Preventative endodontics is an under-discussed topic within the dental community, mainly due to the lack of research into more conservative methods of treating problems in the endometrium. However, it can be argued that preventative treatments are more necessary than ever before to help preserve the natural health of people’s teeth. Even for people with consistent oral hygiene practices, today’s economic environment is filled with a variety of factors that influence people’s oral health, including processed foods in their diet, genetic codes determining a higher risk of oral disease, and other environmental factors that can influence people’s teeth and gums. In these cases, preventative endodontics isn’t just an option but may also be needed.
Preserving Oral Health Through Endodontic Treatments
The goal of many root canal procedures is to provide the patient with teeth that are healthy and disease-free, and most often, there are many root canal procedures that work to remove bacteria often have to remove the pulp either partially or completely to rid the tooth of the infection. Addressing issues such as pulpitis, necrotic pulp, and root channel inflammation often requires removing the pulp completely as a more assured way to remove bacteria and prevent it from re-spreading throughout the tooth. However, these treatments are often considered to be highly invasive, and for patients even with mild toothaches, removing the pulp completely can be considered a drastic method.
In other cases, regenerative endodontics has been looking into regenerating pulp tissues that were once infected or decaying using stem cells. This field of dentistry has been showing lots of promise, but in many ways, it still requires extensive trial research and studies to validate it and spread proper treatment methods across practices fully. But even with regenerative methods on the horizon, there are still many more conservative methods that can be used to help prevent the spread of bacteria, such as vital pulp therapy.
What is Vital Pulp Therapy All About?
Vital pulp therapy offers patients a more viable option for patients wanting to maintain their teeth that’s been compromised by infected pulp but haven’t been fully compromised by cavities, dental trauma, or failed restorative procedures. This therapy works to preserve the pulp tissue by capping the pulp, sealing it against bacterial infiltration, which allows the pulp inside the tooth to heal and grow back to a healthy state fully. The purpose of this therapy is to allow the continued development of the tooth until it reaches its adult state.
The only downside to vital pulp therapy is that it can only be performed on young adults with premature teeth. Vital pulp therapy, however, has been allowing endodontists to look into the regenerative properties of the tissues and pulp, ultimately allowing endodontists in the field to develop techniques further to treat problems such as pulpits and inflamed pulp. However, for those who do qualify, endodontists would need to perform a patient evaluation that includes the following:
- Proper Diagnosis: It’s essential to get a proper diagnosis before even considering vital pulp therapy as an option, especially if the cause of the tooth pain occurs from atypical and pulpal sources. This will usually be included in the patient’s examination.
- Radiographic Analysis: a radiographic analysis will also be performed to determine the inner root canal systems further to understand better how the tooth’s channel formations impact the pulp.
- Pulp Vitality Tests: Lastly, as part of the procedure, pulp vitality tests will be performed to test further the health of the pulp affected within the tooth.
The Next Treatment With Vital Pulp Therapy
If any cavities, signs of trauma, and other enamel and dentin issues are present, then those dental issues will need to be looked at first before performing vital pulp therapy. However, during vital pulp therapy, there are some unique materials that are used to allow the pulp space to heal. This restoration material is a biocompatible material that works with the organic compounds of the tooth to provide adequate space for growth without impacting the pulp’s internal structures. Vital pulp therapy requires bio-compatible to allow the materials surrounding the tooth to coexist with the living pulp, and it’s thanks to a material called bioceramics that gives us this ability.
Bioceramics doesn’t come without its drawbacks. Due to their longer setting times, these materials often require multiple visits to complete. However, for endodontists wanting to speed up the process, dual-core liners can be used as an assistant for bioceramic restoration materials.
At this point, it highly depends on your endodontist’s treatment options to be able to see if vital pulp therapy is right for you. Currently, many of the treatments we have for preventative endodontic procedures are limited due to our current technology and our understanding of how our bodies work to regenerate materials and remove infections. Most patients requiring some form of root canal treatment will most likely have the pulp of their tooth completely removed and sealed, and in other cases, if the structural integrity of the tooth is completely compromised, then restoration methods are necessary in this case to repair the enamel, dentin, and inner channels.
However, with the advancement of vital pulp therapy and current research going into regenerative and preventative endodontics, we will soon be able to helpfully heal and regenerate infected pulp without having to remove it completely. If this process continues to advance, endodontists may be able to eventually have more conservative methods of tooth repair that don’t harm the internal structures, have a higher rate of success, and better oral care for patients overall.
Right now, bioceramics provide patients with infected pulp with the structure needed to heal, and it’s considered a great accomplishment among the dental community to perform this feat. But if you believe you may be suffering from some form of dental pain, visiting your primary dentist is the first place you should go to receive treatment for your tooth pain. If they’re unable to diagnose and treat your dental pain, then don’t be afraid to get treatment from an endodontist!