As any dentist understands, performing dental procedures are necessary to the health, well-being, and comfort of patients, but sometimes those procedures can be unpleasant and even painful. One of the most feared procedures is the root canal. A root canal is a specialized procedure that must be done when the soft inner tissue of a tooth – called the pulp - becomes diseased or damaged, resulting in pain. The way to relieve this pain and its cause is through endodontics, or root canal therapy.
It has been reported in numerous sources that the number of root canals performed each year in the United States exceeds 24 million! As a relatively common yet painful dental procedure, it’s no wonder that patients fear it. A root canal procedure involves removing diseased tissue from within a tooth and its roots, followed by thorough disinfection using irrigants such as sodium hypochlorite. Finally, the dentist then places inert filling material – typically gutta percha, which is a naturally occurring type of latex substance harvested from a genus of tropical trees native to Southeast Asia – into the canal to preserve the natural tooth structure for as long as possible. Even though root canal procedures are generally successful, there are reports that show a failure rate of between 4 – 6 percent, thereby requiring patients to undergo retreatment. And in some cases, the tooth in question cannot be saved, meaning that the patient may need to have the tooth removed and replaced with an implant or bridge.
Did you know that lasers are now a viable, proven means to perform traditional root canals? In fact, WaterLase dental lasers are indicated for cleaning and shaping of root canals and for laser root canal disinfection after endodontic treatment.
A WaterLase is used for opening the surface of the tooth to access the root canal. Then, using a combination of air/water spray and laser energy, a WaterLase dentist can remove diseased tissue, clean and shape the canal, and fill it with the chances for success! In fact, in 2008, the company that manufactures the WaterLase introduced a patented procedure called “EndoLase.” Find a WaterLase dentist near you for laser endodontics at www.waterlase.com.