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Laser Treatment for Endodontic Care

A root canal is a highly specialized dental procedure that becomes necessary when the soft inner tissue, or pulp, of the tooth becomes damaged or diseased, which can be quite painful. A root canal rids the disease from the tooth and relieves the associated pain. Endodontics is the dental specialty devoted to root canal therapy.

More than 15 million root canal procedures are performed every year. Using conventional methods, 4-6 percent of root canals fail, a relatively high rate for a dental procedure, causing patients to go through retreatment. In some cases, the tooth cannot be saved and time consuming and expensive restorations such as dental implants are required. However with the advancement of technology, the use of lasers in root canal treatment has proven to be advantageous with very impressive success rates.

How is Laser Root Canal Done?

The method of treatment is almost the same as with a conventional drill except that once a hole has been made in the crown; longer tips are placed on the laser head in order to allow the dentist to reach down into the roots to remove all of the pulp material. For this, parallel beam of intense light is used to clean out the root canals. Laser therapy "melts" away debris consisting of bacteria and infection, known as the "smear layer" of the root, and cleans the root more thoroughly than traditional treatments. On completion a temporary and then permanent crown are likewise prepared and placed.

With less time and pain than a conventional root canal, laser dentistry can remove your infection so that you can get on with your life. An additional advantage of laser treatment is that recovery time is much faster.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Laser Root Canal Treatment

Advantages: One of the main advantages of using a laser for root canal work is treatment time is much faster. In particular because the heat from the laser effectively cleans and sterilizes the canals from bacteria, fewer follow-up visits are required than with conventional treatments.

Disadvantages: Not often, but sometimes infected tissue is pushed through the ends of the root, which will infect the gum. This is easily treated, but is also painful until the infection is cleared up. Canals are irregularly shaped, and if the canal is not accurately measured or branches of the canal were not discovered, it cannot be completely cleaned or filled requiring the procedure to be done again.