Root canal surgery used to be one of the more complex procedures performed in the dentist chair. Yet recent changes in procedure and the advent of specialist technology have made this a lot easier for dentists and a lot more reassuring for patients. Often, a root canal can be treated without a lot of invasive surgery and it may be possible to complete the entire procedure in one visit. What has changed to make this procedure so different?
The revolution starts with the anaesthetic. The local anaesthesia available today has the capacity to numb the whole tooth very easily, so the patient cannot feel any sensation.
The instruments used by the dentist are now high-tech. Instead of working with stainless steel, the practitioner now has files made of nickel titanium. The older implements were far less flexible and as a consequence could not reach some of the more difficult locations efficiently. This is not the case with nickel titanium, which is stronger, but a lot more flexible.
Dental offices have ultrasound capability today. This means that very high-frequency vibrations can be introduced to the area to clean up the root very efficiently in advance of the filling. The hand pieces that the dentist uses to create the correct shape for the root canal are very precise and much faster than they were before.
Better Illumination and Visibility
The dentist can also see the area being worked on very clearly indeed. The latest in operating microscopes enable the dentist to see the entire area, in order to remove the infection efficiently. Fibre optic light is attached to their magnifying glasses to augment the view.
Locating the Tip
In the past, the dentist would often find it difficult to locate the tip of the root, also known as the apex. It's important to locate this apex in order to ensure that all of the infection is removed. Now, a special electronic tool is used, where sound waves automatically locate the apex and ensure the dentist completes the treatment.
Finally, even the material used to fill the root canal has changed. A product called "gutta percha" (which is also found in some golf balls) is a very efficient and antibacterial material. It is used in concert with specially developed "sealers" which are in turn non-allergenic and designed to complete the job with a minimum of irritation.
Your Next Visit
All of these developments and technologies should ensure that your next visit to the dentist or endodontist for a root canal will be as pleasant as possible.Share
30 November 2016
As a retired dentist, I work with charities which visit developing countries and educate children about dental care. It gives me great satisfaction to revisit these communities and see how proud the children are of their efforts. I am acutely aware that good dental hygiene can help prevent a range of serious conditions when these children become older. I started this blog because it greatly distresses me that many people in Australia do not seem to care for their teeth as much as children in these poor communities. This is happening despite ready access to items like toothbrushes and toothpaste which are luxuries in the places I visit. It is my hope that this blog encourages you not to take dental health for granted. My greatest wish is that you can be as inspired as the children I see in my charity work. Please read on and enjoy.