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A Tale of Two Hygienists Podcast

Jun 12, 2019

Andrew and Michelle are launching a new mini-series on dental specialty. For this first episode, they aim to give hygienists the knowledge they need to help patients understand the importance and procedures related to endodontics. .

Theodore (T.R.) Ravenel, DMD, is an endodontist and the assistant director of the postgraduate endodontic program for the Medical University of South Carolina’s College of Dental Medicine. Prior to taking up residence at MUSC, he worked for years in private practice. He’s a self-described “jack of all trades” and also works with Michelle at Our Lady of Mercy’s outreach program.

In this episode, Dr. Ravenel gives us the detailed low-down on endodontic diagnosis, discusses how pulp inflammation occurs, and explains just exactly how a root canal is carried out.



Interview starts: 9:00

-Dr. Ravenel breaks down his step-by-step procedure for diagnosing endodontic issues.

- The right and wrong way to use percussion on a tooth.

- What is a “tooth sleuth,” and how do you use it?

- The great degree of sensitivity with which patients are able to distinguish different kinds of pain.

- The process for determining how inflammed a tooth’s pulp is.

- What are the different symptoms for a cracked tooth vs. irreversible pulpitis?

- What a tooth that’s sensitive only to heat and not cold can tell us about its pulp. 

- How to perform an electric pulp test (EPT), and how accurate is it?

- What hygienists can do to help dentists speed up the endodontic diagnostic process.

- The role bacteria plays in inflammation and endodontic issues.

- Theodore describes how a typical root canal procedure is carried out.

- Why would a root canal need to be retreated?

- What hygienists should—and should NOT—say to a patient to prepare them for their root canal procedure.

- Which other kinds of inflammation get confused for pulpitis?


Thank you to our sponsor for this episode, and many of our episodes, Zirc! Zirc believes in helping you work smarter, not harder through organization and tools that allow you to perform your job to the fullest! Listen for the promo at minute 5:11 of this episode!

The special offer for this episode is: $7 OFF a 12pack of Crystal HD Mirrors TALEHD

Zirc, Because Time is Everything.



“Lightly tap on those teeth; the worst thing you wanna do is send them jumping out of the chair.”

“The older an individual gets, the more prone they are to the wear and tear of teeth." 

“If someone comes in, on average, and says ‘I’ve got heat sensitivity that’s killing me when I drink something hot,’ usually their tooth is for all intents and purposes dead.”

“If the electric test went all the way to the maximum value, well typically that means that something’s not right.”

“If the root canal is done properly, your success rates are in the 90 to 90% range.”

“You CANNOT sterilize the inside of the tooth.”

 “If you’re hearing someone talk about doing a root canal on somebody’s lower molars and they’re only finding three canals every time that they do it, well odds are they’re probably missing some.”



Dr. Ravenel's email:

Thank you to Paradise Dental Technologies aka PDT for providing sponsorship for this episodes CE credits!

THIS EPISODE COUNTS FOR CE! - but read the disclaimer below as it might not count for your state.

Go here to take the test and get your CE Credit!

Approved Pace Program Provider FAGD/MAGD Credit Approval Does Not Imply Acceptance By A State Or Provincial Board of Dentistry Or AGD Endorsement. 1/1/18- 12/31/19 Provider #373236

Be sure to thank the sponsor for CE for this episode by heading over to and picking up a new instrument or telling them thank you in person at one of the conferences!

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