"You need a root canal." For many people, these are the most frightening words that their dentists could say. If a root canal sounds like a terrifying prospect to you, you'll be happy to know that researchers are working on some treatment options that may eventually be able to reduce the need for the procedure or replace it completely.
Check out the new innovations in dental science that may have the power to eliminate one of the scariest surgeries in the dental field.
Don't Remove, Regenerate
Researchers are using lasers to stimulate the growth of stem cells into tooth tissue, and may eventually be able to use this technology to generate new tooth growth. While the procedure wouldn't be able to create entire new teeth, it could be used to regenerate parts of the tooth that need to be replaced, like the pulp that is replaced during a root canal.
So far, scientists have been able to promote the growth of dentin, a type of calcified tooth tissue, in lab rats by using lasers. While this achievement doesn't necessarily mean that the same results will be possible in humans, the results are nevertheless encouraging. Researchers will continue to test their findings to determine whether lasers will be the wave of the future in tooth restoration surgery.
Harness Your Body's Own Healing Power
Another new procedure on the horizon is less high-tech than lasers and stem cells, but is nonetheless promising. Revascularization showcases the incredible healing system that your body already has. The process involves first drilling into the infected tooth and inserting an antibiotic to clear up infection. About two weeks after that, the patient will return and have two small cuts made into the tooth's root system, causing it to bleed.
The bleeding causes a blood clot in the root area of the tooth, and that's where things get interesting. Though it's not entirely clear how it works, it appears that blood clots stimulate natural healing and regrowth, possibly because the clots are rich in certain elements that repair tissue and encourage growth.
In The Meantime
While it's exciting to think that the root canal might soon be a thing of the past, techniques still in the early stages of research aren't much good to you if you need a root canal right now. However, you should know that root canals right now are much less painful than they used to be. They're roughly on the same level as a cavity filling, pain-wise.
There are a lot of reasons for this, including new anesthetics and improvements in dental tools. But the bottom line is that you have much less to worry about when it comes to root canals than you did 10 or 20 years ago, and the technology is improving all the time.
When your dentist tells you that you need a root canal, don't panic. Ask what kinds of new technologies offer you the best chance for a pain-free root canal. You may be pleasantly surprised. If you have other questions about possible dental treatments, continue reading more to have your concerns addressed.