Frequently Asked Questions
You have been referred as a result of your Dentist having your absolute best interest in mind. A keen Dentist often identifies potential challenges in advance, and refers to an Endodontist to avoid encountering difficulty, and to give you the best possible outcome. Endodontists are specialists with advanced training and knowledge in this field. Although your General Dentist may perform some Endodontic (root canal) treatment, patients are often referred to an Endodontist when it has been determined that your case may be complex, or requires the attention of a specialist. Common reasons for referral include: molar teeth or difficult canal anatomy, elusive pain diagnosis, previously root canal treated teeth, fractures, pediatrics, and trauma. Many Dentists do not perform any Endodontic treatment and refer all patients.
At Saddleback Valley Endodontics, we work in close partnership with your Dentist to ensure that you receive optimal care. We serve as an extension of their dental team and maintain close communication and detailed documentation of your care.
An Endodontist is a dental specialist who has completed a residency specific to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the dental pulp. Endodontic residents are completely immersed in the science and clinical practice of endodontics for 2-3 years in addition to Dental School. This additional background, experience, and skill gives Endodontists the ability to deal with a multitude of challenges. Endodontists also diagnose and treat facial pain and related problems. Endodontics is 1 of 12 specialties recognized by the American Dental Association.
Drs. Jönsson, Tatosian, and Chu are Board Certified Endodontists or "Diplomates" of the American Board of Endodontics. Becoming a Diplomate is the highest credential that an Endodontist can achieve, and represents a personal commitment to excellence within the speciality.
A dentist becomes an Endodontist after completing a residency program at which point most graduates are "board eligible". Endodontists are not required to become board certified, and only about 20% do so. The commitment to become a Diplomate is significant, and takes between 2-8 years of additional work beyond Endodontic residency to complete. To become a Diplomate, one must:
- Pass the Board's written examination of endodontic science and literature.
- Accumulate and present a detailed treatment portfolio of their own endodontic cases that demonstrate expert technical ability and judgement.
- Pass a series of oral examinations given by a panel of board examiners.
Endodontics is the specialty of dentistry that deals with diseases of the dental pulp and its supporting structures (bone and gum tissue). The outermost layer of a tooth is the hardest tissue in the body and is called ENAMEL. Enamel is supported by a hard inner layer called DENTIN that contains soft PULP tissue in its central core. Pulp tissue is composed of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue that actually made the surrounding hard dentin during tooth development. Pulp tissue can become damaged or diseased for a variety of reasons. Damaged pulp tissue can cause a variety of problems ranging from cold sensitivity to severe facial pain or an infectious abscess.
The most common endodontic treatment is "root canal treatment" where the diseased pulp a tooth is carefully cleaned out of the tooth, eliminating the source of pain or infection, and allowing the tooth to be comfortably maintained. Although the pulp is important during development of the tooth, it is not essential for continued heath and function of the tooth after it has formed. After endodontic treatment, the tooth continues to be nourished and maintained by the surrounding tissues.
Yes, for most root canal treatments, we recommend that patients return to the office one year after the procedure was finished. Our office will send a reminder notice to you when you are due for your follow-up appointment. In the meantime, it is of the utmost importance that you see your general dentist to have the tooth permanently restored 2-3 weeks after treatment is completed in our office
No. While radiographs (x-ray images) will be necessary during your endodontic treatment, we use an advanced non-film computerized system, called digital radiography, that produces radiation levels up to 80 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 restorative dentist via secure e-mail or portal that is HIPAA compliance.
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.