c. Techniques of Root Canal Therapy. There are three basic phases in
endodontic treatment. First is the diagnostic phase in which the disease to be treated is
determined and the treatment plan developed. The second is the preparatory phase,
when the contents of the root canal are removed and the canal prepared for the filling
material. The third involves the filling or obliteration of the canal to gain a hermetic
(airtight) seal as close as possible to the cementodentinal junction with an inert material.
The dental specialist plays a key role in the successful completion of all three phases by
having the necessary equipment ready at the appropriate time.
(1) Diagnosing. All root canal therapy begins with a diagnosis. First, the
dental officer takes an oral history of the patient's particular problem. The assistant
should enter the patient's chief complaint (abbreviated C.C.) on the record. The chief
complaint should be written in the patient's own words. Next, a clinical examination
should be performed. The assistant should provide the basic examination setup for
dental officer. When the offending tooth or area is located, a periapical radiograph is
taken to aid in the diagnosis. Frequently, a radiograph will not reveal any definite
pathology. In this case, the assistant should be prepared to provide the dental officer with
auxiliary diagnostic aids. The electric pulp tester (figure 4-13) and warm and cold thermal
tests are the most commonly used auxiliary diagnostic aids.
Figure 4-13. Electric pulp-tester.