Imaging of root canal preparation

Project completed 2013. 

Professor Damien Walmsley, School of Dentistry 
Professor Paul Cooper, School of Dentistry
Professor Ela Claridge, School of Computer Science
Professor Liam Grover, School of Chemical Engineering

Teeth have a complicated canal structure and a diseased tooth is treated clinically using root canal therapy which aims to eliminate bacteria from the root canal and prevent their re-entry. One of the most significant challenges facing root canal therapy is cleaning without residual debris that may harbour bacteria and thus potential infection. Ultrasonic cleaning may be more effective than traditional methods; acoustic streaming and cavitation of the irrigant result in a superior cleaning effect but this result is dependent on capability to bring the irrigant into contact with canal walls.

This project aims to develop a non-invasive, real-time imaging technique that will allow a more conclusive understanding of tooth cavitation, with detailed information about substance removal and channel wall modification that will enable novel ultrasonic file and instrumentation designs to enhance and optimise the occurrence of biophysical forces such as cavitation and streaming in the cleaning processes of root canal therapy.

- MicroCT will be used to map the canals of teeth fully and accurately, both before and after endosonic treatment, to understand substance removal and channel wall modification.

- The suitability of near-infrared and ultrasound techniques to image the root canals of teeth will be investigated and evaluated.

- Ultrasound/near-infrared optics will be developed as a non-invasive imaging technique capable of providing real-time information relating to positions of files within the root canals of teeth.

- The cleaning mechanisms of endosonic instruments will be clarified.