A root canal treatment aims to remove bacteria from a diseased tooth root and prevent it from becoming reinfected. However, research shows bacteria may persist after treatment in areas that are hard to reach with conventional endodontic treatment. Laser-assisted endodontic irrigation helps to improve the cleaning and shaping process and reduce the risks of ongoing infection by reaching these previously inaccessible areas of the tooth.

Traditional Endodontic Irrigation (EI)

In the past, endodontic irrigation was traditionally performed using syringes and metal needles. The method had challenges, however, with studies showing that without ideal technique, the products used as irrigant seldom traveled to the deep recesses of the tooth resulting in potential for reinfection. Some other advanced Wave methods can provide a similar degree of cleaning, but do not have the direct bactericidal activity of the Endodontic laser working directly within the root canal spaces.

How Laser-Assisted EI Works

The success of a modern root canal treatment depends on the endodontist’s ability to debride and thoroughly clean the canal system. Practitioners can clean the main canals with hand or rotary files but removing pulpal tissue fragments from the rest of the canal system is challenging. Irrigation is the best way to clean any residual bacteria thoroughly. It’s also essential to disinfect the area so it can be sealed off after the treatment.

Due to the addition of an Er: YAG laser to the process, an endodontist can activate the irrigant so it travels throughout the canal system and tubules, cleaning and disinfecting as it goes. It achieves this in two ways:

  1. By laser energy creating small energized “cavitation” bubbles in water and solutions that create an “acoustic streaming” effect producing the irrigation effect.
  2. Through direct antibacterial effects as this process acts directly on bacterial cell walls.

This type of laser has a higher wavelength than other types, which makes it better at removing the “smear layer”, a residual slime layer that results from instrument use in the canal. This results in more effective bacteria elimination in the canal.

Benefits of Laser-Assisted EI

Using a laser-assisted method of endodontic irrigation offers lots of benefits for both the endodontist and the patient. The lasers enable greater accuracy and preserve more of the patient’s tooth structure. The practitioner can access areas that are otherwise hard to reach and ensure they remove all the diseased tissue. Root canal procedures are performed more efficiently, reducing treatment and recovery time, and increasing patient satisfaction.

Patients also score when endodontists use laser-assisted irrigation methods. Previously, root canal treatments were often the cause of much anxiety, but now the procedure is notably more comfortable and effective. The patient experiences reduced pain and discomfort afterward. Long-term outcomes also improve, which impacts the patient’s finances and overall health.

The Take-Away

Laser-assisted endodontic irrigation is a safe, cost-effective procedure that achieves the goal of clearing out bacteria from a tooth root canal system and preparing the area for sealing. This technology enables practitioners to help more patients with root infections, provide faster treatment with lower levels of discomfort, and deliver longer-lasting results.

Contact Professional Endodontics today for more information on using laser-assisted endodontic irrigation during root canal treatments, or to schedule an appointment with our qualified, compassionate team.