Root canal therapy has gone high-tech recently, making the procedure as easy as possible for both patients and dentists! Thanks to recent root canal technology, teeth can now be treated without invasive dental surgery. With modern dental instruments and advanced techniques, dentists have more resources than ever to complete successful root canals, and patients can have the procedure done in just one visit -- virtually pain-free!
Dental technology has produced the following advancements in root canal therapy:
Nickel Titanium Files -- Stainless steel files used to clean out the root canals were susceptible to breakage and limited the amount of infection that could be removed. Now, dentists use nickel titanium files, which are more flexible with less breakage.
Anesthetics -- Current local anesthetics make it easier to numb the entire tooth, so patients don't feel any pain during the procedure. There are also more sedation dentistry options for fearful patients, including nitrous oxide and oral sedation.
Modern Dental Instruments -- New high-torque motor hand pieces are much stronger and faster than before, enabling dentists to have more control over their dental instruments and better shape the root canal. Ultrasonic instruments are also being used during the root canal procedure -- they produce ultrasonic vibrations to clean the root in preparation for the filling.
Microscopes -- Used mostly during complex dental treatment, surgical operating microscopes allow dentists to see deep within the root canal for improved removal of infection. Magnifying glasses with fiber optic light can also be worn to give dentists a better view during the procedure.
X-Rays -- Dentists may use X-rays several times during the procedure to check the status of the tooth. Digital X-rays not only produce less radiation, but are developed immediately, lessening the time you spend in the dental chair.
Apex Locators -- The dentist's goal during the procedure is to clean and fill the canal to the very end of the root, or apex. If a dentist cannot find the apex, some of the infection may be left behind. An electronic apex locator measures the root, finding the apex through sound waves and guiding the dentist to the end of the root canal.
Cleaning and Filling the Canal -- Dentists take several measures to keep the infection from returning. Once the infection is removed, dentists use a medicated rinse to wash away any leftover debris and disinfect the tooth. Gutta percha, an antibacterial tooth filling material, better fills the canal, and non-allergenic dental sealers seal the space without irritating the tooth.
Laser Root Canal Therapy -- The most recent innovation in root canal technology, laser dentistry thoroughly cleans the root's canal without using drills or hand files. The Waterlase® laser uses a laser and high-pressure water system to "melt" away the infection, reducing post-operative pain, healing time and the possibility of side effects.
Through continuing education, many dentists stay up-to-date on ongoing advancements in root canal technology, and are utilizing their skills in the dental office. If you're interested in what dental technology has to offer, speak with your dentist about their state-of-the-art equipment and procedures. You may be surprised to learn what new dental solutions are being developed to improve your regular dental visits!
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