Calcified root canals happen when calcium gets deposited in the root canals and the canal space shrinks. This can pose a challenge if a tooth needs a root canal therapy because it can be difficult to get even the smallest of tools down them.
The cause for calcification may vary, prolonged infection and trauma, the natural process of ageing, fillings or crowns over a long period of time are the common reasons for it. The incidence of calcified canals is highly correlated with age. With increasingly aging population who retain their teeth longer, there is a growing number of calcified root canal that require treatment.
Successful calcified root canal treatment depends on if all the calcified root canals can be found and cleaned properly. Treating calcified root canal space takes time and patience. A dental microscope really helps in these cases.
In this case, an 85 year old patient had throbbing pain from a top molar. The tooth had had both amalgam and white fillings for a long time. Treatment options included extraction and endodontic treatment. Also options of replacing the tooth were discussed if the tooth needed to be removed. The patient didn't like dentures. Dental implant with possible sinus lift also sounded too complicated to the patient. Finally root canal treatment was chosen to save the tooth.
Inside the tooth, calcification formed a large pulpal stone and fulfilled the whole pulpal chamber. Because of the calcification, it was very difficult to detect and negotiate the canals. What made it worse was severe curvature of MB canal. Post-operation X-ray showed how curved the root canal was. The root canal treatment was a long procedure but very successful. The patient was very happy with the result.