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.
I’m worried about X-rays. Should I be?
While X-rays will be necessary during your endodontic 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 co-therapists. For more information, contact Schick Technologies, Inc.
Why do I have to provide a copy of my ID?
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal bank regulatory agencies, and the National Credit Union Administration developed the “Red Flags Rule” as a way to fight the incidence of identity theft. Effective June 1, 2010, most health care providers were required to comply with this new regulation, which does include maintaining a copy of the patient’s government issued identification.
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 new cross contamination 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. You should contact your general dentist’s office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide which 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 surgical operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth. 3D Cone Beam Imaging is the newest dental radiographic technology which we have available in both our Colorado Springs and Pueblo locations. Our Carestream units use a very low dose of radiation to provide a highly detailed image of a tooth that is being evaluated for root canal therapy or endodontic surgery.
What is the difference between a D.D.S. and a D.M.D.?
Originally there was only the D.D.S. degree, which stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery. This all changed in 1867 when Harvard University added a dental school. Harvard University only grants degrees in Latin and the Doctor of Dental Surgery did not translate well into Latin. A Latin scholar was consulted who suggested the ancient Medicinae Doctor be prefixed with Dentariae. This is how the D.M.D. or “Dentariae Medicinae Doctor” degree was started. In 1989, 23 of the 66 North American dental schools awarded the D.M.D. In short, the dental school determines the degree issued but there are no practical differences between the degrees D.D.S. and D.M.D. in the United States.
For any additional information, or if you have a question not answered on this page, please don’t hesitate to contact Endodontic Specialists of Colorado. We have endodontic offices in both Colorado Springs and Pueblo, CO.