Will root canals become a thing of the past?

We’re pretty approachable here at Falmouth Dental Arts, and yet, we know and appreciate that a trip to the dentist may not be exactly what some of you have in mind as ‘fun.’ This is certainly the case when and if a root canal comes into the picture, but the future is looking bright in that regard: a recent breakthrough has many people thinking (and hoping) that root canals may become a thing of the past, thanks to stem cells.

Over the past year, regenerative dental fillings have generated much scientific attention. Researchers from the University of Nottingham and Harvard University’s Wyss Institute have found that fillings utilizing stem cells could change the future of root canal procedures for the better, by stimulating teeth to repair and regenerate their own damaged tissues.

What role do stem cells play in this process? Stem cells are undifferentiated (aka non-specialized) cells that are capable of transforming into different cells. Stem cells have been utilized in other regenerative therapies that have developed over the past several years. To date, most applications of stem cells in the health industry involve repair of diseased and/or injured tissues.

It’s technology that could change many people’s lives. For those who don’t know about root canals, they can be intimidating experiences for some patients because the root canal – also referred to as the pulp – and the nerve of a tooth are removed due to extensive tissue damage. Usually the damage is from a prior cavity in the region that spread beyond the enamel into the tissue below. Removal of a tooth’s pulp and nerve also dramatically weakens the tooth, and might require further dental work like crowns or caps to reinforce the tooth. Additionally, materials inserted into fillings as a result of cavities or root canals are also often toxic to cells. Regenerative fillings would hypothetically negate all these risks, and would not require invasive procedures.

Our own Dr. Brian Brunacini shared his thoughts on the potential of the technology. “In dentistry, we are always searching for ways to make the experience as non-invasive and comfortable as possible.  It is exciting to see new treatment modalities coming out in dentistry. Regenerative dentistry would be a complete paradigm shift in how teeth are repaired.”

During initial tests, regenerative fillings successfully stimulated the development of dentin, the tissue that makes up the tooth below the visible white enamel. Theoretically, injecting these stem cell-powered biomaterials into a damaged tooth would prompt the cells to regenerate dentin in their natural environment, right where it’s needed the most. This could mean that in the future a damaged tooth could heal itself!

As supporters of holistic and integrative dentistry, we’re excited about this breakthrough. We’ll have to curb our enthusiasm for now: regenerative fillings are only in the initial stages of research and much must be done to develop the treatment before it’s ready for use on humans. The research is promising however: regenerative fillings received second place in the materials category of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Emerging Technologies Competition in 2016.

This development could mean a great deal to dental patients who require fillings and root canals across the globe. Are you curious about the prospect of regenerative dental fillings? Call and talk with us about them, or let’s chat at your next appointment.

What Is Ozone Therapy?

Many of us are familiar with ozone, the triple bonded oxygen molecule, because of the role it plays in our atmosphere. When used in dentistry, ozone therapy can have amazing oral health benefits and it is one of a handful of holistic options we offer at Falmouth Dental Arts.

Ozone is a very effective oxidizer: the molecule itself carries a strong negative charge. This negative charge is attracted to the positive charges found on many harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, amoebas, and fungi. When bonded to a negatively charged cell membrane, the ozone causes a rupture which kills the pathogen, as illustrated here. Compared to chlorine, one molecule of ozone kills pathogens 3,000 to 10,000 times more efficiently and 3,500 times faster.

The cell membranes of our own cells and helpful parasites contain antioxidants that do not react with ozone. Therefore, ozone therapy has no effect on the cells we want to keep intact. In this way, ozone therapy is a great tool for treating oral infection and disease with a naturally occurring, broad spectrum substance with no toxicity or side effects.

We’ve outlined specific uses of ozone in dentistry. Feel free to give us a call to make your next holistic dental appointment.

Ozone Uses


Ozone gas can be used to treat cavities. The gas allows ozone to seep into the deepest grooves and pits of the teeth. In addition to killing bacteria on contact, ozone promotes the re-calcification of tooth structure, which increases tooth strength and reduced sensitivity. If a cavity has developed and needs a restoration, a tooth-colored composite filling will be placed after the cavity has been removed and the tooth has been sterilized with ozone.

Gum Disease

Used in combinations of gas and liquid, ozone is an ideal adjunct treatment for gum disease, which is often caused by bacteria. Ozone gas and ozonated water can be applied to gum tissue and the gum pockets where it will oxidize and kill the “bad” bacteria that are destroying connective tissues. This will promote healing and increase the treatment’s success rate.

Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy is a routine procedure used to treat an infection within the pulp chamber of a tooth. Ozonated water or ozone gas can be used during the root canal procedure to kill existing bacteria, sterilize the root canal tubules and accessory canals, and promote faster healing. In gas form, ozone can reach places other techniques and products cannot. This ensures successful treatment in the long term.


Teeth that have become weakened, worn down, or have receding gums may become overly sensitive. Ozone gas can be used to harden the existing tooth structure and close off the pores on the root surface, which decreases the tooth’s sensitivity. This treatment has a high success rate and can mean the end of avoiding favorite foods or drink.

Ozone for All!

Here in the office we are able to generate ozone by using pure medical grade oxygen passed through a corona discharge generator. This will produce therapeutic ozone in the form of liquid or gas. Our ozone generator allows us to produce pure, contaminate free, predictable and precise concentrations of therapeutic ozone. Ozone is safe, effective, and produces no byproducts. It simply breaks down into oxygen and water.

Ozone has no associated medical complications. We are therefore able to use ozone on all of our patients regardless of age, health, or medication use. It is a wonderful adjunct treatment that helps boost the success rate of almost any dental treatment. Give us a call to learn more about using ozone at your next appointment.

ozone therapy