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3D Imaging Technology vs. Conventional Radiography in Endodontics

The end goal of any endodontist is to diagnose correctly and suggest the proper treatment related to infection of a tooth’s pulp and surrounding areas. The ability to take digital scans has advanced over the last several years, leading to more accurate, nearly-instant diagnosis for patients, leading to less guessing and more accurate treatment plans. Here is a comparison of 3-D radiography technology vs. conventional methods such as 2D X-rays.

3D Imaging in Endodontics

Image scanning technology has progressed from the traditional 2D X-rays to more advanced 3D imaging over the last several years. 3D Imaging, specifically cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), is the process of taking “undistorted three-dimensional information of the maxillofacial skeleton as well as three-dimensional images of the teeth and their surrounding areas,” according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health.

The 3-D imaging technology used at Copper Creek is state-of-the-art, is the preferred choice for non-invasive diagnosis, is used on every patient, and guarantees accurate diagnosis in order to pursue the most viable and correct treatments. Here are the benefits of CBCT Scans:

  • Exposes patients to a fraction of radiation exposure compared to X-rays
  • There’s no chemical usage
  • Imaging enhancement tools
  • Up to 30 times larger than traditional X-rays
  • Results processed immediately for simultaneous viewing by doctor and patient
  • Images can be archived
  • Can manipulate images

While some endodontists have resisted CBCT scans due to cost, radiation level, and other factors, the amount of diagnostic information a limited-field scan provides is well documented. Here are 5 case studies we published a year ago demonstrating the benefits of CBCT images.

Conventional Radiography

Conventional radiography, discovered in 1985 by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, is used around the world in medical facilities and dental offices. Commonly known as X-rays, this type of image tomography takes two-dimensional images of three-dimensional objects using electromagnetic radiation. While many endodontic practitioners have transitioned to using 3D image scanning technology, 2D X-rays are still widely used. X-rays lack many capabilities that come standard with 3D technology. Radiation levels tend to be higher using traditional, 2D imaging scanners, but also require “optimized geometric configuration of the X-ray generator, tooth, and sensor to provide an accurate projection of the tooth,” according to the National Library of Medicine. In addition, conventional radiology:

  • Is fickle, for lack of a better word. If the generator, tooth, and sensor are misaligned, the resulting image may be exposed to inaccuracies.
  • Images cannot be archived
  • Require higher radiation dosage
  • Require more time between exposure and interpretation
  • Cannot be manipulated

The benefits of using 3D image scanning technology is well documented. A better image of your tooth is created, magnified, and available to you almost instantly, leading to better diagnosis and suggested treatment. Learn more about Copper Creek’s cone beam 3D imaging technology here.

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:06 PM
Reasons Not to Delay Root Canal Treatment

If you think the only risk you run delaying a root canal is prolonged pain, you’d be wrong. While you will certainly suffer tooth pain on and off with a damaged or infected tooth, there are other risks associated with delaying a root canal treatment. Your mouth is also the gateway to the body, and severe infection can spread, causing other problems. Here’s why you should think twice about delaying a root canal:

Tooth Death

An infected tooth can only remain infected for so long before decay takes over and the tooth dies. The pain will persist and get worse as the infection spreads deeper into the fleshy part of the tooth beneath the hard enamel, also known as the pulp.

Abscessed Tooth

An infected tooth left untreated can grow to be a much bigger issue and cause massive tooth decay. A root canal takes care of this problem. If the tooth goes too long  without the pulp being cleaned you can get what is called an abscessed tooth. Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Bitter taste in the mouth
  • Swollen neck glands
  • Redness and swelling of gums
  • Draining sore on the side of the gum
  • Uneasy or ill feeling

It Won’t Heal on its Own

Since the infection occurs inside the tooth, it’s almost impossible to remove infected pulp and tissue without having a root canal procedure. If the pain begins to subside significantly, or completely goes away, that’s a bad sign — it means the tooth has died. It’s much easier (and less expensive) to save the natural tooth.

You Can Save the Tooth

The point of a root canal is to save the natural tooth. Root canal treatment have a 95 percent success rate. Advantages of having a natural tooth, opposed to an implant, are:

  • Getting an implant is more expensive than the alternatives
  • Maintain natural appearance
  • Efficient chewing
  • Protects other teeth from wear or strain
  • Normal biting force, allowing you to eat all the same foods
  • Eliminates the need for more dental work


In extreme cases, infections from an abscessed tooth can spread to the brain and other parts of the body, and can result in death. It’s best to not put treatment off for any reason.

There’s no excuse not to take care of an infected tooth with a root canal treatment. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff at Copper Creek will give you all the information you need to feel safe and relaxed going into a treatment. Learn more about root canals, and contact us here for a consultation today!

