While root canals should be effective ways to treat infected teeth, it's best to avoid requiring one in the first place. We believe that prevention is the first line of defence against needing a root canal. Here, our Markham dentists explain how preventive oral hygiene can help you to avoid root canals in the first place.
What is a root canal?
At the centre of each tooth, there is a soft tissue called pulp that contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. This is the most important part of your teeth and is protected by your tooth's 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.
Root canals can alleviate pain associated with inflamed and inflected teeth to allow you to continue to eat, speak and smile properly. Your chances of needing significant and long-term tooth repair should be reduced as well.
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:
- Faulty crown
- Serious decay
- Injury to a tooth
- Chipped or cracked tooth
- A tooth with repeated dental procedures
How can I prevent the need for a root canal?
While your dentist will make every effort to make sure you feel no pain during and after a root canal procedure, we have yet to meet someone who loves getting the procedure. If you take proper care of your teeth at home between dental appointments, you will be able to prevent the need for root canals.
- Do not chew ice! This can fracture or crack teeth and allow bacteria to access and infect the pulp.
- Visit your dentist for preventive care every six months, or as prescribed by your dentist.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks; they cause wear on your enamel and expose the teeth to sugar.
- 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.
- Wear night guards or sports guards to protect your teeth from damage.
- 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.
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.