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The History Of Root Canals

Based on a skull found in the Negev Desert in Israel with a bronze wire inside a tooth, it has been surmised that the wire was an attempt to treat an infected tooth, therefore, rendering it root canal treatment. The skull dates back to the second or third century B.C. It is believed that the surgery was probably performed by the Romans due to the fact that they invented dentures and crowns. Root canal treatment, then, has existed for a very long time.

Endodontic Treatment

The formal name for a root canal is endodontic treatment. The word endodontic is a combination of two Greek words, “inside” and “tooth.”  A few hundred years after the placement of the bronze wire inside the skull mentioned above, it seems that the pain due to root canal infections was relieved by draining the infected pulp from the root canal. It is believed that this treatment lasted until the 1600s.


As time progressed, root canal treatment began to resemble the same treatment we use today, but it wasn’t until the 18th century that anesthesia and X-rays were introduced. X-rays helped to make the treatment more effective, while anesthesia helped make it less painful. Today, root canal therapy is not any more painful than a dental filling, and more than 15 million root canals are performed on a yearly basis–more than 41, 000 each day!


The benefits associated with root canal therapy (RCT) include:

  • RCT relieves pain caused by infected dental pulp.
  • RCT saves teeth.
  • RCT prevents the spread of infection.
  • RCT restores the function, strength, and esthetics of your tooth.