What is endodontics?
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.
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, which 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 co-therapists via e-mail or diskette. For more information contact Schick Technologies, Inc.
What about infection control?
The doctors and staff take infection control very seriously at Endodontic Specialists. 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.
Endodontic Specialists adhere to the following guidelines:
- ADA Policy Statement on Bloodborne Pathogens, Infection Control and the Practice of Dentistry
- ADA Statement on Infection Control in Dentistry
- CDC Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health-Care Settings (2003 )
Endodontic Specialists Infection Control Information:
- We follow stringent infection control procedures as outlined by the above guidelines. Also, the doctors only delegate procedures to staff members that are licensed or qualified to perform per state regulations. We care about our patients health and safety are our foremost priorities.
- All dental staff involved in patient care scrub their hands before each and every patient and use appropriate protective garb such as gloves, masks, gowns and eyewear.
- A new set of gloves and masks are used for each patient.
- Before you enter the examining room, all surfaces, such as the dental chair, instrument tray, dental light, drawer handles and counter tops, have been cleaned and decontaminated.
- Non-disposable dental instruments are cleaned and sterilized between patients.
- In our office, we sterilized instruments using a steam autoclave and the unit is spore tested weekly to ensure proper sterilization of the unit which complies with OSHA regulations.
- Disposable items like needles and gauze are placed in special bags or containers for monitored disposal.
- Your well-being is important to the doctors and the staff, which is why we follow stringent infection control procedures and comply with all state regulations for the protection of our patients.
- We have regular infection control training to keep staff members current on infection control procedures.
What happens after root canal treatment?
When your root canal therapy has been completed, original radiographs and a record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. You may need to contact the 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. 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.
What new technologies are being used?
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. Also, a tiny video camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor’s findings.