Could Diamond Fillers Help Root Canal Patients Heal Faster?

Scientific breakthrough shows nanodiamonds prevent tooth infection after root canals. Can dentists use diamonds to help root canals heal faster and last longer?

Could Diamond fillers help root canals heal faster

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There are very few combination of words which send a shiver down the spine as fast as ‘dentist appointment’ and ‘root canal.’ This fussy and complex dental procedure has gained a reputation for being rather fearsome. So, it might come as a surprise to learn that the vast majority of patients actually report a pain free experience. Some people even find root canals to be quite relaxing.

This is because the use of an anesthetic stops the tooth from becoming too exposed during treatment. While root canals can be fairly time consuming and involve a number of different techniques, the hard work is left to the specialist. For the patient, all that is needed is the minimum of fidgeting, a little bit of patience, and a commitment to the proper after care.

The primary reason why people fear root canals is because they can be complicated. There are lots of separate processes that must be carried out for the procedure to work. In some cases, this does mean multiple appointments. A patient may start their root canal procedure, be given medication to regulate bacteria levels, and then have to return to start the procedure over again. It can be frustrating, but it is rarely painful and should never be traumatic.

The best way to conquer a fear of the dentist, particularly if you are in need of a root canal, is to spend some time familiarising yourself with the treatment. With knowledge comes power and confidence, so dispel some of the myths and mysteries surrounding root canals by reading up on the facts. This handy guide to the procedure will help you get to grips with the basics.

Understanding the Root Canal

There are a number of reasons why a person might need a root canal. The most common are a cracked or damaged tooth, a deep cavity, an abscess, or trauma from repetitive dental procedures. In all of these cases, the root canal is required because the root of a tooth has become infected or inflamed. When this happens, bacteria starts to build up around the root and it can cause big problems.

If left untreated, a painful abscess can occur and result in serious facial swelling around the affected area. To remove the fluid and bacteria which has accumulated around the damaged root, a small hole is made in the top of the tooth. The dentist then inserts a special tool, called a dental file, through the hole and down into the tooth canal. They may need to file away at some areas of the tooth in order to get inside. This does feel strange, but it is rarely painful.

Once it reaches the bottom, a suction tool can then be used to remove the fluid and unhealthy tooth pulp. The root canal effectively empties the inside of the tooth, so it must then be filled with a material known as gutta percha. This makes sure that the canal cannot fill up with infection or contamination. It is then up to the dentist to decide how to repair the top surface of the tooth. The most common method is to strengthen it with a permanent filling or crown.

The Continued Evolution of Root Canals

So, as you can see, the root canal is an intricate process. Ultimately, it feels just like having a regular filling for the patient (although the treatment takes much longer), but it can be a tricky job for the dentist. It also involves a lot of committed aftercare. As root canals leave teeth very vulnerable, particularly whilst they heal, the chance of a repeat infection is higher than it is for other kinds of treatment.

While the use of gutta percha is one way to lower the risk, it cannot eradicate it completely, because the material is only partially solid. However, it is thought that a recent scientific breakthrough could finally hold the key to conquering infection. And it comes from the unlikeliest of places. According to a UCLA study, diamonds may significantly decrease the chance of residual infection after a root canal.

It looks like Marilyn Monroe was right after all; diamonds really can be the best of friends. At the moment, these remarkable minerals are being investigated for their use in not just dentistry, but also cancer therapy, regenerative medicines, and as advanced microscopes. There is, certainly, promising evidence to suggest that diamonds may significantly improve dental outcomes for root canal patients.  

The Marriage of Dentistry and Diamonds

For once, the science behind the discovery is surprisingly simple. The UCLA study tested the impact of nanodiamonds on rates of healing and oral health for post-treatment patients. A nanodiamond is a thousand times smaller than a human hair, so it requires a very special kind of handling. As this material is created as a by-product of regular diamond mining and refining, however, it does not require additional extraction.

This makes it a viable option for dentistry, particularly if further research supports initial evidence that nanodiamonds can be safely used inside teeth. The hope is that nanodiamonds can be added to the standard gutta percha material, in order to strengthen the tooth and boost its antibacterial properties. In fact, tests have shown that diamond reinforced fillers contribute to a significantly lower rate of infection.

If this weren’t enough, when combined with extra antibiotics, the gutta percha/nanodiamond mixture dramatically reduces the chance of post-treatment infection in root canal patients. Unsurprisingly, dentists are quite excited about the discovery. It may offer a way to decrease complications, aid pain relief following treatments, and help patients take the best possible care of their newly reconstructed teeth.

The Future of Root Canals

While there is still lots of testing to be done before nanodiamonds can be become a routine feature of root canals, the breakthrough is an important one for the industry. It also shows just how innovative dental science can be. It is the job of dedicated dental scientists and researchers to investigate all kinds of materials and resources, not just the conventional ones that we have come to expect.

Ultimately, any development which promises to make recovery times faster and more pain free for patients is a welcome one. As anybody who has ever had a major dental procedure will know, it is rarely the treatment itself which hurts. For that, you need to turn to the healing process. From tenderness and swelling to minor bleeds and persistent aches, recovering from a dental procedure can be tough. It can be made ever harder without the support of a reliable and high quality dental plan.

The good news is that it will only get easier as more breakthroughs and developments occur. If you are currently preparing for a root canal and are feeling nervous about the process, do not hesitate to speak with your dentist. It is their job to make sure that you understand what will happen and that you are not too frightened to go ahead with the treatment. The following section will give you some advice on how to prepare.

Getting Ready for a Root Canal

First and foremost, you must listen to what your dentist tells you. If they prescribe antibiotics, take them as advised. In most cases, it is okay to take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (like ibuprofen) before the treatment, but you are recommend to check with your specialist first. Also, the night before the appointment, try to get a decent sleep. If you feel tired or under the weather, you are likely to experience more stress and worry.

One of the most important pieces of advice, and one which is often forgotten, is to eat a good meal before the treatment. A root canal can take a long time, but if you have already eaten, you will feel more relaxed and comfortable. It is okay to eat up to an hour before the appointment, but try to restrict snacks after this point for the sake of the dentist who has to dig around in your mouth. It is also a good idea to avoid sugary drinks and any kind of liquid which might stain your teeth (such as coffee).  

Needless to say, garlicky foods and anything which might leave you feeling self-conscious about your breath should be given a wide berth. The easier you can make the treatment on your dentist, the easier it will go for you too. And finally, do not keep worry to yourself. If you are genuinely scared and struggling with the fear, speak up and let your specialist know.

It is extremely common for people to be afraid of the dentist, but most only need a soothing word and some friendly advice to happily proceed with the treatment. Ask as many questions as you need to, let the dentist know if you feel unwell at any point, and remember that your root canal is going to leave you with an enhanced and improved smile.

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