Root Canal Irrigants

When a dentist does a root canal, he opens up the tooth to expose its inner contents and cleans out all remnants of the nerve and any necrotic tissue. Removing all organic deposits is tantamount in allowing for a good final seal. Any left over pieces of debris will contaminate the filling material and cause it to leak and fail prematurely. An irrigating solution is important to not only help flush debris from the canal during the cleaning process, but to also provide final disinfection of the canal before it is filled. Sodium hypochlorite, the main ingredient in common household bleach, makes an ideal irrigating solution. It will emulsify living tissue so that it can easily be flushed from the canals. This is especially important when working in canals that have lots of nooks and crannies for vital and non-vital tissues to hide. When an oxygenating agent is added it will bubble out hiding debris that cannot be mechanically removed with the thin files that the dentist uses to clean and shape the canals. It is important that the irrigant stay within the confines of the root canal space so as to not cause peripheral tissue damage. Once the irrigant has done its job, it is dried up with points of absorbent paper, but it still has the residual effect of disinfection before the root canals are filled.