Root canal procedures are effective at treating infected teeth, however, it is always best to prevent needing one if possible. Today, our dentists in Manitoba explain what root canals are, the reasons why you may need one, and how you can prevent having to get them done.
In the middle of each of your teeth is a soft section called the pulp. It holds the blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues. The pulp is the most important part of the tooth which is why the tooth's dentin and enamel are there to keep it safe.
Infections can damage the tooth's pulp which can make the tooth die.
When performing a root canal procedure, your dentist removes the pulp of a damaged tooth, cleans out any residual tissues, and caps or seals it shut with a dental crown or filling. Root canals prevent the need for a tooth extraction.
A root canal could help relieve any pain that's associated with the inflamed or infected tooth pulp and allows you to keep eating, smiling, and talking normally. It also lowers your chances of having to get more significant or long-term tooth repairs in the future.
Reasons You May Need a Root Canal
There are many reasons why the pulp of your tooth can get infected and may need removal. Below we have listed a few of the most common reasons why you may need a root canal:
- Chipped or cracked tooth
- Serious decay
- A tooth with repeated dental procedures
- Injury to a tooth
- Faulty crown
Ways to Avoid 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.