Health & Fitness

What is Root Canal Obturation?

Root canal obturation is the process of filling the empty space in the tooth (root canal) with material that will not decay or cause infection. To restore a tooth after endodontic treatment, your dentist may place an artificial filling, usually made of materials such as resin or glass ionomer.

Root canal obturation is performed to eliminate bacteria from inside the root tip and prevent further infection. This procedure involves placing material in the chamber of each root to seal off any potential passageways for microorganisms. A successful outcome prevents secondary infections and limits future pain and risk of complications.

Root canal obturation can be done using two different techniques:

Primary Resin Obturation (PRP) or Secondary Resin Obturation (SRO). The choice between these methods depends on the type of pulp pathology found during your root canal treatment.

Primary Resin Obturation (PRP)

In Primary Resin Obturation, a sealer is first placed at the tip of the root canal. This sealer is then covered with a layer of primary filling material (resin-based composite). The resin-based composite is then shaped to create a final restoration that will be placed in your tooth. PRP can be used when there is no evidence of apical periodontitis or periapical lesions. It has no disadvantages and it may be less expensive than SRO.

Secondary Resin Obturation (SRO)

SRO is a process where the dentist cleans and sterilizes the root canal before filling it with an inert material. A material called gutta-percha, which is natural latex, is heated and inserted into the canal. The dentin or enamel tissue is then heated to fuse it to the gutta-percha.

Sometimes a temporary filling called acrylic cement will be placed as well. SRO is a good option for patients who have experienced trauma to their teeth such as fractures or cracks because this method can strengthen your tooth by fusing new tissue together. It also prevents future infection in teeth that were already infected previously.

Benefits of Root Canal Obturation

The benefits of root canal obturation depend on the type of pulp pathology found during your root canal treatment.

If the pulp is healthy, then primary resin obturation is recommended. PRP is a one-step process and is considered more effective than secondary resin obturation in preventing bacteria from returning to the tooth. It also saves time and costs less.

If the pulp is unhealthy, then primary resin obturation can still be used but it will not fully seal off any potential passageways for bacteria to enter. SRO, which requires two steps, may provide better long-term prevention by sealing porous dentin with a non-resorbable sealer and then filling the empty space with a resorbable material that will dissolve over time.

This method gives the tooth stronger resistance to bacterial invasion than PRP because it seals both dentin and empty spaces in the tooth wall. Both procedures require that patients have their mouths numbed before each appointment so they do not feel discomfort or pain.


Root canal obturation is the process of filling the empty canal with a material that will protect the tooth from further infection. The material is chosen based on the tooth’s anatomy and the location of the canal in the tooth.

There are two types of obturation: primary resin obturation (PRP) and secondary resin obturation (SRO). The material used for both types is either gutta-percha or resin-based filling material. PRP is more commonly used. Obturation can protect the tooth from further infection and can also be used to fill smaller defects in the root canal system.


1-On the causes of persistent apical periodontitis: a review

First published: 10 March 2006 By P. N. R. Nair

2-Evaluation of Root Canal Obturation: A Three-dimensional In Vitro StudyAvailable online 26 February 2009.

Available online on 26 February 2009, Mohammad Hammad

3-Calcification in the dental pulp

Available online 15 May 2005, F.S.Sayegh

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