Painless root canal may sound like an oxymoron, but new techniques are making it a reality for many dental patients. One such technique involves avoiding the root canal altogether by sealing the exposed nerve with newly developed adhesives.
The procedure takes just one visit to the dentist and is much less expensive than a traditional root canal, but it is also controversial and not used as much as it should be.
Root canals are performed when bacteria, introduced through a cavity or crack, compromise the nerves located inside the tooth. The bacteria cause an infection, which eventually kills the nerves. But root canals can be avoided, in cases where the nerves are not yet infected.
Instead of hollowing out the tooth and removing the pulp containing the nerves as is done in a root canal, the exposed nerve area is cleaned thoroughly and sealed. We now have bonding technology that allows us to seal over the nerve using the same liquid plastic that contact lenses are made of. It hardens to form a hermetic seal that coats the nerve as well as the tooth.