At King’s College London researchers have developed a device that can verify whether a root canal has been cleansed of bacteria following an endodontic treatment. These days dentists performing such procedures have to rely on their technique and diligence to make sure the root canal will not become diseased again. Having a tool that confirms that the bacteria is gone should help prevent further tooth decay and subsequent procedures.
The SafeRoot device, a study of which was recently published in Journal of Dental Research, relies on paper points, commonly used by dentists, to sample the root canal space. Paper points are absorbent paper picks that can reach tight, narrow spaces, bringing up with them any bacteria they come in contact with. The sample is stained using Calcein acetoxymethyl, a fluorescent dye, and microspectroscopy coupled with a computer algorithm that analyzes the image is used to spot the bacteria.
The entire process takes only a few minutes to perform and is easily integratable into existing practice. It was tested in actual patients receiving a root canal, demonstrating considerably better ability to spot remaining bacteria over existing methods.
From the study abstract:
The study demonstrated that Calcein acetoxymethyl (AM) proved to be a suitable dye for detecting vital bacteria within mature endodontic biofilms, with an improved sensitivity over colony-forming unit counting in a stressed biofilm model. Furthermore, in a clinical trial with primary RCTs, 53 infected teeth were sampled in vivo, and increased detection of vital cells was found when compared with colony-forming unit counting, highlighting the sensitivity of the technique in detecting low cell numbers. By combining fluorescent staining and microspectroscopy with software-based spectral analysis, successful detection of vital cells from RCs was possible after 5 min of Calcein AM incubation. Application of this technology during RCT has the potential to reduce persistent infections through vital cell detection and additional treatment. Furthermore, this technique could be applied to antimicrobial research and disinfection control in clinical settings
Study in Journal of Dental Research: Rapid Bacterial Detection during Endodontic Treatment…