Fig.1 Fig.2 Fig.3

Dental Education Lecture: Molar Root Canal

Molar root canal treatment is one of the most complicated procedure in dentistry, because the roots may be long and curvy (Fig.1 arrowheads).  The canals, the spaces inside the roots, may be so small that they are easily overlooked or cannot be cleaned very well.  If we miss cleaning up the canals or do not clean up the whole length of the canals, germs are left behind, causing re-infection and pain later on.  We have to re-do root canal.

Today's case is quite challenging for two reasons.  First, the canals are as long and curvy as their roots (follow curvature onlined by black arrowheads in Fig.2).  Second, there appear to be three skinny canals (black, blue and red arrowheads).  In fact, there are totally four of them.  The red one actually consists of two canals.  Since they are so close to each other, they look like one on X-ray.  If you look at the top end of the white filling material (so called gutta percha, indicated by red arrowhead), you can see two of them (two red *).

Fig.3 shows what root canal looks like after it is done with gutta percha with glue.  It looks solid and compact.  This is the basis of successful treatment.

Xin Wei, DDS, PhD, MS 1st edition 05/15/2010, last revision 05/15/2010