Last week was Root Canal Awareness Week, and we clarified the purpose and value of root canals. In recent years, there have been dramatic improvements in both diagnostic and treatment technologies that have improved the experience and end result of root canals. With better technology at their disposal, endodontists are able to understand and diagnose better, which in turn leads to better, more individualized treatment. Here’s a brief look into some of those new technologies.
Cone Beam Computed Tomography
Cone Beam Computed Technology, or CBCT, is an incredible new medical imaging technology. It gives endodontists the ability to see tooth structures and infections with precision and clarity. CBCT is similar to a medical CT scan. It creates an interactive, 3D digital image which allows endodontists to see high-resolution details that X-rays simply cannot show. Your endodontist will be able to move up and down images of your skull in “slices” to be able to determine the exact depth of roots and infections. Also, it shows not only your teeth, but all the soft tissue, bone, and open cavities as well. This empowers endodontists to see clearly cracks and abnormal tooth anatomy which would be hidden on an X-ray.
Another advancement that has greatly improved the success rate of root canal treatments is the use of microscopes by endodontists. Microscopes allow your endodontist to see your tooth magnified 15x what the naked eye can see. This means better and more precise treatments, and fewer missed structures. Additionally, the position that your endodontist will sit in is a much better ergonomic position. This means your provider can focus on the task for longer with greater focus.
This exciting field of endodontics is still very new and evolving. With the help of tissue engineering, endodontists have had success restoring root canals to health. These treatments are still limited to developing adult teeth that are not mature yet. However, as endodontists continue to develop and perfect this treatment on developing teeth, there are sure to be advancements. These treatments have resulted in a healthy pulp-dentin structure. This is a huge advancement from simply filling the canals and abandoning the natural design. Additionally, it achieves better results and helps improve the chances of saving more natural teeth.
These exciting advances in technology mean better results and more natural teeth saved. Preserving your natural teeth with a root canal can be a great choice to avoid tooth and bone loss. However, the best choice for preserving natural teeth is active preventative care. Make sure you visit your dentist regularly for deep cleanings and X-rays to stop infections while they are still small!