A new development out of King’s College London could prevent root canal treatment failure according to a recent article from the Dental Tribune. The SafeRoot device allows for rapid bacterial detection inside the root canal, ensuring the procedure was successful, potentially reducing the need for tooth extraction or surgical intervention,
A root canal is performed when an injury or a large cavity damages the tooth’s root, resulting in inflammation or infection. During the procedure, the dentist makes an opening through the crown of the tooth to the pulp chamber, after numbing the area. Special files are then used to clean the infection and remove any unhealthy pulp. After cleaning out the canals, a filling material is put in place before a permanent filling or crown is installed. Unfortunately, approximately 25% of these treatments fail over time, usually at the hands of a secondary infection. Most procedures require one or two follow-up visits, sometimes involving more drilling and removal of part of the tooth.
The SafeRoot device was developed by a team of researchers to detect any existing bacteria once the root canal has been completed. Through fluorescent staining and microspectroscopy, the tool can optically detect minute amounts of residual live bacteria in the root canal space, giving the opportunity to eliminate persistent or secondary infections. During trials, the team was successfully able to detect bacterial cells after just three minutes of testing.
“The resilient nature of bacteria, combined with often complex root canal structures, makes disinfection challenging, leading to a considerable number or persistent infections. This is one of the main causes of root canal treatment failures,” said Dr. Francesco Mannocci, Professor of Endodontology at King’s College London Dental Institute.
“SafeRoot will reduce the time for root canal completion and will increase the success rate of treatments by letting the dentist know when it’s safe to proceed with filling the tooth. This should produce fewer acute ‘flair-ups’ and failed root treatments, as any residual infection in the root canal will be identified,” added Dr. Tim Watson, Professor of Biomaterials and Restorative Dentistry at the Dental Institute.
The minimization of follow-up procedures would provide significant savings in both time and money, in addition to eliminating any further pain and suffering by patients.
“SafeRoot could be applied to a wide range of biological infections as well, ranging from wound or respiratory, to implant related infections and contaminations,” stated lead researcher Dr. Frederic Festy from the Dental Institute.