Endodontic FAQ

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, the portion 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 referring dentists or specialists via e-mail or diskette. For more information contact www.Dexis.com  and Henry Schein/Scanex Duo Technologies, Inc.

What about infection?

Our patients’ safety is of utmost importance to us. We meet or exceed the most rigorous standards of infection control advocated by OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and the American Dental Association. We utilize autoclave sterilization, barrier techniques and disposables 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 general dentist. You should contact his or her office for the final restoration within a couple of weeks of completion at our office. Your general dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. In some cases, Dr. Hartoonian will place the final restoration with your general dentist’s permission. It is rare for endodontic patients to experience complications after routine endodontic treatment or microsurgery. If a problem does occur, however, we are available at all times to respond.

What new technologies are being used?

Operating Microscopes:

Each operatory in our office is equipped with a Zeiss operating microscope. All endodontic procedures are performed strictly with the aid of the high power operating microscope. The magnification and fiber optic illumination that these scopes provide are essential in aiding the doctor to see fine details inside your tooth. Also, a digital camera on the operating microscope can record images of your tooth to further document the doctor’s findings.

Electronic Apex Locators:

Digital apex locator is essentially a small computer that calculates the length of the root canals with high precision. This instrument is used in our office for every root canal procedure performed in order to increase the accuracy of length determination and in some cases to reduce the need for x-rays.


Ultrasonic instruments are fine precision instruments designed to work in narrow and difficult to reach areas of the root canal system. These instruments are invaluable in locating calcified canals and removal of the root canal obstructions such as posts and file fragments.