Endodontic FAQ

What is endodontics?

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?

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 significantly lower than those of already low dose conventional dental x-ray machinery. These digital images can be sent digitally to you or your referring dentists.

What about infection control?

Metropolitan Endodontics takes infection control seriously. We understand that a prominent issue in health care is the control of infectious diseases. We have adopted the latest infection control techniques to meet and exceed all OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association standards. These universal precautions ensure that all patients are protected in the same manner.

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 their 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, we are available at all times to respond. If you have an emergency after hours our doctors can be reached by pager at (612) 510-8411.

What new technologies are being used?

The surgical endodontic microscope has revolutionized endodontic treatment. Increased levels of magnification and illumination allow for dramatically improved visualization of root canal anatomy and surgical fields. The microscope allows for increased visibility of calcified canals and cracks or fractures. With the use of the microscope we can provide treatment with more confidence and greater predictability.

Ultrasonics allow us to locate additional canals and/or previously untreated canals. The ability to locate additional canal anatomy with these specialized instruments reduces loss of tooth structure and increases success rates.

Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) has been incorporated into all offices at Metropolitan Endodontics.  This imaging technique allows for 3-D evaluation of anatomy that cannot be seen with conventional periapical films.