Archive for April 6th, 2011

Bio-inert point-tip-needle-spikelets

Gutta percha selection for root canals

This aging stuff is…complicated. Apparently, I’m tough on my teeth due to a combination of genetics and behavior. So, today I went through another step in the Dance of the Root Canal, and acquired my ration of a bio-inert substance, now filling the space where the nerves were in the afflicted tooth. It’s called gutta-percha, and it’s a natural latex from the sap of a Malaysian tree.

Apparently, this latex dries in the open air/sun. This contrasts to the substance that native peoples collected from trees in the Mesoamerican lowlands to make the balls used in the games in those elaborate ballcourts; they set up that latex by mixing the tree-milk with compounds from a plant in the morning glory family.

The Doc who installed my tooth-quota of gutta-percha used a fancy light microscope and other high-tech equipment to do the job (which was pretty darned pain-free—believe it or not). The blanks are pre-shaped into long cones just right for filling those pesky canals.

I love the juxtaposition of a twenty-first-century electronics and tropical plant that lead to my own consignment of set-up plant-sap….