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Several times a year, dental students and academic staff of the university travel to Gambia to continue ongoing research projects in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of the Gambia and the WHO. (Photo: Witten/Herdecke University)
Feb 11, 2014 | News Europe

Successful root canal treatment possible with basic equipment

by Dental Tribune International

WITTEN, Germany: Researchers from Germany have investigated the effectiveness of basic root canal treatment (BRT) with tactile working length determination compared with BRT with standard radiographic working length control. They found that tactile working length determination achieves comparable treatment outcomes in terms of radiographic and clinical outcome parameters and is an accurate method in BRT.

Researchers from Witten/Herdecke University conducted their study in the course of the university’s Gambia dental care programme, which was established in 1995 and provides dental care to people living in isolated parts of the West African country, where modern medical technology is mostly non-existent.

In the study, BRT performed without radiographs was applied to a test group. For the treatment of the control group, X-rays were taken to facilitate working length determination. In total, 70 patients were followed up over a period of two years.

At the end of treatment, participants in both groups were examined using X-rays. Tactile working length determination proved to be as effective as radiographic working length control: 24 months after treatment only one tooth in the test group had been lost. “Basic root canal treatment can help to preserve even teeth with major substance loss. Thus, it can help prevent preterm removal of teeth,” said Dr Anna-Louisa Holzner, a dentistry graduate of the university. For her doctorate, Holzner developed a method that enables root canal treatment without electricity and water, and with only minimal materials and tools. The initial results of this so-called BRT were published in the International Dental Journal in 2009.

The current study, titled “Clinical effectiveness of basic root canal treatment after 24 months: A randomised controlled trial”, was published online ahead of print in the Journal of Endodontics.

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