root canal

Root canals have long been a solution for decayed or infected teeth but they are not always a perfect solution. Some root canals last a lifetime and other root canals do not. Researchers in the field of dentistry constantly look for ways to improve dental care and recent experiments with blood vessel formation look promising for root canals.

What Happens with Root Canals?

A root canal consists of removing the pulp, the inner layer of the tooth. The dentist removes the infected dental tissue (pulp) and puts synthetic biomaterials in its place, then covers it with a crown for protection. While this can relieve the patient of painful infection and is better than completely losing the tooth through extraction, a root canal may not last a lifetime for some people.

The pulp contains the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels and a root canal removes them. Essentially what remains is a dead tooth. Consequently, the tooth can become hard and brittle, which makes it vulnerable to cracking and breaking as time goes along. It may last for many years, but if the tooth eventually cracks, you can end up losing it and needing a partial or dental implant.

How Engineering New Blood Vessels Relate to Teeth

According to Science Daily, researchers at OHSU in Portland, Oregon have done lab work to fabricate artificial capillaries. They experimented by placing a fiber mold built from sugar molecules across the root canal of extracted human teeth. They injected a gel similar to proteins that the body produces and filled it with dental pulp cells. They made a long micro channel in the root canal by removing the fiber and inserted cells from the interior lining of blood vessels. A week later, the cells producing dentin had multiplied near the tooth walls and artificial blood vessels formed in the tooth.

While still in the research stages, the experiment looks like a promising development for dentistry and could be a way to keep blood flowing and the tooth alive and pliable after a root canal.

Consult with Dr. Baker About Your Dental Care

Dr. Baker loves to stay on the cutting edge of dental technology. Ask him about your concerns and he is glad to explain dental procedures and help you choose the best treatments for your needs.