed on monitors in each treatment room. These images require up to 90% less radiation than conventional

low-dose x-ray films. All images are stored in your digital chart for easy access and communication with your restorative dentist.


Apex locators:

Apex locators aid us in determining the length of the root canals during treatment. This information allows us to complete your procedure efficiently while reducing the number of x-rays required for treatment.



Ultrasonic instruments are used in conjunction with the microscope to selectively remove tooth structure or bypass obstructions within the root canal system.


Nickel titanium instruments:

The extreme elasticity of the nickel titanium instruments allows us to predictably negotiate canals with complex anatomy.

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