Root Canal Made Easier

There’s good news if you dread going to the dentist. A new fiber optic camera is changing the way root canals are performed. Doctors say the new instrument makes patients less anxious and, in many cases, it decreases the time spent in the dentist’s chair.

Ablah Farahid has had three root canals. Like many people, dental work makes her nervous.

“I’m usually apprehensive about it,” says Farahid.

However for Farahid and many patients, that anxiety has become a thing of the past. A new technique called orascopy is bringing root canal procedures into the 21st century.

James Bahcall, D.M.D., an endontist at the Northwestern University School of Dentistry in Chicago, Ill., explains, “This is equivalent to back in the late 1960s, putting a man on the moon. This has revolutionized the way root canal treatment is practiced.”

Using a fiber optic camera called an orascope, Dr. Bahcall is able to look inside the structure of a decaying tooth. Rather than use an X-ray, live pictures appear on a monitor and help pinpoint exactly where the decay is located.

“It’s literally like turning on the lights in the room when you’re painting it,” says Dr. Bahcall.

For patients like Michael Watkins, the orascope means a more accurate root canal, less time in the dentist’s chair and less anxiety.

Watkins says, “I feel good. It went fast, and right now, I could get up and go back to work, back to my regular job feeling good.”

Farahid admits, “I was less apprehensive. I knew exactly what they were doing, and it was very interesting.”

Doctors say using the orascope does not increase the cost of a root canal, and it reduces the chance of problems in the future.

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