Frequently Asked Questions


What is endodontics?

Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the General Dental Council 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.

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 60-90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to cotherapists via e-mail or diskette. For more information contact Schick Technologies.

What about infection?

Again, there's no need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by the Quality Care Comission·and the General Dental Council.  We utilize autoclave sterilization and barrier techniques to eliminate any risk of infection as well as the single use of many instruments.

What happens after treatment?

When your endodontic therapy (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 4 to 6 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 are the benefits of root canal treatment?

Your choice of treatment is either extraction or saving the tooth with root canal treatment.  The success rate ranges from 90-97% and 70-89% for retreatment cases and they last many years.  Remember your tooth is the most natural "implant".  Completed root treated teeth alleviate unbearable tooth ache within a few hours and further reduces to mild discomfort within usually 2-3 days.  These symptoms can usually be dampened with mild pain killers and sometimes necessary antibiotics. 

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 X-Rays:

Digital x-rays eliminate the time wasting of developing x-ray films as the image appears almost immediately on the computer screen.  This allows continuation of the treatment without loss of the clinician's rythm and concentration.  The image can be used to give measured guidelines of the root lengths which helps the clinician speed up the treatment process and eliminate the need for "extra" x-ray exposure.  An important added advantage is that the exposure for these type of x-rays are about 30% of x-ray film exposures!!  This is an obvious health advantage over the film x-rays.

Electric Apex Locators:

In certain cases electric apex locators can minimize the number of x-rays needed to complete endodontic therapy (root canal treatment).


Ultrasonic instruments can be valuable to remove or loosen obstructions that would otherwise prevent reliable endodontic therapy (root canal treatment).


A painless and fast injection technique that does not result in "numb" lip and face or tongue.  Our patient's are amazed how they can have nerve treatment and then go straight back to work or see friends without the bother or awkwardness of their "numb" lip.

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