While an infected tooth can be effectively treated with a root canal, it's always best if you can avoid needing one in the first place. We believe prevention is your first line of defence. Today, our Winnipeg dentists explain how preventive oral hygiene can help you avoid a root canal procedure.
What is a root canal?
Inside every tooth, we have soft pulp that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. This is the most important element of a tooth, and it's protected by the tooths' enamel and dentin.
If infection occurs, the tooth's pulp may be impacted and ultimately lead to its untimely death.
During a root canal procedure, we remove the pulp of a damaged tooth, clean out any residual tissues and cap or seal it with a dental crown or filling, preventing the need for an extraction.
A root canal can alleviate the pain associated with inflamed or infected tooth pulp and allow you to keep talking, smiling and eating properly. Your chances of needing more long-term or significant tooth repair will also be reduced.
Why would I need a root canal procedure?
Many things can cause tooth pulp to become infected, leading to the need for a root canal. Here are some common reasons patients come to us requiring Root Canal Therapy:
- Injury to a tooth
- Cracked or chipped tooth
- A tooth with repeated dental procedures
- Serious decay
- Faulty crown
How can I prevent the need for a root canal?
Though your dentist will make every effort to ensure you don't feel pain after a root canal (or during the procedure), we haven't met anyone who loves getting them. If you take proper care of your teeth at home between dental appointments, you can prevent the need for a root canal procedure.
- Practice good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice daily, or as prescribed by your dentist. No matter how tired or busy you may be, don't forget this step.
- Visit your dentist for preventive care every six months, or as prescribed by your dentist.
- Avoid particularly crunchy or hard foods and candies, especially if you already have weak teeth or dental restorations. These can easily cause teeth to crack and leave your tooth vulnerable to bacteria, which can enter the root system and cause damage from within.
- Do not chew ice! This can fracture or crack teeth and allow bacteria to access and infect the pulp.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks; they cause wear on your enamel and expose the teeth to sugar.
- Wear night guards or sports guards to protect your teeth from damage.
Seeing your dentist for regular checkups and hygiene cleanings is critical to maintaining your oral health. The dentist can also check for early indications of dental issues before they develop into larger issues. Any dental treatments can then be performed to prevent these problems from becoming worse or spreading to other teeth.