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Endodontics FAQs

anatomy of a tooth

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.

Endodontics FAQs

I’m worried about x-rays. Should I be?

No. Usually no more than 1 or 2 low dose radiographs are taken during diagnosis and treatment. The doctor also uses a non-film technique during treatment that enhances the accuracy of the procedure. This is of particular benefit to our pregnant patients and those cases when radiographs are ineffective in recording a useful image.

What about sterilization procedures?

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 will be sent to your restorative dentist. You should contact your dentist’s office for a follow-up restoration within a few 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. If a problem does occur, however, we are always available.

What new technologies are being used?

Operating Magnification Loops and Fiber Optic Lighting:

Magnification and fiber optic illumination are helpful in aiding Dr. ElAttrache to see tiny details inside your tooth. Images are magnified to reveal minute details, such as additional canals, separated instruments and tiny fractures in the teeth.

Apex Locators:

An electronic instrument used to determine the root canal working length. These instruments operate on the principles of frequency, impedance and resistance.


Our operatories are equipped with sophisticated ultrasonic units which are used to remove posts and metal instruments, as well as aid in the search for calcified canals. These units are also used to prepare the root-end for a retrograde filling in cases when microsurgical intervention is indicated. The diamond coated microscopic tips vibrate at a frequency above the audible range of perception (18,000 to 40,000 cycles per second) to ensure accurate and speedy preparation.

Dental Materials:

The latest generation of bonding resins, perforation repair material (Mineral Trioxide Aggregate), along with chemical dental therapeutic solutions are utilized to achieve optimum results.

Quiet Hand Pieces:

To those of our patients who do not like the sound of the standard dental drill, Dr. ElAttrache utilizes an electric hand piece that virtually eliminated the annoying drill sound. We strive to make the entire procedure as stress-free as possible.