Your oral health is crucial to a healthy, beautiful smile. If you have a tooth that has been damaged (because of fracture, cracks or a deep cavity), harmful oral bacteria can access the inner tooth pulp where an infection can take place. Pain and swelling will likely occur, and over time, your jawbone and general health can be adversely affected, and you will need to have your tooth removed.
Performing a Root Canal
When this happens, our endodontist will need to perform a root canal to remove the diseased tooth pulp, clean and seal the area, and in some cases, place a crown. The tooth pulp – or soft tissue inside a tooth – contains its blood supply and the nerves traveling to the tooth. When decay, infection, or injury breaks through the tooth’s protective enamel layer and the softer dentin layer below, harmful bacteria can enter and infect the pulp. The damaged pulp is cleaned out and replaced with a sterile material (gutta-percha) to fill this space down to the tooth root and topped off with a filling.
A root canal is often the best-tooth-saving treatment to save a damaged tooth. And with proper care for the tooth and the surrounding tissues like you would preserve your healthy teeth, it can last a lifetime. Endodontic treatment today is more successful than ever, thanks to continuing advancements, techniques, and tools.
How To Prevent a Root Canal
Of course, we also promote proactive prevention as we get that you likely don’t look forward to being on the receiving end of a root canal. While we always try to save a tooth as it is better for your smile than artificial tooth replacements, there are still things you can do to keep your teeth and gums safe from cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss.
It all starts in your home with your daily oral hygiene routine. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once helps get rid of harmful oral bacteria that can build up and lead to tartar (hardened plaque) between your teeth and around the gumline. Your daily oral care combined with regular professional dental cleanings and checkups will protect your teeth and gums for a lifetime of healthier smiles.
Here is a list of preventative measures you can take to avoid a root canal in your future!
-Twice daily brushing for two minutes each time helps keep your mouth cleaner and healthier so you can be cavity and gum disease-free.
-Floss at least once a day to get rid of the root-damaging oral bacteria and trapped food particles that your toothbrush alone can’t reach. You’ll even enjoy better breath in the process.
-Stay away from or limit hard foods like candy, suckers, and ice that can crack your teeth, letting in bad bacteria that can make their way to the nerve center of your teeth.
-If you currently have weak teeth or dental restorations like fillings, you’ll want to avoid crunchy fruits and vegetables (carrots, apples, etc.) that can crack teeth.
-Limit your exposure to acidic drinks and foods. Constant exposure to soda, citrus juices, and alcohol bathe tooth enamel in sugar that feeds oral bacteria and weakens teeth.
-Wear a nightguard over your teeth if you tend towards bruxism – grinding and clenching your teeth as you sleep. This nighttime mouth guard helps keep your teeth safe from fractures that can expose a tooth’s roots.
-Wear a sports guard when engaging in high contact sports or recreational activities. This goes for football, soccer, snowboarding, etc. Your teeth and gums are worth protecting!
Don’t skip your routine dental cleanings and checkups that remove hardened plaque and spot damaged teeth early so that timely treatment can help avoid a root canal later. Never ignore tooth pain, and remember, taking good care of your teeth can go a long way to avoiding damage resulting in a root canal.
We welcome your questions and concerns about your smile. We are here to help you keep your smile healthy and are ready to help you with any diseases or injuries of the soft tissues inside your teeth!