Endodontic FAQ

What is endodontics?

Endodontics is a branch of dentistry recognized by the Canadian Dental Association. The practice of endodontics encompasses the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the pulp and surrounding tissues. 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 or tooth cracks which can severely damage the pulp. When that happens, endodontic treatment of the diseased pulp will save the tooth and prevent further infection and inflammation.

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 equipment. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to your dentist electronically or on digital media.

What about cross-infection?

We adhere to rigorous standards of infection control protocols as directed by the Alberta Dental Association and College and Alberta Health Services.

What happens after treatment?

When your root canal therapy has been completed, a report of your treatment and restorative recommendation, when indicated, will be sent to your referring/restorative dentist. 

You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of treatment completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will discuss and help you decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect the structural integrity of your tooth for the long term. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does arise, please feel free to contact us directly.

What new technologies are being used?

CBCT Imaging:

CBCT (cone beam computed tomography) is the newest imaging modality used in endodontics. In contrast to traditional radiographic methods, CBCT allows for visualization of the tooth and surroundings tissues as a 3-D representation. It has proved to be a invaluable aid in both diagnostics and treatment procedures.

Operating Microscope:

As with all aspects of healthcare, technology has revolutionized how we perform treatment. Such is the case with the use of the operating microscope. The magnification and intense illumination aids greatly in performing treatment objectives. 

Rotary Instrumentation:

The use of this modern armamentarium facilitates predictable and efficient treatment.

Electronic Apex Locators:

This device reduces the amount of radiographic images required to perform treatment.

Digital Radiography:

Reduced exposure required compared to the conventional radiographic film technique.