4332 South Cleveland Massillon Road
Norton, OH 44203
DIXIE DENTAL & DENTURE CENTER
3609 N DIXIE DR
DAYTON, OH, 45414
DESAL PRIYA DMD
101 BELLBROOK AVE
XENIA, OH, 45385
CYNTHIA A DULL D.D.S.
1056 N BROAD ST
FAIRBORN, OH, 45324
MARISSA L MILLER D.D.S. INC
100 W MAIN ST
SHELBY, OH, 44875
The technology and treatment options for consumers of dental care have greatly improved over the last 20 years. The new dentistry now provides you with the opportunity of maintaining your natural teeth throughout your life. One of the ways this is accomplished is by referral to a dental specialist to treat specific dental problems.
When dentists refer you to a specialist, your understanding of the problem and decision for treatment is vital in determining a specialized dental plan. The plan for your dental health and your general dentist's overall goals often depend on these specialized resources.
When you are referred to a dental specialist, he or she becomes a part of your dental team. Although your specialist will give you information about the reasons for the referral and the treatment, there are also some active steps you can take to increase your participation in the dentistry treatment and healing process.
A query of dental specialists indicates that there are some questions that they would like you to ask to enhance the treatment outcomes they seek as a result of your dental plan. Answers to the following questions will often augment the information provided by your general dentist and enable you to clarify any further questions you may have about the specialized treatment you are receiving.
These four questions will help you gain insight into the disease process that led to the need for dental care treatment and the prevention and self-care measures you can incorporate into your life to avoid future problems. With this information, you can also work with your general dentist and the dental team to maintain your dental health plan.
Specialized dental care for your dental needs is one of the ways the new dentistry has brought innovations in diagnosis and treatment to benefit consumers.
By Brian DesRoches, PhD
Q. What is endodontics?
A. Endodontics is the area of dentistry that specifically deals with what is called the 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 dentists 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.