Regenerative endodontics is an exciting, state-of-the-art field in dentistry. It is a new set of solutions for an old problem.
What is the problem? When a younger patient has adult teeth that are still growing, we sometimes must perform a root canal treatment on them. This means that the pulp (tissue, nerves, and blood vessels within the tooth) is removed to clean out an infection.
However, when a tooth has not finished growing, the pulp is very important. It’s part of the tooth system that is needed to build the walls and root of the tooth, strengthening it for the future.
For many years, endodontists only had the option of placing compatible material into the root canal after the pulp was removed. This material is a fine solution in completed adult teeth, but it doesn’t assist immature adult teeth with their growth. In fact, if a young tooth is underdeveloped enough, the patient might lose it at a young age.
How Does Regenerative Endodontics Solve This Problem?
Endodontists now understand much more about tissue engineering. We can use the latest research and best practices to stimulate a patient’s own body to build new tissue inside the root of a tooth.
This new tissue will help the walls of the tooth grow thicker, the tooth root (which attaches the tooth to the jawbone) to develop properly, and more. In essence, we can now make the canal inside of a tooth become healthy again after a treatment!
The true aim of endodontic treatment is to save the natural structure of the tooth. Cleaning an infection from the root canal is the technique, but the goal is a strong permanent tooth. By building a connection between the pulp and walls of the tooth, the body can nourish and build the tooth naturally after treatment.
How Is Regenerative Endodontics Performed?
You may need a trigger warning here. If you have had bad feelings when reading about medical details in the past—such as blood—you may not want to read more.
For the basics, you could just understand the general idea that endodontists use the body’s own system to build new tissue.
If you’re still interested, the general starting idea for regenerative endodontic procedures (REPs) is to cause controlled bleeding. We can do this at the tip of the tooth’s root where the blood vessels enter the tooth.
Before that, we thoroughly disinfect the root canal with antimicrobial medicine. And we will check the tooth occasionally in the future to ensure that it is not reinfected. Once the new internal tissue is formed, it will use the body’s immune system to help fight off future infections.
To continue, the controlled bleeding lets the body naturally start to send its own stem cells into the root canal, creating a blood clot that acts as a scaffold for building new pulp. Then, growth factors in the tooth move the stem cells into the pulp and help them to adapt and grow there. Eventually, lost pulp is replaced by new tissue.
We may also be able to add plasma and blood protein that make an even better scaffold for future tissue!
Who Can Get Regenerative Endodontics?
For this technique to work well, we recommend it mostly for immature—or younger—adult teeth. There are possibilities on the horizon for its use on mature adult teeth. We can discuss it with you if you’re interested. However, mature adult teeth often don’t need REPs, because the tooth wall is already thick enough to survive in the long-term without them.
So, REPs are often used on younger patients. That means we are extremely careful during the root canal treatment to keep the thin dental walls as safe as possible. We also use certain types of disinfectants and gentle irrigation to clean the tooth while preserving the body’s natural stem cells.
If you have a child who needs a root canal, we may bring him or her in for a first visit to destroy the infection, then a second visit to stimulate the tissue regenerative and place any materials needed to help create the tissue scaffold.
Discover a New Type of Root Canal at Creekside Endodontics
If your child is struggling with tooth pain, find out quickly if a root canal is needed, and contact Creekside Endodontics for state-of-the-art root canal services.