Friday, September 27, 2013

The End of Root Canals!?

The news is filled with advances of all sorts.  Smart phones have more computing power than the computers used to put men on the moon.  Cars are smarter than the mainframes used at MIT in the fifties. Face, hand, arm transplants used to be science fiction, now while not routine, are not uncommon.
    Dentistry has also come a huge way in a short period of time.  Digital x rays, scanning teeth instead of impressions with purple gooey stuff that not only makes you gag, but tastes disgusting. Just around the corner is three D printing of fillings.
  What is on the horizon is the end of the Root canal.  Looked at it objectively, a root canal is really no ones idea of a great treatment. Cleaning out the nerve knowing that you will never be able to get it all out.  Doing a procedure that I can't see what I'm doing, with a ton of anomalies and deviations. Then having a dead tooth that can't tell you if anything is wrong.  Don't misunderstand, it is a great procedure in that you get to save teeth that would need to be extracted.  Hopefully I can look back and put root canal in the category of "it was the best we could do at the time".  Research in stem cells has been going on in dentistry.  Instead of removing the nerve and putting in a filler researchers are trying to use stem cells to regenerate the nerve.  This is a whole new world where instead of doing something that is almost as good, you get to have a tooth that is as good as new.