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:05 PM
Healing Process After a Root Canal

Healing takes time. It’s as true with a root canal as it is with any other medical procedure. To avoid pre-root canal symptoms, it’s essential that you know what to expect during the healing process and what to do to keep yourself pain-free.

What To Expect When Healing

After your root canal procedure, it is completely normal to feel soreness and dull amounts of pain for a couple days. Your teeth will feel a general soreness simply from being worked on and your jaw may feel sore from the long amount of time it stayed open during the procedure.

What to Watch Out For

  • Inflammation-the roots and surrounding area of your operated tooth can get agitated during the root canal procedure. This agitation may causes swelling in the area which hinders the healing process. If swelling persists, take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Cracks in the Tooth-this is dangerous because it can lead to infection. When there is a crack in the temporary filling, food and other debris are more likely to leak through into the newly remodel root. It’s essential to keep this area clean and free of anything that may cause an infection.

What to Do

It’s crucial that you avoid chewing on your tooth to avoid damaging the temporary filling and to avoid inflammation. Eating softer foods that are gentle on your teeth will also help manage the post-operation pain. Brush and floss as you normally would to keep your teeth clean.

When inflammation and infection occur in your tooth after a root canal, there are only a few ways to fully fix this problem. Among these solutions are extracting the teeth entirely and redoing the root canal. It’s much better to take care of it the first time around.

Root canals are meant to relieve you of toothaches and to reestablish your oral health. Take the necessary precautions to ensure your tooth heals properly. Should you see any inflammation, cracks in the tooth or a return of pre-treatment conditions contact us at Copper Creek Endodontics.

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:05 PM
Managing Tooth Pain After a Root Canal Infographic

Root canals are a complex endodontic procedure which brings some trauma to the mouth. You will most likely experience some pain in your mouth. Below is a helpful infograph to show you what to do after your root canal.


Posted:  3/28/2016 2:04 PM
What is a Root Canal?
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A root canal is a treatment to repair and save a damaged tooth or badly infected tooth. The procedure calls for the removal of the damaged “pulp”, cleaning, and then disinfecting it. After these three steps, the tooth will be filled and sealed. The pulp becomes infected when you have a deep cavity, cracked tooth, trauma, or repeated dental treatment to the tooth. The term “root canal” comes from cleaning of the canals inside the tooth’s root. If you feel like you need a root canal contact us immediately, this isn’t a procedure you want to push off as it will only cause you more pain.

What to expect in a root canal procedure

There will be multiple office visits included in your preparation and procedure of the root canal. These are the most common steps in the process:

1. X-Rays

If your dentist suspects you need a root canal he will take x-rays or examine previous x-rays to determine where the decay is located.

2. Anesthesia

A local anesthesia is administered to the affected tooth.

3. Pulpectomy

An opening is made in the tooth and the decayed tooth pulp is removed.

4. Filling

The roots that were opened are filled with gutta-percha material and sealed off with cement.

Tips for After the Procedure

The tooth that received treatment can be very sore after your procedure but it’s important to make sure it is properly cared for to ensure it last a lifetime. Root canals tend to have a high success rate with patients! Here are a few tips to help ease your recovery and care for your teeth after a root canal:

1. Avoid chewing on any hard or sticky foods.

Anything that is too hard can cause your tooth to break which will harm the root canals. Avoid sticky foods to prevent any future issues.

2. Good oral hygiene.

Make sure you are brushing your pearly whites twice a day and flossing them at least once.

3. Visit the dentist regularly.

If you feel too much pain or discomfort in your mouth contact your doctor. Also be sure to schedule regular appointment for cleanings and examinations.

If you are feeling pain in your mouth, contact a dentist as soon as possible. A root canal could save your tooth and endodontic treatment helps maintain your natural smile. Call us today to set up an appointment for a diagnosis or a root canal (801) 432-8200!

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:03 PM
How Your Oral Health Affects Your Body

Think of the last time you had a canker sore in your mouth. Can you believe something so small could cause such an annoyance? Maybe it even put you in a bad mood. You can’t always control when you’re going to get a canker sore but this is an example that when your mouth isn’t feeling well, your overall health and wellness declines. To take it one step further, if you don’t take care of your mouth, your overall body is at risk of illness—and serious illness at that.

A Gateway to the Body

The mouth is described as the “gateway to your body.” Think of everything that goes in and out of your mouth—air, food, water. Some of the things may unintentionally bring infection. Failing to take care of your mouth causes bacteria build up resulting in infection, inflammation and worse case scenario periodontitis. Research shows us that there is a close link between periodontitis and serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Inflammation in the mouth weakens the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels resulting in diabetes. This same inflammation causes the blood vessels in the mouth to swell increasing blood pressure and the chance of a heart attack.

