Frequently Asked Questions
Worcester Endodontics Answers Your Questions!
What is endodontics?
Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the American Dental Association which involves 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 work 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 uses radiation levels up to 90 percent lower than conventional dental x-rays. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed, and sent to your dentist via e-mail or CD.
Will there be pain?
Root canal treatment can be one of the most painless dental procedures. As a matter of fact, the pain that requires treatment is most frequently eliminated at your initial appointment. At Worcester Endodontics we have the most advanced anesthesia available. In addition to nitrous oxide analgesia we utilize the latest advances in local anesthetic and interosseous injections.
Is nitrous oxide safe?
Nitrous oxide is used in roughly one third of dental practices in the United States, especially to calm anxiety that many patients may have toward dental treatment, and it offers some degree of painkilling ability.
Nitrous oxide has few side effects although high doses can cause nausea in some patients, and about 10% of patients do not benefit from it. Patients that are claustrophobic or have blocked nasal passages cannot use nitrous oxide effectively. Nitrous oxide is one of the safest anesthetics available.
What about infection?
Worcester Endodontics adheres 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.
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 that 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, the team at Worcester Endodontics is 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 our doctors to see tiny details inside your tooth. Also, a camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document our findings.
Apex locators are electronic devices which can accurately determine where the pulp tissue (nerve) exits the root of the tooth. In addition reducing the number of x-rays needed, they allow Dr. Stern, Dr. Sarraf, Dr. Guzek and Dr. Shnaydman to precisely clean, shape, and fill the root canal.
Used with the operating microscope, ultrasonic devices are used to expose hidden tooth anatomy and make precision preparations during surgical procedures.
There are times that teeth cannot be saved by root canal therapy. In those situations, the team at Worcester Endodontics can offer dental implants to maintain dentition for patients who qualify.