Root Canal Alternative Possibly Coming

Root Canal oil painting by Anthony Falbo

Courtesy of Anthony Falbo

The root canal is probably one of the most if not THE most dreaded dental procedures. No patient wants to hear that they need a root canal, and believe it or not, dentists do understand the pain and anxiety patients go through, which makes them not exactly eager to perform the procedure. However, according to the American Chemical Society, scientists are on their way toward developing the “next big treatment revolution in dentistry” that could provide a less painful alternative to root canals.

The goal of root canal therapy is to bring a damaged and diseased tooth back to life instead of removing the tooth. This is currently done by hollowing out the tooth, removing the damaged pulp and nerve, and then refilling the tooth with synthetic material to keep it anchored in place. This really doesn’t bring the tooth back to life, but it’s worked well for what it was supposed to do. Now scientists are reporting that they have developed a completely original, nano-sized dental film, and this film has been quite promising in its early stages for actually revitalizing the tooth.

The potential procedure, called regenerative endodontics, could possibly become an alternative to removing the pulp and nerves in a root canal. The film, which is only 1/50,000th the thickness of a human hair, is multilayered and includes a substance that may help regenerate tooth pulp. The substance, called alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) has anti-inflammatory capabilities, but when it is combined with a commonly-used polymer, they produce a substance that deters inflammation in dental pulp cells. The films that contained the alpha-MSH also increased the number of dental pulp cells. According to the scientists on this research, “this could help revitalize damaged teeth and reduce the need for a root canal procedure.”

If this becomes a reality, dentists and patients alike will gladly greet the nano-film with open arms. Anything is better than a root canal, right?

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