Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association involving diagnosis and 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, trauma, 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 inflammation and infection. After successful endodontic treatment, the tooth continues to perform normally.
What about infection control?
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?
Endodontic treatment for this tooth has now been completed. The root canal, or canals, have been permanently sealed. However, the outer surface is sealed with a temporary filling material. PLEASE CONTACT YOUR DENTIST FOR AN APPOINTMENT FOR A FINAL RESTORATION OF YOUR TOOTH. This is necessary to protect your tooth against fracture and decay, thus ensuring long term sucess. Avoid chewing or biting on the treated tooth until you have it restored by your dentist. Your dentist will be informed that endodontic treatment has been completed and a report will be sent to their office with pre-op and post-op radiographs.
The tooth may be slightly tender for several days as a result of the manipulation during treatment. These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to over the counter pain medications. Please follow the instructions on how to take these medications. Contact our office if you notice visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth or experience an allergic reaction to prescribed medication.
A tooth that has had appropriate endodontic treatment followed by a proper restoration can last as long as your other natural teeth. We will send you a postcard in six months for a re-examination appointment. X-rays taken at that appointment will permit us to review the healing process following your treatment. It is important that endodontically treated teeth be re-examined regularly, since a small percentage of these do not heal completely.