What to Do

To avoid any sort of gum disease—and the diseases mentioned above—it’s essential to take care of your mouth. Your dentist meant it when he or she said to brush and floss daily! Avoid foods that cause decay like soda, sugary treats and sticky foods. Smoking also invites infection and disease. Sound like a broken record? Maybe. But now we see that an unhealthy mouth doesn’t stop there—it affects your whole body and health.

Take care of yourself by starting with your mouth. If you are in need of root canal treatment don’t risk more damage being done to your tooth by an inexperienced dentist. Let the specialists take care of it and know that we are here to help you have a healthy life.

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:03 PM
5 Reasons You Should See A Root Canal Specialist
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Tooth pain is the worst, well actually tooth pain with no relief in sight is the worst.

Half of the battle is seeking the right kind of help for that problem that you are experiencing. While visiting a dentist is a great place to start, if you need a root canal it is best to trust a specialist. Here are the top 5 reasons why dealing with an endodontist will make your root canal process smoother, and more successful.

  • Eliminate Bacteria

Get rid of All of the potentially harmful bacteria in your body. The human body is pretty incredible, and powerful. For instance, the bacteria that grows in your mouth can cause a lot of damage if nothing is done to intervene. Not only does it contribute to tooth decay, but that bacteria can also infect the tissue in your mouth, and surprisingly can cause infections in other parts of your body.

Thorough cleanings and extractions are needed to successfully remove the bacteria that may be gathered in crevices, between your teeth, or inside of an infected tooth.

  • More experience

Less is more? Not in this instance, Endodontists are dental professionals that have gone through the same training as traditional dentists AND several more years of advanced training.

  • Emergencies are high priority

If you need a root canal, chances are that you are probably not feeling super comfortable to start with. Endodontists understand the need for emergency service, they know better than anyone what is as stake to leave a diseased or abscessed tooth to continue to grow more infected. Their first concern is your health, well-being and comfort so rest assured that when you seek a specialist your emergency situation will be fixed in no time.

  • Save your natural tooth

Many dentists feel that a tooth must be removed and replaced, however root canals provide the opportunity to save as much of your natural tooth and root system. Looking inside of the tooth gives the specialist an opportunity to assess the severity of the infection/ damage and take action to stop it.

  • Get it done right the first time

While dentists and other dental professionals are surely competent, your oral health and safety is too important to leave to chance. In the event that you do need a root canal, be sure that you go to the most qualified professional. On average dentists see only a few root canals per week where endodontists see upwards of 30 each week. The advanced training and exposure to common complications make for a much better prepared dental professional, decreasing the likelihood that there will be need to have the procedure again in the future.

If you are experiencing any mouth or tooth pain, give Copper Creek a call for a FREE consultation today! It’ll be the best money you’ve never spent.

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:02 PM
Are You Doing Enough to Avoid a Root Canal?
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Root Canals are famous for being painful and unpleasant to deal with, but the truth is that they actually make the pain and discomfort go away.

Root Canals are dental procedures where the pulp inside of the tooth is removed because of infection and inflammation. Infection can be caused by bacteria building up and causing damage to the enamel of the tooth.

When the enamel wears down, the softer tissue inside of our teeth is compromised.

While you can’t totally prevent a root canal, you can take steps to reduce your likelihood of needing one. Follow these tips and check in with your endodontist if you experience any symptoms of infections.

  • Cut Back on the Sugar:

It’s the sad truth, sugars contribute to infection. That’s not to say that sugars cause infection, but they do create a chemical reaction in your mouth. The acids that are created as a result are what will weaken the enamel on the teeth, eventually causing the enamel to erode and the inner layers of the tooth to be exposed and potentially infected.

  • Floss Regularly:

It may be a pain, but the consequences of not doing it could be even more painful. As mentioned above, root canals are necessary when the pulp of the tooth becomes infected, even if the enamel on your teeth is holding strong your gums might not be. Flossing helps to get the food particles out from between your teeth.
The less food that gets left behind means less bacteria, bacteria that can damage both your teeth and gums. Keeping your mouth clean could be the difference between a happy smile and a slew of dental problems (which if untreated can also affect your heart, lungs, kidneys and blood).

  • Consider Fluoride Toothpaste:

We know, we know, you hear it all the time but there is a reason for it. While some are concerned that fluoride is dangerous to consume keep in mind that the amounts present in the water we drink and in the toothpaste we buy are regulated so as not to be toxic.
Though, you should consult your dentist before buying fluoride toothpaste for the kiddos.
Fluoride helps to strengthen the enamel and thus to reduce the susceptibility to cavities.

