What is endodontics?
Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the Australian 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 beneath the gum line is called the root. 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, broken fillings, 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 90 percent lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. The sensors are designed with the patient in mind offering increased patient comfort. This exclusive technology analyzes in real time the amount of x-ray emission required by the sensor. This allows us to optimitze the exposure period. This cutting edge technology means that the patient will only receive the necessary and adapted dose to his/her dental morphology. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to your dentist via e-mail or mail.
What about infection?
Again, there’s no need for concern. We adhere to the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian 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 referring dentist. You should contact your referring dentist’s practice for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion of your root canal therapy. Your 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 camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor’s findings.
Highly engineered rotary nickel-titanium instruments are more gentle, accurate and conservative of tooth structure. Using these instruments improves the overall comfort of the procedure while conserving the integrity and strength of the tooth.
The use of ultrasonics in endodontic treatment and microsurgery reduces the use of the dental drill and allows us to delicately carry out many procedures with great accuracy. In tandem with fine nickel titanium ultrasonic tips and the operating microscope, we can now treat many conditions with improved and predictable success.
Materials such as MTA and techniques such as retrograde fills and pulp regeneration allow us to treat many complex cases and save teeth that previously would have been extracted.
To ensure all of the spaces inside of your tooth have been cleared and cleaned we need to know how long your tooth is. Traditionally this was done with one or more radiographs (x-rays). An apex locator will give us this information electronically, thus minimising the need for as many radiographs (x-rays). This makes the procedure more streamlined and efficient.
Our state of the art computer hardware and software allow complete integration of records, radiographs and images into a paperless situation. Our website is also fully integrated into this system and it allows patient and referring dentist links. Reporting to the referring dentist has been made seamless and prompt and in most cases is all done via email. Referring dentists can be receiving their patients reports via email as soon as the patient walks out of our door. Sophisticated and multiple backups guarantee the long term security of all records.