One of the most common dental procedures is a root canal or endodontic therapy. Root canals allow the dentist to remove any decay from inside your tooth and save the tooth instead of requiring an extraction. One of the newest procedures being offered is microscope-assisted endodontics, also known as micro-endodontics.
What is Microscope-Assisted Endodontics?
When a tooth becomes severely decayed or damaged, it creates openings for bacteria to grow on the inner parts of the tooth. If the nerves or blood vessels inside the tooth become damaged by the bacteria, chances are the tooth will begin to cause you pain and discomfort. If you begin to experience this pain, your dentist is likely going to want to perform a root canal (endodontic treatment) and attempt to save the tooth. Micro-endodontics involves using a microscope, which allows dentists to see more detail than they would be able to with the naked eye. A few of the key reasons for choosing microscope-assisted endodontics include:
- Improved Accuracy – The dentist will be able to be to make cleaner and more accurate incisions by using smaller instruments during the procedure.
- Reduced Trauma – With the ability to be more accurate when cutting during the procedure, the surrounding soft tissues in the mouth are less likely to be injured. This will allow for faster healing times and reduce the chances of needing secondary procedures.
- Easier Access – By using the microscope, dentists are able to access areas that are more challenging due to the better vision. Better visualization of the infected area prevents the dentist from damaging any areas that may lead to complications.
- Spotting a Fourth Canal – During a traditional root canal, the dentist could easily miss a fourth canal that some teeth have. If this happens, the infection could continue to spread into the bone. By using a microscope, the dentist can spot any hidden canals and clear the infection completely to save the tooth.
Who Benefits From Endodontic Microsurgery?
Not everyone who gets a root canal will require this special procedure. In most cases a simple root canal can fix the problem, but there are people who require the extra care of a microscope to ensure the best possible results.
- Persistent Periapical Lesions – After a root canal, the body creates lesions to defend against the threat of a microbial invasion which often times leads to inflammation. When this occurs, the dentist may decide to do microsurgery to remove the lesion. Some professionals believe that it is possible for these lesions to heal on their own, so it is up to the dentist to decide whether or not he feels it is necessary to operate.
- Extended Pain and/or Swelling – Depending on the severity, the dentist may need to use a microscope to determine the underlying cause for the increased pain after an operation.v
- Calcified Canals – If the roots of a tooth become calcified, a dentist may not be able to perform a proper root canal. Sometimes when this happens a dentist may just choose to extract the tooth, but micro-endodontics can be another option to save the tooth.
- Broken Instrument in the Root – Sometimes during a root canal, the file will break. It’s not uncommon for metal to be left over in the tooth if the dentist feels it will not cause problems, but if it is at the root of the tooth, a follow up procedure may be needed to remove it.
- Failed Traditional Root Canal – This can happen for a number of reasons, but if a normal root canal fails, microsurgery will be needed to complete the root canal and save the tooth if possible.
Choosing Microscope-Assisted Endodontics
In most cases, microscope-assisted endodontics procedures should not be viewed as a last resort during the retreatment of failed procedures. It should be used to save the function and hopefully the form of the natural tooth. This method leads to less complications and nearly eliminates the causes of persistent pathosis. When dealing with a tooth that has previously been treated at the root but still is causing problems, retreatment of the tooth should be considered. The decision on how to retreat each case can be difficult and should be handled based depending on the specific case.