Root Canal Treatment Has EvolvedRoot canal treatment is many centuries old. Root canal treatment in text books goes back to the 17th Century. Many methods of treating and filling the canals have been tried with mixed success.The first use of Gutta Percha ( a rubbery filling material goes back to 1847). Over the centuries, many discoveries have been made in the field of Endodontics (Root Canals). As with all of the other healing sciences, time, study, and experimentation brings improvements in understanding and methods of treatment.
What has changed in in Root Canal Treatment Lately?A lot has changed since I graduated form dental school. Root Canal treatment in particular has gone through several revolutions in the past few decades.Though the basic concept of cleaning, shaping, disinfecting and sealing the Root Canal System is unchanged, the methods have improved tremendously. New materials, techniques, and research has led to many recent breakthroughs. Some portions of the technique I am describing below did not exist as recently as two years ago.
The use of Magnification, and improved materials the improves the comfort, safety, and predictability of root canal treatment. Electronic Apex locators, and Digital x-rays greatly improve our ability to determine the length and configuration of root canal systems. Ultrasonic diamond coated shaping tips help to quickly identify the top of the canal system. The recent reintroduction of extremely sensitive computer driven reciprocating handpiece improves the treatment. By incorporating a new generation of Nickle Titanium files called the Wave One System and M-wire, we have a more accurate shaping or the canals. The use of several cleaning and disinfecting agents including NaOCl, EDTA, Chlorhexadine, and Surfactants that are sonically activated lead to a much better cleaning and sterilization of the complete root canal system. This system removes debris, and bacteria from the tooth more efficiently, throughly and safely that possible in the past.
State of the Art Techniques for Cleaning and Shaping Root Canals
Filling the Root Canal SystemFirst we thoroughly dry the root canal system using sterile Paper points.Following this, small amount of sealer which is CaOH based (disinfects and helps healing) and warmed 100 % Gutta Percha is placed in the canal system space. (Warmed Gutta Percha has been found to penetrate the canal system more thoroughly providing the best possible seal.)
Core Buildup and Crown
No root Canal treatment is considered complete until the tooth has been restored to function. This means that a core buildup is placed in the root canal Chamber (the top portion leading the the canal system). This tooth can now function for a short period of time like this. The tooth will need a crown if it is not in the very front of the mouth (it may still need a crown if there has been much damage to it from wear, caries or fracture).