Colorado West Endodontics, Grand Junction

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What is an Endodontist?

An endodontist is a dentist who has undergone two years of additional training for certification in endodontics (root canals), and focuses their practice on this specialty.

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, 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 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 machinery. These digital images can be optimized, archived, printed and sent to your general dentist via e-mail or computer disk.

What about infection?

Again, there's no need for concern. We adhere 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 with x-rays will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact your dentists office for a follow-up restoration within 30 days 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. However, if a problem does occur, we are always available.

What new technologies are being used?

Operating Microscopes: In addition to digital radiography, we utilize special operating microscopes. Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding the doctor to see tiny details inside your tooth. Also, a tiny video camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctors findings.

Apex Locators: A device that aids in determining the length of the root(s) of your tooth. This helps us remove all the infection from inside your tooth and place a filling to an accurate length.

Ultrasonic unit: A special device that can be used for surgical preparations of teeth, removal of calcification, removal of separated instruments or to locate small root canals. Additionally, we use an ultrasonic rinse during every procedure to remove debris.

Digital Radiography: X-ray procedures are an essential part of endodontic therapy. A major emphasis in our office has been placed on acquiring technology which benefits the patient and improves our treatment. We utilize a digital imaging system throughout our office.

Digital Radiography utilizes an intraoral sensor in place of conventional x-ray film. The radiographic image is converted into an electronic signal, interpreted by computer, and displayed instantly onto our operatory workstation monitors. Digital Radiography reduces radiation exposure up to 90%, decreases the time you spend in treatment, and provides us with improved endodontic diagnostic capabilities through image enhancement computer technology.


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