1220 Augusta Ste 200
Houston, TX 77057
Richard B Drake, D.D.S.
2803 Mossrock Ste 203
San Antonio, TX, 78230-5131
401F BedfoRd Euless Rd
Hurst, TX, 76053
Carl Estler ,D.D.S. DMD P.C
910 South Fry Road
Katy , TX, 77450
Dr. Elgin E Wells D.D.S.
2251 County Road 94 Ste 102
Pearland, TX, 77584-5137
Q. What is endodontics?
A. Endodotics is the area of dentistry that specifically deals with what is called the dental pulp within a tooth.
Q. What is dental pulp?
A. The dental pulp is a soft tissue comprised of tiny arteries, veins, nerves and lymph vessels for the tooth.
Q. Where does the term root canal come from?
A. The tooth is comprised of three basic components. The first component is the crown/enamel, which is seen by the naked eye.
The next level of the tooth is dentin, which is under the enamel and the “housing” for the dental pulp.
The final component is the dental pulp and is the core of the tooth. This bulk of the dental pulp is in the center of the tooth or the pulp chamber, and is connected to the Mandibular Canal through the root canals. The root canals are like veins for the dental pulp.
Q. What does the procedure root canal mean?
A. Root canal has become a term for a procedure involving the dental pulp. When the dental pulp has been exposed and damaged, it must be treated professionally and this process is usually referred to as getting a root canal.
Q. What does a root canal procedure entail?
A. Once the dental pulp has been infected, it must be removed from both the pulp chamber and the root canals. Once it has been removed, the pulp chamber and root canals are thoroughly cleaned and enlarged. Based on the level of infection, the dentist may choose to clean the area more than once. After the area is free of infection, the dentist will fill the root canals and pulp chamber with a filling that will prevent any bacteria from entering the area. Finally, the dentist will place a crown over the tooth to restore it to its original shape.
Q. What causes dental pulp to become damaged or infected?
A. Normally, when a deep cavity occurs, it exposes the dental pulp to the bacteria inside the mouth. When exposed to this bacteria, the dental pulp can become infected and thus cause the inside of the tooth to be infected.
Q. What can happen if infected dental pulp is not treated?
A. Overtime, the infected pulp will die. At the same time, pus from the infection will develop at the base of the tooth and cause an abscess to form. If this occurs, it is not uncommon for the abscess to cause the bone holding the tooth to deteriorate. If this deterioration becomes too severe, the tooth will fall out.
Q. What role does the computer play in the dental care industry?
A. In the future, patient records may be kept on computer disks, including visual images captured on intraoral cameras. A computerized workstation beside the patient's chair will give the dentist the ability to view the patient's history from disk.
Also, the dentist might use a voice-recognition system to ask the computer to assist in finding that data, or create a “before and after” image so the patient can preview the result of dental work before it is done.
Patient comfort and care is a top priority for a sedation dentist. They recognize that dental anxiety or discomfort can be associated with some dentistry procedures. Fortunately, a variety of dental procedures using dental anesthetics are available to relieve both anxiety and discomfort. Talk with your dentist to find out which is right for you.
This is the most frequently used type of dental anesthetic for sedation dentistry procedures. Although often referred to as "Novocain," this once popular painkilling drug has actually been replaced by more effective anesthetics such as Lidocaine for a comfortable dental care treatment. It also works very well for temporary relief of a tooth ache.
However, the name has become so much a part of the American vocabulary, it's now used in generic terms. Prior to injecting the local anesthetic, the dentist often swabs a topical anesthetic over the injection site to prevent the patient from even feeling the needle.
Patients seeking comfortable dentistry can consult with their dentists to choose anti-anxiety agents either administered by mouth, inhalation or injection. Nitrous oxide, often referred to as laughing gas, helps to ease patient anxiety. The gas is inhaled by patients, inducing relaxation, so they can approach dental procedures with less stress.
This may be required for complex procedures or for dental patients with special needs. With the administration of general anesthesia, the patient is unconscious; with deep sedation dentistry or sleep dentistry, dental patients are deeply relaxed and not fully aware of their surroundings during their dental treatment.
Prior to treatment, your dentist will need to know a few things regarding your health history such as:
Some medicines may interfere with the efficiency of an anesthetic requiring an adjustment in your medication schedule. Your health history is very important information for the dentist. During the consultation, you can ask questions about any dental procedures that may be of concern during your dental procedure.
The drugs used as dental anesthetics are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are safe. Anesthetic providers are professionals with a commitment to patient safety and comfort.
A dental anesthetic can be administered by a general dentist, a dental anesthesiologist or an M.D. Certification is required and is regulated on a state-by-state basis. Discuss sedation with your dentist at your next visit.
By Brian J. Gray, DDS, MAGD, FICO