Almost the entire adult population has dealt with cavities, so it’s common for a person to have undergone a filling procedure at least once in his or her lifetime. But while drilling and filling procedures may seem effective in warding off further tooth damage, it’s actually still possible for bacteria to cause further damage even if an existing cavity has already been filled. This can lead to excruciating pain, especially when the pulp region is already affected.
But so what if the pulp region is affected? This would actually necessitate one of the most dreaded procedures in the entire world of dentistry – a root canal. Although the bulk of dental procedures have become relatively pain-free with the help of technology, the mere mention of a root canal procedure is enough to scare even the bravest of people. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, root canals are needed in situations where the pulp region becomes exposed either because of cavities or cracks. More than 14 million root canal procedures are done each year.
What makes root canals so terrifying? In the past, dentists would have to drill from the crown down into the pulp region in order to clean out all of the infected tissues. However, a new procedure has been developed which could replace root canals in general. The technique called direct pulp capping is faster than the standard root canal procedure, requires less use of the drill and can salvage more of the affected tooth.
Root Canal vs Direct Pulp Capping
The standard root canal procedure would require the dentist to drill all the way down to the tooth canal and then add a rubber-like material in order to prevent future infections. A significant portion of the tooth had to be chipped away to serve as a holder for the crown.
On the other hand, direct pulp capping can be done as long as the nerve of the tooth isn’t infected. The procedure starts with the dentist removing any bacteria from the cavity and then covering the entire tooth with a resin in the tightest manner possible. This way, there’s no way to differentiate between bonding material or resin. Direct pulp capping completely eliminates the need for a crown and therefore will not require the dentist to drill away a large part of the tooth. While this procedure isn’t as common as root canal procedures, patients who have undergone direct pulp capping appreciate the fact that they are now given the option to not have to go through the dreaded root canal.
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