What is endodontic or root canal treatment?
The hard exterior of your tooth, or the dentin, helps to protect the soft centre that contains all of the blood vessels and nerves.
Unfortunately, if this outer layer becomes cracked or broken then the damage could make its way to the centre. If this happens it could become infected 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 alleviate the pain associated with the infected or inflamed tooth pulp and allow you to continue to eat, smile and talk properly. Your chances of needing more significant or long-term tooth repair will also be reduced.
What is a root canal used for?
There are a number of dental issues that may result in the need for a root canal, such as:
- Serious decay
- Faulty crown
- A tooth with repeated dental procedures
- Injury to a tooth
- Chipped or cracked tooth
Are there ways to avoid the need for a root canal?
Root canals are no fun for anyone! While they are very useful for helping to save damaged teeth, you can avoid serious dental issues by keeping a rigorous oral health routine. Here are some of the ways that you can help prevent the need for a root canal:
- 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 more significant issues. Any dental treatments can then be performed to prevent these problems from worsening or spreading to other teeth.