Root canal treatments are carried out to relieve pain which is a symptom of dental infections.
In this article, we will talk to you about root canal treatments and how we dentists incorporate lasers in them to ensure you have a successful outcome and a comfortable treatment experience.
However, before we do that, let’s first take a look at why someone may need a root canal treatment.
Where is a root canal treatment indicated?
A root canal treatment is a conservative treatment approach rather than an invasive one. It allows me, as dentist, to ensure your pearly whites stay intact in your oral cavity for as long as possible.
Our teeth have three layers, namely, enamel / cementum, dentin and pulp. The enamel is the outermost and protective layer of the tooth and surrounds the top portion of the tooth. The cementum covers the tooth’s roots and is less calcified than enamel.
The second or the middle layer is the dentin which comprises dentinal tubules. These tubules offer a connection to the innermost layer, the pulp. The pulp houses vessels, nerves and connective tissue and gives life to the tooth.
Dental cavities start from the enamel and slowly move inwards if left untreated to affect the pulp finally. The pulp runs from the crown to the roots. Once the pulp is affected, a straightforward dental filling cannot help alleviate the symptoms and cannot save the vitality of the tooth. In such cases, a root canal treatment is indicated to relieve the tooth of infection and associated symptoms.
A root canal treatment may also be indicated in the following cases:
- It is indicated when there is a dental abscess with the affected tooth.
- Root canal treatment can also help save a broken tooth from being removed.
- In severe cases of attrition (wearing off of teeth), root canal treatment helps alleviate symptoms of sensitivity and prolongs the life of the tooth in the oral cavity.
- It may also be indicated in cases where a crown is to be given.
Now that we have seen a situation where a root canal treatment in Luxembourg can help, let’s take a look at the signs and symptoms that may suggest you need to come into a dental office for a visit.
Signs and symptoms that suggest you may need a root canal treatment
- One of the main signs that you may feel from a root canal is pain. If you are experiencing continuous, debilitating and severe pain, it may point towards an invasion of pulp or the presence of a dental abscess.
- You have sensitivity to hot and cold liquids and foods.
- You are experiencing pus discharge from the gums.
- You have pain in chewing and biting down on food substances.
- You have broken the top of your teeth and can see a bleeding spot.
- Swollen gums and mobility of the teeth.
If you happen to experience any of these symptoms, it is highly recommended that you schedule an emergency appointment with your dentist. The sooner you address your concerns, the higher the chances of saving the tooth. Any delay can lead to further complications and may eventually lead to tooth loss.
Basics of root canal treatment
Before we discuss the importance of using the laser in root canal treatment protocol, it is vital you know the basics of root canal treatment and what exactly goes on during the treatment.
The entire process of getting a root canal can be divided into five steps.
When you come in for your first appointment, the dentist, will perform a complete oral examination. This may also include taking x-rays of the offending tooth or teeth. After careful examination, a treatment protocol and sequence will be decided. If you end up needing a root canal treatment, it will be carried out.
Opening of the tooth
The first step is to open the tooth, remove the decayed and damaged and gain access to the roots. This is performed with the help of dental drills. Usually, the opening is kept small to save as much tooth structure as possible unless otherwise indicated. This step is performed under local anaesthesia, which means the tooth will be numbed, so you experience no pain and are comfortable during the treatment. This step usually is performed during your initial appointment, especially in cases of dental emergencies.
Preparing the root canal
The second step involves preparing the roots. Specialised root canal instruments are used to remove the infected pulp and debris. Once removed, the dentist will prepare the canals and put intracanal medicaments to ready the roots and get them clean to receive a root canal filling.
Obturation means filling the root canal with an obturating or root canal filling material. Once the roots are clean, a root canal filling material, such as gutta-percha or MTA, is inserted, and the roots are sealed.
Filling and restoring the crown
Once the roots are filled and sealed, the top of the tooth is sealed with the help of composite resins. In a case where the majority of tooth structure is lost, an ONLAY or a dental crown will be advised to restore the shape, size and strength of the tooth.
LASER root canal treatment
A laser root canal treatment follows a similar procedure, but instead of using a drill and medicaments, it takes the help of a laser.
This may seem like a small change, but it makes a significant difference.
Lasers were introduced in the field of dentistry approximately 35 years ago to remove or modify soft and hard tissues in the mouth. LASER is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Laser is used for the removal of dental caries and for cutting down teeth structure. In laser root canal treatment, the tooth is opened with the help of a laser, and the decayed and damaged portions are also removed by it rather than a dental drill. This is possible because it emits light energy that can interact with the tooth enamel, dentin, gingiva and dental pulp.
After opening, a laser is also used to remove the infected pulp and debris from the root canal. It essentially melts away debris and, at the same time, kills bacteria and other microbes.
It helps dentists disinfect and sterilise the canal more effectively.
Following this, the laser is also used to mould and soften the obturating material, such as gutta-percha.
Are lasers safe?
The radiation that emits from the laser light is non-ionising in nature. It does not produce the same effects as X-rays. To put it simply, lasers are exceptionally safe to use and have been cleared by dental boards all across the world. A laser also contributes to lesser downtime and makes the entire process more comfortable for the patient.
Why should you opt for laser root canal treatment?
Research and clinical studies suggest that LASER Assisted Root Canal therapy is more beneficial to the patient in the long term as compared to conventional root canal treatment.
Laser offers better disinfection and is more comfortable. They offer a comparatively pain-free and quicker treatment.
The success of a root canal treatment is highly dependent upon the art of disinfecting the root canal. The conventional system of root canal treatment uses mechanical agents which tend to miss a spot or two. In comparison, a laser covers a wider area and helps widen the canal, which offers proper and assured disinfection. This enhances the chances of a successful treatment outcome and ensures your pearly whites keep glowing.
How can laser help with the re–treatment of previously done root canal treatment?
As mentioned earlier, the success of a root canal treatment depends on how well the root canal is disinfected and whether all the microbes have been gotten rid of.
Sometimes, it may happen that you experience pain even after undergoing a conventional root canal treatment. This can happen if the tooth is reinfected. Even a single bacteria is capable of producing a recurrent infection.
In such cases, root canal treatment is known to have failed, and re-treatment is advised.
Now, re-treatment will involve removing all the obturating material and again preparing the roots. This can be a tedious and long process.
However, with a LASER, removing the previous materials becomes easier and more seamless. Once the material is removed, the laser will melt away any remaining debris and kill all the microbes to ensure a completely disinfected and sterile atmosphere. This ensures your re-treatment is successful and the need for tooth removal does not arise.
In some ways, the introduction of lasers in dentistry has allowed us to be more conservative with our approach.
We hope this article provided you with the needed insights on LASER assisted root canal treatment. If you have not yet received an answer to your questions, do not hesitate to ask us any question in the section below, we will answer as soon as possible. If you find this article useful, we invite you to leave us a comment in the comments section.