Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC

Filling Your Roots with Roots!

'tree and teeth roots'What is Gutta-percha? In endodontics, when you have a root canal treatment, your tooth is filled with a substance called Gutta-percha (“gutta-per-cha”).

Its first uses in dentistry were in the late 1800s as a temporary restorative material, until it was used to permanently fill root canals. It is used to “obturate” or fill the empty space inside your tooth root after we have removed the infection.

Gutta-percha are cone shaped, meaning whether they are heated or chemically treated before they go into your tooth, they fit perfectly into all the nooks and crannies to keep the bad bacteria out!

Gutta-percha is derived from two Malaysian trees Paliquium gutta and Mimusops globsa trees. The word gutta-percha actually comes from the Malay words “getah” meaning sap and “percha” meaning scrap, and dates back to 1845! It was originally used by the natives of the Malaysian archipelago for making knife handles, walking sticks and other purposes.

Gutta-percha is the coagulated latex of the two trees, which are in the same botanical family as the rubber tree Hevea brasilienisis.

Does this mean if you have a latex allergy you can’t have a root canal treatment? Of course not!
For our patients with latex allergies, we have latex-free root filling options your safety.

Gutta-percha is thermoplastic, meaning it softens on heating and hardens when it cools. It resembles rubber but contains more resin and is used in dentistry especially as a permanent filling in root canals.

Fun fact!
Gutta-percha is used as insulation for underwater cables and household electrics!
It’s also “bioinert” which means it does not react or initiate a response when it comes into contact with biological tissue. Therefore, it does not cause an alternative reaction in the human body.

Here at Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC we get to the “root” of the facts for you, so you’re always aware of every process in your treatment!

Oral Cancer and Hepatitis C

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI) recently found that individuals infected with the hepatitis C virus are two to five times more likely to develop head and neck cancers. The JNCI study found that the risk for hepatitis C patients of developing head and neck cancers more than doubled for oral cavity and oropharynx cancers, and increased nearly five times for larynx cancers. As well, patients that are hepatitis C virus-positive were also more likely to test positive for human papillomavirus (HPV).

'oral cancer' 'hepatitis c'

The question remains, how does hepatitis C virus increase oral cancer risk?

The JNCI research found that patients infected with the hepatitis C virus had a higher odd ratio of having cancer of the oral cavity, oropharynx, or larynx than those without hepatitis C virus infection. Enhanced replication of hepatitis C virus in oropharyngeal tissues may in fact contribute to chronic inflammation, ultimately prompting cancer development. Human papillomavirus is known to suppress local immune response, which may accelerate the production of hepatitis C virus in oropharyngeal cells. The JNCI notes that human papillomavirus and hepatitis C virus may play a “synergistic role” in the development of oropharyngeal cancers by stimulating loss or destruction of tumor suppressor proteins p53 and retinoblastoma protein.

The JNCI notes that one of the study’s limitations is that it didn’t include individuals with hepatitis C virus who didn’t have oral cancer. All and all, it is important to take away from The Journal of the National Cancer Institute’s study that it is important to educate Hepatology (study of liver, gallbladder and pancreas health) and infectious disease specialists. These doctors who treat patients with hepatitis C virus need to understand that the hepatitis C virus not only drastically affects liver health, but it’s also a systemic infection that can drastically affect oral health.

Your oral health is important to us. If you suspect that your oral health is at risk, give Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC a call today and schedule an oral cancer screening!

Apicoectomy – Say What?

'apicoectomy'Say that again?!

An apicoetomy or “ey-pi-koh-ek-tuh-mee” (say that three times fast!) may be needed when an infection develops or won’t go away after your root canal treatment or retreatment.

Your teeth are held in place by roots that extend into your jawbone. They can have anywhere from one to four roots. The tip of these roots is called the apex. Nerves and blood vessels enter the tooth though this apex. They travel through a canal inside the root and into the pulp chamber, which is inside the “crown” of your tooth.

During root canal treatment, we clean the canals and the infected tissue is removed.
Root canals can be very complex, as there are several branches off the main canals. Sometimes, even after a root canal, infected tissue can remain in these branches. This could possibly prevent healing or cause re-infection.

An apicoectomy is only considered after a tooth has had at least one root canal procedure and retreatment is not possible. Sometimes it is called endodontic microsurgery because it is often performed under a microscope. The light and magnification allow the endodontist to see the area clearly. This increases the chance that the procedure will succeed.

In an apicoectomy, the root tip or apex is removed along with the infected tissue. A filling is then placed to seal the end of the root tip and a few stitches are placed in the gum to help the tissue heal. After a few weeks the bone heals around the end of the root.

An apicoectomy is typically a safe and effective procedure, and is rarely recommended unless further root canal treatment won’t be effective. The goal is to help you preserve your natural teeth for as long as possible. Apicoectomies are generally a permanent and cost-effective solution which can help your teeth last for the rest of your life!

If you’re having pain or swelling from a tooth that has had a root canal treatment, don’t hesitate! Give Bluegrass Endodontics, PLLC a call today! [PRACTICE_NUMBER]

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