How Root Canals Have Evolved Over the Years

Root canal therapy has come a long way since its inception. Experts believe root canals have been attempted for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the 1800s that the practice started to become more refined.

Although root canals have a reputation for being painful, today, root canal therapy has improved to provide minimal discomfort and save teeth with treatment that can last for many years [1]. Here’s how root canals have evolved over time.

Root Canals Aren’t What They Used to Be

As root canals evolved, dentists used different materials to try and seal the tooth after draining the infection and removing the pulp inside the tooth. These materials were not always biocompatible—some of them included asbestos, lead, cement, copper, rubber, and even bronze wire, which was found in the oldest-known attempted root canal from 200 B.C. [2].

Today, a material called gutta percha, a type of latex that comes from the percha tree, is used to fill the tooth after the infected or decayed pulp has been removed and the chamber cleaned. Your dentist will heat up the material, which allows it to conform to your tooth’s unique shape.

Tools and Technology Have Changed

In addition to the material used to seal the tooth, the technology used to perform root canals has changed over time. X-rays and microscopes allow your dentist to get a good look at the damage inside the tooth, while modern tools make it easier to treat the affected area with greater precision.

Dental tools have also started to use different motors and materials, which increases the precision of root canal therapy and allows for better flexibility when treating damaged teeth. The tools used today help reduce the chances of complications following the procedure, and root canal therapy now has a success rate of up to 98% [3].

Pain Management in Dentistry Has Improved

When it comes to root canal therapy, pain management has also evolved over time. Early in root canal treatment, anesthesia was not always used. As anesthesia developed and became more effective, root canal therapy became more available.

Today, local anesthesia is always attempted first. However, some patients may need general anesthesia if the infection has progressed to the point that local anesthesia isn’t effective enough. There are many options for anesthesia that you and your dentist can discuss for your root canal therapy.

As knowledge of root canal therapy and techniques has advanced, aftercare of root canals has also evolved, allowing patients to better manage any discomfort they may experience [4].

Do You Need a Root Canal?

Modern root canals aren’t much different from getting a cavity filled. If your dentist has said you need a root canal, know that this procedure is considered to be safe, effective, and can preserve your natural tooth for many years to come!

Sources:
1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29432651/
2. https://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jdms/papers/Vol17-issue3/Version-
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4784145/
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6695063/

Summary
Article Name
How Root Canals Have Evolved Over the Years
Description
Although root canals have a reputation for being painful, today, root canal therapy has improved to provide minimal discomfort and save teeth with treatment that can last for many years [1]. Here’s how root canals have evolved over time.
Author
Leesburg Family & Cosmetic Dentistry