While a root canal is an effective treatment for a tooth that has become infected, it is always preferable to avoid needing one in the first place! We believe that the first line of defence is prevention. Our Bolton dentists explain how good oral hygiene can help you avoid having to have a root canal.
What is a root canal?
The pulp, a soft area at the centre of each tooth, contains connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels. This is the most important part of a tooth, and it is protected by the enamel and dentin.
A tooth’s pulp can become damaged due to infection and ultimately lead to the death of the tooth.
During a root canal procedure, we remove the pulp in a damaged tooth, clean out any residual tissues and seal or cap it with a filling or dental crown. This prevents the need for an extraction.
A root canal can relieve the pain of infected or inflamed tooth pulp and allow you to eat, smile, and speak normally again. You'll also have a lower chance of needing more extensive or long-term tooth repair.
Why would I need a root canal procedure?
The pulp of a tooth can become infected for many reasons and may need to be removed. Here are some main reasons patients come to us needing 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 keep you pain-free after a root canal (or during the procedure), we have yet to meet someone who enjoys having one. You can avoid the need for a root canal procedure if you take good care of your teeth at home in between dental appointments.
- 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.
- If you already have weak teeth or dental restorations, stay away from crunchy or hard foods and candies. These can easily crack teeth and expose your tooth to bacteria, which can enter the root system and cause damage from the inside.
- 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.
Maintaining your oral health requires regular visits to your dentist for checkups and hygiene cleanings. The dentist can also check for early signs of dental problems before they become more serious. Any necessary dental procedures can then be carried out to prevent the problems from worsening or spreading to other teeth.