Have you ever had a root canal? If so, then you likely remember that your dentist had to drill the pulp out of your tooth because it was infected. The place where the pulp used to be is filled with a biologically inert material that eliminates the current infection and prevents a new infection from forming. But the therapy involves the destruction of all the stuff inside of your tooth, or dental pulp, which includes nerves, blood vessels, and more. What if we could remove the infected pulp and then help regenerate new pulp so that your tooth continues to function the same way it did before?
Well, we can! Regenerative endodontics is the process of regenerating the stuff inside your tooth allowing the tooth to heal itself as opposed to having all the stuff inside of it sucked out.
Why is regenerative endodontics better?
A root canal doesn’t save your tooth, it forstalls the rotting. Once all of the pulp inside the tooth is gone, the blood vessels that keep the tooth alive are also gone. The tooth can remain more or less in your mouth for 8 to 10 years after the root canal if it is sufficiently crowned, but because the lifeblood of the tooth has been removed, the tooth is destined to die.
Regenerative endodontics, which is a very new technology, first attempts to eliminate the infection, and then attempts to regrow the pulp inside of the tooth.
How does it work?
Stem cells (undifferentiated cells) and growth factors (enzymes which stimulate cell regeneration). This should not be confused with stem cell clinics that offer panacea treatments that don’t work or worse, harm the patient.
Stem cells are still being investigated by medical professionals for regenerating lost tissue. The stem cells alone won’t help. There are several chemical processes at play at the same time. These processes help the tooth to regenerate the missing pulp. The process is guided by a dentist to ensure that the pulp is growing properly.
Guided tissue regeneration
Guided tissue regeneration is not a new concept. However, its application to the inside of the tooth is a new application and it’s still in the process of being studied against traditional therapies.
However, traditional therapies are inept at addressing certain types of injuries. A root canal performed on a child, for instance, may stunt the growth of the root. Here, it may be a better course of action to treat the infection and try to regrow the pulp.
The process is not dissimilar to how dentists inspire the growth of the jawbone in patients requiring dental implants. It is, however, much more complex because there are many different types of cells in a tooth whereas, bone responds much better to tissue regeneration.
Talk to a Flagstaff, AZ Dentist Today
Peak Family Dental serves Flagstaff, Cottonwood, and Sedona at our three locations. For more information on the most innovative dental procedures, feel free to give our office a call and schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.