What is a partial root canal?
A partial root canal is a root canal procedure in which the dentist cleans only a portion of the infected pulp tissue. After the treatment is completed, most of the pulp remains inside the tooth. There are two treatment options for partial root canals, one of which is that the pulp is still alive, nutrients are being delivered to the tooth, and the function of the tooth is not affected. The other option is that the pulp has all but died and is simply allowed to remain inside the tooth.
How is a partial root canal performed?
First option: Surviving pulp
This option is only suitable for teeth with a low level of bacterial infection. The root canals of these teeth can be distinguished from uninfected pulp. The dentist uses instruments to drill through the surface of the tooth and then removes the bacterially infected portion of the pulp. The entire treatment is then completed.
The second option: dry pulp treatment
Dry pulp treatment, also called ‘dry cadaver’ treatment, is a very old treatment for pulpitis. Dry pulp treatment was once widely used around the world. The dentist first uses medication to render the pulp lifeless, and then the dentist removes the outermost layer of the tooth, but leaves the pulp tissue inside the root canal.
Finally, the dentist places a paraformaldehyde-based antiseptic medication in the root canal opening to ‘dry out’ the pulp tissue inside the root canal. At this point, a state of sterile necrosis is maintained inside the tooth and the root canal treatment is complete.
The difference between the two
Partial root canal has the advantage of being simple and quick. However, the success rate of partial root canal is very low compared to root canal treatment. While the success rate of a regular root canal is over 85%, the success rate of a partial root canal is only 50%. Once a partial root canal fails, the patient needs to undergo a new root canal. In other words, the patient has to suffer from two procedures. Therefore. Dentists will not recommend patients to choose the partial root canal treatment option.