Scientists Improve Root Canal Efficiency With Physics

Trusted Health Products

Written By Kevin Kerfoot / Reviewed By Ray Spotts

Scientists from China and the U.S. recently used computational fluid dynamics to determine the effect of temperature on root canal cleaning efficiency. They discovered that higher temperatures can improve cleansing to a point, but this benefit falls off if the temperature gets too high. Their report was published in Physics of Fluids.

The researchers reported calculations with a model of the conical-shaped root canal inside a tooth - a cavity that is usually filled with pulp. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, an endodontist removes the infected pulp and then cleans, shapes and fills the canal, and the apex is then sealed.

“The effective area on the root canal wall, in which the shear stress exceeds the critical value to clean the wall, is usually larger behind the needle outlet than in front of it,” says author Hanhui Jin. “The maximum shear stress also usually occurs on the wall behind the needle outlet. The fluid circulation within the canal is clearly enlarged when the temperature is increased. Therefore, careful control of both power consumption and temperature leads to increased cleaning efficiency.”

Irrigating The Root Canal Cavity

The scientists explained that a crucial step in this common dental procedure is irrigation - rinsing of the root canal cavity with an antibacterial solution such as sodium hypochlorite.

Efficient cleaning and successful destruction of any bacteria or other microbes in the cavity depend on the penetration and cleaning ability of the irrigation fluid. The investigators considered the effect of power consumption by the irrigation device. If the power consumption was held at a fixed value, the effect of temperature on cleansing efficiency was much more pronounced.

Their investigation used a structured mesh as a model of the conical root canal cavity, and more than one million cells in the mesh completely and accurately described the root canal and the side-vented needle through which the hypochlorite solution was injected. Fluid dynamics equations were used to model flow of the hypochlorite solution.

The scientists varied the fluid velocity, temperature and input power to determine the most efficient cleansing technique. As expected, higher fluid velocities lead to better cleansing. Perhaps counterintuitively, cleansing efficiency is higher on the wall behind the needle vent.

The investigators also looked at the effect of temperature on cleansing, and considered four different temperatures: 22 Celsius - or room temperature; 37 C - body temperature; and 45 C and 60 C.

Temperatures above 60 C are painful for the patient and tend to cause root canal damage. Increasing the temperature to 45 C, while holding the fluid velocity fixed, improved the depth of cleansing and the cleansing span across the canal’s width, but further increases in temperature beyond 45 C actually decreased the cleansing efficiency.

Root canal work not so bad after all

While most people associate having root canal work with a lot of pain and discomfort, when compared to other dental procedures, it is not as bad as people think, a recent study reports. Self-reporting of their dental health suggests that patients find the procedure no worse than other dental work which overturns the popular belief that root canal work is the most unpleasant dental treatment.

“Information about 1,096 randomly selected Australian people aged 30 to 61 was collected through questionnaires, dental records and treatment receipts in 2009,” says Dr. Tallan Chew, postgraduate student, Adelaide Dental School, University of Adelaide and study co-author. “Their self-rated dental health score was checked when they had their dental work and again two years later.”

“Patients who had root canal work reported similar oral health-related quality of life as people who had other types of dental work. The effect of root canal work on patients’ oral health-related quality of life was compared to other kinds of dental work such as tooth extraction, restoration of teeth, repairs to the teeth or gum treatment, preventative treatment and cleaning.”

“There is growing interest in the dental profession to better understand the effect and impact oral diseases and their associated treatment, such as root canal work, have on patients’ quality of life,” added Professor Giampiero Rossi-Fedele, Head of Endodontics at Adelaide Dental School, University of Adelaide. “A biopsychosocial view of health is increasingly replacing a purely biomedical model.”

“Treatment outcomes need to be re-examined from a patient-based perspective using self-reported measures as this more accurately reflects the patients’ perception of treatment outcomes and the effect it has on their overall well-being. Patient-reported treatment outcomes are now the principle driving force behind treatment needs, as opposed to clinician-based treatment outcomes. With this change in emphasis, the perspectives of patients and their relatives are important factors in identifying need for treatment, treatment planning, and determining outcomes from any health care intervention as part of shared decision making.”

Looking for a 100% all-natural liquid tooth oil and mouth rinse? Check out OraMD Original Strength and OraMD Extra Strength. Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tipsnatural healthoral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources check out the Trusted Health Resources list

Written By:

With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.

Reviewed By:

Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at

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