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Address iconAddress: 601 NW Loop 410,
Suite 455 San Antonio, TX 78216
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San Antonio Bioceramic Sealers

What Is a Root Canal Sealer?

In root canal treatment, we use mechanical tools and irrigation to clean out the infected and dead pulp tissue inside your tooth and to create smooth internal surfaces. We then seal the tooth to prevent re-infection. The root canal space is filled with a material called gutta percha. This is a rubbery material derived from the gutta percha tree. It is very biocompatible and its flexibility allows excellent adaptation to the cleaned out root canal space. The gutta percha is then cemented in place with a sealer. Several different sealers are available. At Oak Hills Endodontics, the sealer we tend to use is a new bioceramic sealer. Bioceramic sealers were introduced in 2008. We’ll explain here what they’re like and why we tend to use them.

Two side-by-side images of a tooth before and after root canal therapy. The bio-ceramic sealer helps secure the filling in the second image.The illustration shows the filled and sealed root canal treatment. The pink in the drawing on the right represents the gutta percha.

After endodontic therapy, your periapical tissues—the tissues around the tooth’s root—need to heal. The choice of sealer can affect healing. Different sealers have different properties. Some are antimicrobial, and some are more biocompatible. Some sealers are hard to remove during retreatment, and some are easier than others for the endodontist to work with in terms of pliability and setting time.

Bioceramic Sealers vs. Other Sealers

Bioceramic sealers are biocompatible, which means they’re safe for your body’s cells. Their chemical composition is very similar to tooth structure, which means they have no toxic effects. Some other sealers are cytotoxic until they set, which occurs several hours after root canal therapy is over. Bioceramic sealers are composed mainly of either calcium silicate or calcium phosphate. These materials are antibacterial and antifungal, and they can help promote tissue growth. Sealers that shrink after setting can leave gaps between the filling and the dentinal wall. Some bioceramic sealers expand when setting.

Alternatives to Bioceramic Sealers

  • Zinc oxide and eugenol (ZOE). This common sealer has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It may shrink and/or weaken when it sets, and it doesn’t adhere to the prepared tooth interior as well as other sealers.
  • Calcium hydroxide. Sealers made with calcium hydroxide are antimicrobial and can help spur the growth of healthy tissue after root canal surgery.
  • Glass ionomer. This sealer adheres well to the prepared tooth interior and the filling material. However, it can be hard to remove during root canal retreatment.
  • Resin. Sealers composed of resin offer good adhesion to the tooth interior, but they can shrink as they set, possibly impacting the quality of the seal. Additionally, resin sealers can cause inflammation at the treatment site. However, that inflammation goes away.

Non-bioceramic sealers can irritate the soft tissues around the tooth root, but the irritation stops when the sealer sets.

You can learn more about the technology we rely on at Oak Hills Endodontics here. To make an appointment with Dr. Bates, Dr. Janse, Dr. Rayyan, or Dr. Thompson, please call our office at (210) 342-2444. If you’d like us to call you, simply fill out our appointment request form here.