By "excavating" we mean the preparation of the root canal for a root pin.
Every addition to a tooth e.g. a crown or root caps, needs a certain retention on the tooth.
If there is only very little available on the tooth more hold can be won with the help of a root pin – there’s more about this in the video "Root Pin". In order to prepare and fix such a pin in place the root canal needs to be excavated beforehand.
In the picture you can see the excavation of the roots; the patient will receive a prosthesis which will be attached to the roots with special root caps. The roots will first be filled with a special filler – what’s called a root treatment. After the root filling (seen here in red) hardens, which normally takes about 24 hours, a portion of the filling will be removed, i.e. –excavated.
For a root canal pin it’s important to have a good root treatment and a sufficiently deep excavation in the root canal. At least 1/3 of the pin should be embedded in the root. This reduces the leverage load on the tooth root and thus the risk of a root fracture. If the pin is too short it could break under the load of chewing. The length of the pin can easily be checked by means of an X-ray – more about this in the video "Cracked Tooth - Root Fracture".
Now an impression is made. With the help of the black pins the technician conveys the location and form of the excavation needed. At the next appointment the root caps, which will provide the ideal retention through the root pins, will be cemented in.
Finally the prosthesis is fitted and thanks to the root caps its hold is clearly improved.
There’s no alternative to excavating, apart from extracting the root and making a replacement tooth, e.g. a prosthesis, or an implant – more about this in the video "Dental Prosthesis".
The risks associated with excavation are practically negligible with an experienced dentist. Nevertheless complications may occur in rare cases which would result in further measures being taken. With every further measure taken it is again possible that complications could occur which could lead to the loss of a tooth. Here we’d only like to mention the particular complications associated with excavation, namely:
- Excavation too shallow – a fracture of the tooth pin could result.
- Root perforation when excavating
- Injury to neighbouring structures with the relevant consequences