What is Gutta-percha? In endodontics, when you have a root canal treatment, your tooth is filled with a substance called Gutta-percha (“gutta-per-cha”).
Its first uses in dentistry were in the late 1800s as a temporary restorative material, until it was used to permanently fill root canals. It is used to “obturate” or fill the empty space inside your tooth root after we have removed the infection.
Gutta-percha are cone shaped, meaning whether they are heated or chemically treated before they go into your tooth, they fit perfectly into all the nooks and crannies to keep the bad bacteria out!
Gutta-percha is derived from two Malaysian trees Paliquium gutta and Mimusops globsa trees. The word gutta-percha actually comes from the Malay words “getah” meaning sap and “percha” meaning scrap, and dates back to 1845! It was originally used by the natives of the Malaysian archipelago for making knife handles, walking sticks and other purposes.
Gutta-percha is the coagulated latex of the two trees, which are in the same botanical family as the rubber tree Hevea brasilienisis.
Does this mean if you have a latex allergy you can’t have a root canal treatment? Of course not!
For our patients with latex allergies, we have latex-free root filling options your safety.
Gutta-percha is thermoplastic, meaning it softens on heating and hardens when it cools. It resembles rubber but contains more resin and is used in dentistry especially as a permanent filling in root canals.
Gutta-percha is used as insulation for underwater cables and household electrics!
It’s also “bioinert” which means it does not react or initiate a response when it comes into contact with biological tissue. Therefore, it does not cause an alternative reaction in the human body.
Here at Kissimmee Family Dentistry we get to the “root” of the facts for you, so you’re always aware of every process in your treatment!
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