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Dig Out Some Buried Secrets From the ‘History of Root Canal’



Humans had teeth since their evolution, it stands to the reason that the practice of dentistry is ancient.

The word ‘Endodontic’ has Greek roots.  Endo means inside and odons mean tooth. The savior of the diseased or injured teeth, Endodontic therapy, or the Root Canal is a years-old golden treatment dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, and cure of dental pulp disorders.

How interesting it is to go deep into the roots of a procedure that is profound for your dental roots? Dig out several interesting facts hidden in the ‘History of Endodontic’ with the help of this cool timeline created especially by the Alaska Center for Dentistry, a group of Emergency Dentist in Anchorage serving the need fora Anchorage Dentist needs.

Summary of slides:

History of Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy)

This timeline will show the history of Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy) starting from 17th century till modern age endodontics


Root Canal at Initial Stages

In the 17th century, evidence shows that early endodontics was used to drain the root canal to relieve pain and pressure. Over the next few centuries, dentists increased their understanding of tooth pulp and developed numerous endodontic methods to treat diseases relating to it. Endodontics then involved removing pulp or covering it with protective coatings made of materials like gold foil and asbestos.


Early History of Root Canals

The word “endodontic” comes from two Greek words meaning “inside” and “tooth.” Around the second or third century B.C. a skull found in Israel’s Negev Desert had a bronze wire in one of its teeth, which, researchers believe, may have been used to treat an infected pulp and could be the first traces of endodontics.

1727 — 1800

Discovery of Toothache Cause

In 1725, Lazare Riviere introduced the use of oil of cloves for its sedative properties. In 1746, Pierre Fauchard described the removal of the pulp tissue. Pierre Fauchard (1678-1761), considered the founder of modern dentistry, who in his textbook “Le chirurgien dentiste” precisely described the dental pulp and dispelled the legend of the “tooth worm,” which had been considered the cause of caries and toothaches since the time of the Assyrians.


Endodontics in 19th Century

This historic text of the 18th century truly marks the beginning of endodontics in medicine. Leonard Koecker expanded upon this idea in 1820 as he used a heated instrument to effectively cauterize the infected pulpal tissue and protect the remaining tissue with lead foil

1820 — 1836

Popular Treatise on Teeth

In 1820, Leonard Koecker cauterized exposed pulp with a heated instrument and protected it with lead foil. In 1836, Shearjashub Spooner recommended arsenic trioxide for pulp devitalization.

1838 — 1850

Root Canal Instruments

In 1838, Edwin Maynard of Washington, D.C. introduced the first root canal instrument, which he created by filing a watch spring. In 1847, Edwin Truman introduced gutta-percha as a filling material. In 1850, W.W. Codman confirmed that the aim of pulp capping, which had already been proposed by Koecker in 1821, was to form a dentin bridge.

1864 — 1873

Root Canals in 19th Century

In 1864, S.C. Barnum of New York prepared a thin rubber leaf to isolate the tooth in the course of filling. Together with G.A. Bowman, he introduced the rubber dam clamp forceps in 1873. In 1867, Bowman used gutta-percha cones as the sole material for obturating root canals.

1885 — 1891

Fillings, Crowns and Root Canals

In 1885, Lepkoski substituted formalin for arsenic to “dry” the non-vital pulp stumps left in the root canals after excision of the coronal pulp to prevent their decomposition. At the end of the century, prosthetic restorations, including the Richmond or Davis crown, became increasingly popular. In 1891, the German dentist Otto Walkhoff introduced the use of camphorated chlorophenol as a medication to sterilize root canals.


Beginning of Root Canal X-Rays

In 1895, and more precisely in the evening of November 8 in his laboratory in the Bavarian city of Wurzburg, the scientist Konrad Wilhelm von Roentgen accidentally discovered a new form of energy that had the ability to penetrate solid material. Because of their unknown nature, he decided to call these rays “X”

1900 — 1908

Teeth Radiography

In 1900, Price described periapical radiolucencies as “blind abscesses” and advised the use of radiography for establishing the diagnosis of pulpless teeth. In 1908, Dr. Meyer L. Rhein, a physician, and dentist in New York introduced a technique for determining canal length and level of obturation.


Endodontic Therapy

After 1910, when safe and effective local anesthetics were developed and radiographic machines, which were being perfected, came into wide use, one would have expected to see tremendous strides being taken to develop a safe and reliable system of endodontic therapy. In the same year, 1909, Mayrhofer published a work linking the nature of pulpal infection with specific microorganisms. The results indicated that streptococci


Tooth Xrays in Modern Age

The introduction of x-rays and effective anesthetics in the early 1900s made endodontics more predictable and more comfortable for the patient. Endodontics grew quickly as technological advances proved the safety of root canal treatment, allowing patients to save teeth that might have been lost to extraction.


Root Canals in 20th Century

In February 1943, a small group of dentists, practitioners, and educators founded the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) in Chicago in an effort to share common endodontic experiences and interests. The AAE is an advocate for endodontists and endodontics and promotes the highest quality endodontic care.


Endodontics Instruments

Dental manufacturers came together in 1958 to discuss endodontic instrumentation and standardized endodontic instruments and materials used for root canal treatment. Mechanized instruments like the Giromatic were used, as were sonic and ultrasonic energy instruments. Nickel-titanium was used for specialized endodontic files and high torque handpieces.


1963 — 1994

Dental Syringes

In 1963, the American Dental Association officially recognized endodontics as a dental specialty. Dr. Jack Jacklich has been credited with many innovations in endodontic techniques and tools after he graduated from the Loyola School of Dentistry in 1968. Jacklich was determined to make endodontics simpler and more uniform. He introduced the Precision Endo Syringe in 1978, and the Multi-Mode Syringe in 1994 for procedures.


Modern Root Canal Treatment

Modern root canal treatment requires the use of both mechanical and chemical preparation and disinfection of the canal system. During cleaning and shaping procedures, a superficial amorphous layer of tissue remnants, organic and inorganic materials, and bacteria and their byproducts accumulate on the canal walls.


Root Canal Procedure

To treat the infection in the root canal, the bacteria need to be removed. This can be achieved by A) Placing the rubber dam. B) Creating the access cavity C) Cleaning and shaping the tooth’s root canals D) Sealing the tooth – Placing the filling material E) The root canal process is now complete but your tooth still requires additional work.