The main causes for root canal therapy are infections, diseases that damage the pulp beyond repair, or severe trauma experienced by the tooth. Cavities that are not timely or properly treated can decay the tooth structure (enamel and dentin) and eventually result in pulp damage. Tooth trauma includes physical trauma as well as occasional pulp inflammation due to other dental procedures. In any case, if root canal therapy is not performed, infection will likely occur. This infection can consequently affect the bone around the tooth and in some cases the tooth may need to be extracted.
Symptoms for required root canal therapy include significant pain in a tooth when pressure is applied, high sensitivity to heat, prolonged sensitivity to cold, swelling around an affected tooth, discoloration of the tooth, and a broken tooth. In order to diagnose whether root canal treatment is needed, the dentist will take x-rays and may expose the tooth to hot or cold, examine surrounding tissue, and/or applying pressure to the tooth. Finally, if the results are still inconclusive, an electric pulp tester may be used.
Root canal therapy should be completed in one visit if there are no complications. Later office visits may be required to check on removed infections. The overall procedure involves two main steps. First is measuring which may involve anesthetics and possibly sedation. The dentist removes the top of the pulp through a hole in order to measure the canal itself. In the second step, the canal is measured through X-rays or air polisher and/or an electric apex locator.
With green dentistry, the medical professional uses biodegradable yet high quality materials such as in sterilization, disinfectants, and germicidal components. It focuses on the minimization of hazardous wastes and toxic chemical vapor and solutions into the water system and the air. Another area that it applies its eco-friendly procedures to is its use of natural materials and less heavy metal with regard to tooth restoration. It uses restoratives that are metal-less dental such as using composite bonding with adhesives, lumineers, crowns, and porcelain veneers. This means that the silver amalgam fillings are avoided to prevent metal waste and to avoid these materials from polluting our water supply and water systems.
Other ways of promoting green dentistry is the use of washers, fluorescent lights, dryers, and other dental equipment and tools that are energy efficient. Some would also use washable head covers, gowns, and cloth bibs to minimize the use of disposable paper supplies. Eco-dentistry does not only stop in the materials and equipment used by the dentist, this also includes the type of paints use in the dental clinic and the other miscellaneous electrical gadgets used in the clinic such as the sound and lighting system.
The certifying organizational body that can provide a dentist a certification of reaching the highest standards of green dental practice is the Eco-Dental Association. A GreenDOC certification can be given per tier such as the Bronze, Silver, and Gold tiers. The tiers will depend on their efforts of maintaining a green dental clinic with several items on the checklist. The checklist also includes eco-friendly materials, equipment, tools, and other earth-friendly components used in the practice of dentistry. Thus aside from checking the qualifications of the dentist, environmentalists can also check for this certification as part of your search for a good dentist.
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