What is Pulp Regeneration/ Regenerative Endodontics?
After a permanent tooth erupts in the mouth, it needs 2-3 years for its root to reach full maturation. If the pulp of an immature tooth were killed off due to caries or trauma, the tooth’s root would not form correctly and thus become vulnerable to fracture. Regenerative endodontics is one of the most exciting developments in dentistry today and endodontists like Dr. Thomas and Dr. Do are at the forefront of this cutting-edge treatment modality. Regenerative endodontics uses the concept of tissue engineering to restore the root canals to a healthy state, allowing for continued development of the root and surrounding tissue. Endodontists’ knowledge in the fields of pulp biology, dental trauma, and tissue engineering can be applied to deliver biologically based regenerative endodontic treatment of necrotic immature permanent teeth resulting in continued root development, increased thickness of the (dentinal) walls of the canal in the root and (apical) closure of the opening at the tip of the root. These developments in the regeneration of a functional pulp-dentin complex have a promising impact on our efforts to retain the natural dentition, the ultimate goal of all endodontic treatment.
Who might be a candidate for a pulpal regeneration procedure?
As described earlier, regenerative endodontics is a procedure performed on “necrotic immature teeth.” Depending on which tooth is being considered, any child roughly between the ages of 6 and 14 could be a candidate. Different teeth “erupt” or come out of the gums at different ages and all of those teeth will be “immature” or have incomplete development of their roots for the first year or two that follow. To become “necrotic” or to lose the vitality of the nerve tissue and blood vessels inside the chamber and canal(s), a tooth, in most cases, will become infected (abscessed) first, usually from uncontrolled decay or trauma. A consultation with our doctors at Winchester Endodontics (or, initially, with your family dentist) would help determine if the infected or traumatized tooth has incomplete development of its root(s).
Which teeth are candidates for pulpal regeneration?
Any tooth in the mouth could be a candidate, as long as its growth has stopped (due primarily to decay or trauma) within the first year or two after eruption (coming up out of the gums).