What do diamonds have to do with root canal treatments? More precisely, what do nanodiamonds—byproducts of diamond mining and refining—have to do with this dental procedure?
Yearly, about 15 million root canal treatments are performed in the U.S. alone. During the procedure, infected tooth pulp is removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned out and filled. At times, bacteria remain in tips of the root. Bacteria can linger, and a tooth can get infected again. This requires a second root canal treatment.
Gutta percha is the material used to fill a tooth after the infection has been cleaned out. But it’s limited in fighting infection and any remaining bacteria. Researchers from the UCLA School of Dentistry have found that adding nanodiamonds to gutta percha reinforces the filler material. Antibiotic-enhanced nanodiamonds strengthen the filler material and prevent bacterial growth.
What does nanodiamond-enhanced gutta percha mean for patients with root canal treatments?
- Stronger filler material makes a weak, damaged tooth stronger.
- Antibiotic-enhanced filler material fights bacteria and reduces the risks for needing future root canal treatments in the same tooth.
- These combined advantages make it much more likely that a damaged tooth can be permanently saved.
Can you ask your dentist for this innovation in root canal treatment? Not yet. Researchers will spend the next two years refining the process. After that, clinical trials will begin at UCLA. Meanwhile, do what you can to avoid the need for a root canal treatment.
- If you play sports, wear a mouth guard to protect your mouth and teeth from trauma, which can lead to a root canal treatment.
- Remove bacteria from your teeth and gums by flossing daily and brushing your teeth twice a day.
- Limit sugary snacks, food, and drinks, which promote tooth decay.
- Go easy on your teeth. Only use them to smile and eat. Don’t bite hard or sharp objects, or use your teeth to take off bottle caps or open metal containers.
- Keep your regularly scheduled appointments for dental cleanings and exams. Early detection is a key to preventing dental issues that require aggressive treatment.
This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.