If you’ve never had a root canal there is no doubt that you’ve at least heard about them. Root canals are said to be painful and they are often dreaded, but the truth is that they are not any more uncomfortable than a dental filling. A root canal replaces the pulp of the tooth. The pulp is in the root of the tooth, and the root is considered to have canals, hence the term root canal. Gutta percha is what is used to replace the pulp during root canal treatment.
What is Gutta Percha?
Gutta percha dates back to the late 1800s when it was used as a temporary restorative dental material during the Civil War. At that time it consisted of gutta percha, quick lime, quartz, and feldspar. Derived from the Taban tree (Isonandra perchas), it is a compound from natural rubber and has been used throughout history to coat the first trans-Atlantic cable and to create the inner core of golf balls. It was used as a temporary filling material until 1950.
Gutta percha must be mixed with an adhesive sealer such as zinc oxide-eugenol, polymer resin, glass ionomer, bio-glass, or a silicon-based material to provide the seal required for root canal treatment. Dental gutta percha is not pure. In fact, it is not even mostly gutta-percha. It is composed of 50 to 79 percent zinc oxide (50-79%), one to 17 percent heavy metal salts, one to four percent wax or resin, and only 19 to 22 percent gutta-percha. Different manufacturers and distributors require different handling properties and therefore vary the content accordingly. Gutta percha is especially useful in dental treatments because its solubility in chloroform, eucalyptol, and halothane allows it to be removed for retreatment in non-healing cases.
About Your Reno Dentists
Dr. William Wager, Dr. Brian Evans, and our highly experienced team at Wager Evans Dental are devoted to our patients and their families, and dedicated to providing first-rate dental care in a comfortable, inviting environment. Located in Reno, we proudly welcome residents from Spanish Springs, Sparks, Incline Village, Dayton, Fernley, and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation or your next dental appointment, visit our office, or contact us today by calling (775) 829-7700.