Endodontic FAQ


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. 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.

Who is an endodontist?

After becoming general dentists, endodontist complete an additional 2-3 years residency to specialize in the field of endodontics.  Here, they are trained by other specialists how to approach and respect the complexity of canal systems inside tooth roots.  Extensive training goes into the techniques of conserving tooth material, not missing hidden canals and how to properly disinfect and clean infected roots. 

What makes our root canal treatments different?

In addition to our additional training, we utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding us see tiny details inside your tooth.  Using operating microscopes helps us remove decay in “hard-to-see spots” and find canals inside your roots that commonly go missed.  This is one of the major differences in the way endodontists and general dentists perform your treatment.  We believe it makes a dramatic positive impact on the long term prognosis of your tooth.

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 your dentist via e-mail.

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?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience serious complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond.