While we can effectively treat an infected tooth with a root canal, it's always best if you can avoid needing one at all. We believe in prevention as the first line of defence. In this post, our Burnaby dentists explain how preventive oral hygiene can help you avoid a root canal procedure.
What is a root canal?
There's a soft area called the pulp at the centre of each tooth. It contains corrective tissue, blood vessels and nerves. This is the most important element of any tooth, and it's protected by the tooth's dentin and enamel.
Infection can damage a tooth's pulp and ultimately lead to the death of the tooth.
The pulp is removed during a root canal procedure, where any residual tissues are also cleaned out. The tooth is then sealed or capped with a dental crown or filling, preventing the need for an extraction.
A root canal can resolve painful symptoms associated with inflamed or infected tooth pulp and allow you to continue to eat, smile and talk properly. Your risk of requiring more significant or long-term tooth repair will also be reduced.
Why would I need a root canal procedure?
Tooth pulp can develop an infection for many reasons, leading to the need for a root canal procedure. Here are some primary reasons patients come to us requiring Root Canal Therapy:
- Serious decay
- Faulty crown
- A tooth with repeated dental procedures
- Injury to a tooth
- Chipped or cracked tooth
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.