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What is “Endodontics”

The term endodontics is derived from two Greek words – “endo” meaning inside and “odons” meaning tooth. Taken together, these words mean – “study of the inner part of the tooth or the dental pulp”. Endodontics specialists are familiar with a number of diseases that involve the dental pulp and the procedures to treat them. The dental pulp is the innermost part of the tooth. The pulp is protected by the outermost part of the tooth, the enamel, as well as by the dentin that lies underneath the enamel. This hard casing of the pulp protects it from becoming infected by microbes present in the mouth. In cases of tooth decay, this outer cover erodes away to form holes or cavities that expose the dental pulp to these microbes as well as to hot and cold temperatures. Since the pulp is rich with nerves and blood vessels, infection of the pulp can lead to sensitivity and toothache. Some of the procedures used in endodontics include: Root canal treatment – This is one of the most common procedures for treating the dental pulp in moderate-to-severe cases of tooth decay. The infected tooth is opened up at the crown to provide access to […]

What is a Dental Abscess? And How do I Know I Have One?

An abscess is a pus filled, swollen tissue. It is caused by a bacterial infection. The body’s response to the infection is sending white blood cells to fight the bacteria. This results in the formation of pus in the location. A dental abscess is a pus-filled cavity in the mouth. It could be located within the tooth in the pulp, or in the space between the gums and the tooth. The two main types of dental abscesses are periapical abscess and periodontal abscess. The periapical abscess is formed when the bacterial infection takes root within the tooth and the pulp of the tooth is infected. The periodontal abscess is formed when the bacteria takes root in the space formed between the gum and the tooth. Symptoms of Dental Abscesses The most telling symptom of a dental abscess is a severe toothache. There may be intense pain which throbs in the location of the abscess. It may start suddenly and will continue to become worse as it spreads. It will affect your full jaw, ear, and part of the neck on the side of the abscess. Often it is difficult to sleep on that side as the pain increases with the […]

Root canal treatment: Everything you need to know

Whose knees do not quake at the thought of a “root canal?” Pain and cost spring to mind. But how many of us even know what a “root canal” really is? Root canal therapy, also known as endodontic therapy, is a dental treatment for removing the infection from inside a tooth. It can also protect the tooth from future infections. It is carried out in the pulp of the tooth, which is the root canal. Fast facts about root canal therapy: Root canal therapy is used to remove nerves from the pulp of a tooth. It is thought to be very painful but is a pain-relieving treatment. The procedure often referred to as root canal is called endodontic therapy. Root canal therapy costs vary, but it is a less costly option than having a tooth removed and replaced with a crown or bridge. What is root canal treatment? Root canal treatment has a false reputation for being painful. A “root canal” is not a treatment, but part of a tooth. It is the hollow section of a tooth that contains the nerve tissue, blood vessels, and other cells, also known as the pulp. A tooth consists of a crown and […]

Only 47% of dentists use dental dam during root canal treatment

A large national study of dentists conducted by the National Dental Practice-Based Research Network has found that only 47 percent of dentists always use a dental dam during root canal treatment, with an additional 17 percent using it 90-99 percent of the time, according to a recent scientific publication in BMJ Open. Using a dental dam during all root canal treatment is considered the standard of care, based on recommendations in standard dental textbooks and by the official policy of root canal specialists, the American Association of Endodontists. Using a dental dam during root canal treatment enhances patient safety and optimizes the odds of successful treatment. In this study, 1,490 general dentists who represent a diverse range of dentist characteristics, practice types and patient populations served completed an anonymous questionnaire about dental dam use and their attitudes toward its use. The study found a substantial variation in dental dam use and attitudes. “Beliefs that dental dam use is inconvenient, time-consuming, not effective, not easy to place or affected by patient factors were independently and significantly associated with lower use of a dental dam,” said Gregg Gilbert, DDS, MBA, professor and chair of the Department of Clinical and Community Sciences in the UAB […]

Endodontists Focus on Improving Quality of Patient Care

Improving patient care by all providers of endodontic treatment is the goal of two practice statements approved by the American Association of Endodontists‘ (AAE) Board of Directors at its annual meeting in Denver in April 2018. AAE White Paper on Treatment Standards Recognizing that general dentists perform the majority of root canal treatments but lack the advanced training of endodontic specialists, the AAE developed a white paper on treatment standards to describe the current standards of practice for endodontic treatment that apply to all practitioners. General dentists should evaluate their competency and skill level against the standards to determine when patients should be referred to a specialist. The white paper identifies the knowledge, skills and behavior that define competency in endodontics for any dentist who performs nonsurgical endodontic treatment. It describes current methods of endodontic access, canal shaping, disinfection, obturation and restoration. “The AAE identified these treatment standards to uphold the principles of best practices for nonsurgical root canal treatment,” explained AAE President Dr. Garry L. Myers. “Our goal is to ensure patients receive the highest levels of care. If general dentists believe they cannot meet these standards, they have two ethical choices: refer to a specialist or acquire the necessary […]