What is endodontics?
As recognized by the American Dental Association, Endodontics is the branch of dentistry involving treatment of the pulp (root canal tissue ) and surrounding areas of the tooth. When you look at your tooth in the mirror, what you see is the crown of the tooth made up of a very hard material called enamel.
The rest of the tooth—the portion hidden beneath the gum line and anchored into the bone —is called the root, and it is made of a softer material called dentin. There is a channel in the middle of the root (the root canal) where the nerve tissue and small blood vessels ( pulp) of the tooth reside in a sterile environment. This tissue is very fragile and is not meant to be disturbed. However, trauma to the tooth or bacterial invasion into the tooth via deep decay or a crack, can cause either painful inflammation and/or infection of the pulp and surrounding tissues.
Either condition requires total removal of the damaged tissue. The body itself cannot heal this damaged tissue, and medications only offer temporary relief. The alternative to root canal therapy is extraction. Endodontic treatment, on the other hand, allows the patient to retain their natural tooth, and return it to normal, pain-free function.
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 reduces radiation exposure levels by upwards of 85 percent, compared to traditional film-based technology. A double thickness lead shield is always draped on the patient when any x-rays are taken. Your safety is our utmost concern.
What about infection?
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. HEPA air filtration units are placed in each treatment room and the doctor and his assistants wear all FDA-approved gowns, masks, shields, and gloves.
What happens after root canal treatment?
It is rare for our endodontic patients to experience any significant complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. To mitigate any normal postoperative inflammation, a dose or two of Ibuprofen or acetaminophen may be needed.
A record of your treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist. He/she will decide which type of permanent restoration will now be needed to strengthen and protect your tooth going forward.
Contact Your Philadelphia Endodontist
If you would like to learn more about Endodontic therapy, our insurance coverage policies, or payment plans, please contact our Philadelphia office at 215-735-7113.
We are happy to work with you to ensure that your dental health is addressed in a professional, quality-based, and safe manner.