Supporting Endodontic Disease Diagnosis
Dental practice acts vary among jurisdictions, as do the scopes of practice. While the dental hygienist may not be able to make a legal diagnosis regarding endodontic disease, he or she can perform endodontic diagnostic testing for review by a supervising dentist or endodontist. The technique required is well within a dental hygienist’s skill set. The ability to identify whether endodontic disease is present benefits patients, as well as dental practices, and can help focus attention on immediate and long-term needs.
Currently, no single pulp testing technique can reliably diagnose all pulpal conditions, neither has one been proven to be superior in all aspects.
A pulp will not become inflamed or necrose unless bacteria are present.
Which of the following is a sign of endodontic disease?
Palpation is an evaluation for inflammation and/or swelling of the periosteum and underlying tissues.
An isolated area of deep probing could be indicative of a sinus tract draining through the periodontal ligament or it may be associated with a fracture.
An intense but brief response to cold is always abnormal.
While percussion is useful in isolating pain from inflamed periapical tissues, the bite test is more effective for determining sources of pain related to chewing, such as cracks or flexure of restorations overlying caries.
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