  • Get Your Teeth Cleaned Regularly:

Teeth are kind of high maintenance, but so is the rest of your physical health. Getting your teeth thoroughly cleaned by a professional at least twice a year will not only keep your teeth bright and shiny, but your dental care provider will also be much more likely to catch a problem before it gets out of hand if one develops. Not to mention, no one ever regrets that feeling of freshly cleaned teeth.

Remember though, there are a lot of factors that contribute to your dental health, some of them, like genetics you cannot control. However, you can be in control of your everyday dental hygiene and by making sure that you are keeping your teeth clean and your gums healthy you may be a few steps further away from a root canal. But to be sure, check in with your dentist regularly and let them know about any discomfort you may be experiencing.

Still have tooth pain? Give Copper Creek Endodontics a call, or schedule a Free Consultation today!

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:02 PM
What is an Apicoectomy?

An apicoectomy is specialized endodontic surgical procedure where the tooth’s root cavity is removed and a root end cavity is filled with a biocompatible material. These procedures are often necessary when a traditional root canal treatment has been unsuccessful. In these surgical procedures, an endodontist will open the gum tissue near the tooth, exposing the underlying bone and removing inflamed or infected tissue, as well as the end, or apex, of the root of the tooth. After this is done, a small fitting may be placed in the root to seal the end of the root canal. Several stitches will be placed in the gingiva to help the tissue heal.

After a period of a few months, the bone will heal around the end of the root. This type of endodontic surgery is often the best way to correct a serious problem in the root of the tooth. In some cases the only alternative may be extraction of the tooth, so these procedures are typically the most biologically sound and cost effective methods of correcting these types of problems.

Why an Apicoectomy?

There are a number of reason why an apicoectomy may be necessary. A canal that is blocked or inaccessible, an anatomical irregularity in the mouth, or a fracture or crack in the tooth roots may necessitate an apicoectomy. This procedure is typically only recommended after attempting one or more root canal treatments and failing to resolve the infection or inflammation. This type of procedure is something that is typically performed under local anaesthetic, much like a root canal treatment. Since these are last resort type procedures, apicoectomies are less common than root canal procedures.

The apicoectomy procedure is a very specific procedure that follows unsuccessful root canal treatments. In many situations, a root canal procedure is perfectly effective in resolving the problem and no further treatment is necessary. Consult with your endodontist for more specific information related to apicoectomy procedures.

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:01 PM
The Root Canal Tell All- What to Expect From Your Root Canal Process
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The root canal has earned a pretty bad rep over the years for being arguably the most painful dental ailment. But the truth is, that root canals don’t cause pain- they relieve it!

So What IS a Root Canal Anyway?

A root canal is actually an endodontic procedure, (endo meaning “inside” and dontic meaning “tooth”) not a medical condition.

See, your teeth have several, complex parts. The outer layer that you can see is the enamel and under that is the dentin.
The inside of the tooth is called the pulp chamber, it contains tissue, blood vessels and, nerves.

When those outer layers become compromised, by things like infection or chips and cracks in the enamel; the inner chamber can become infected.

That is when things get painful, because the nerves and blood vessels are concentrated in one area the infection and inflammation can be very uncomfortable.

Visiting a dentist that specializes in endodontic care can help you to figure out what dental procedure is the most appropriate for your needs.

The Procedure

While no one likes the idea of a dentist’s drill poking around in their mouth, the process of a root canal is standard and fairly simple.

They begin by numbing the tooth that the procedure will be performed on, and isolating it from the rest of the mouth for sterility with a rubber or vinyl dental dam.

Once the tooth has been isolated and the rest of the mouth is covered by the rubber dam, AND is completely numb there will be a small access hole drilled into the tooth. Don’t worry the doctor won’t proceed with any tools until the tooth is entirely numb, because there are so many nerves inside the tooth it may take some time for the full effect.

After the access hole is drilled the dead and diseased pulp will be removed and the dentist will clean and disinfect the now empty canal. The canal is then shaped to receive the filling and sealants.
What are fillings and sealants? I thought they removed the stuff from the tooth?
Because the tooth will be weaker without anything inside of it, it is necessary to put something in place to help support the outer layers.

The filling is made of thermoplastic material that is heated and then compressed into the empty chamber. After that an adhesive cement is used to seal the access hole to prevent future infections from happening and to keep the chamber free of debris.

You will likely have a crown put on top of the tooth to add stability, but your dentist will advise you based on your condition.

You may also be prescribed an antibiotic following the procedure to take care of any residual infection and prevent more infection from beginning.

Though they sound scary, root canals are simple and often very essential procedures. Contact Copper Creek for a free consultation today!

Posted:  3/28/2016 2:00 PM
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3409 West 12600 South, Suite #120
Riverton, UT 84065

(801) 432-8200