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Department of Endodontics offers innovative Web site (1-18-00)

In operation just a little more than a year, the Web site run by the Department of Endodontics at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio has had 38,000 hits, many from outside the United States. At last count, visitors from 20 foreign countries had taken advantage of the information it offers.

Kenneth Hargreaves, DDS, Ph.D. professor and department chair, says the site is a consultation tool for dental professionals worldwide, but it is particularly valuable in the South Texas/Border Region, where news of the latest techniques and advances in the field may not be accessible. With a click, viewers can keep up with current information, view illustrated sample cases and send e-mail to faculty members.

Dr. Hargreaves says the Web site is enhanced by radiographic images that accompany the case studies submitted by the endodontics residents or dental students. The site displays pictures of the residentsí treatment cubicles, which are equipped with surgical operating microscopes, new x-ray machines that use one-tenth of the radiation used by older machines, and laptop computers on which x-rays of a patient's tooth can be displayed and saved.

"Using the clinical microscopes, we can see right into the tooth to find fractures that might not be visible otherwise, and we can change the ways we view x-rays to take accurate measures for root canals, for example," Dr. Hargreaves said. These illustrations then can be dropped into the Web pages.

Besides their value in treating patients at the Health Science Center, the illustrations provide a fast, accurate way to make long-distance consultations with endodontics professionals in the field.

"We think this is a good way to show whatís happening at the Dental School. Eventually, we would like to make an electronic library of cases and resources available on the site," said Dr. Hargreaves.

The site, which Dr. Hargreaves says was a group effort, is run by a Web master and is updated continuously. The address is <www.endodontics.uthscsa.edu>.

Contact: Will Sansom or Jennifer Lorenzo