While a root canal is an effective treatment for an infected tooth, it's better to avoid one altogether. Prevention is the first line of defence here. Here, we explain how preventative oral hygiene can help you avoid a root canal.
What is a root canal?
Inside each tooth there is a soft core—called pulp—containing tissues nerves and blood vessels. It is the most important elements of a tooth and is protected by dentin and enamel. This pulp can be damaged by infection, potentially causing the death of the tooth.
During a root canal procedure, dentists remove the pulp from the damaged tooth, clean out the interior and seal it with a crown or filling. This helps prevent the need for an extraction.
Root canals can alleviate the pain caused by damage or infection and allow you to continue to smile, speak and eat properly. They also reduce the chances that you'll need long-term tooth repair.
Why would I need a root canal procedure?
A tooth's pulp may become infected for a variety of reasons and require removal. Here are some of the main reasons patients need root canal therapy from a dentist:
- Injury to a tooth
- Faulty crown
- Serious decay
- Chipped or cracked tooth
- A tooth with repeated dental procedures
How can I prevent the need for a root canal?
If you take proper care of your teeth while at home between your dental appointments, you will be able to prevent the need for a root canal procedure.
- Practice oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice per day, or as directed by your dentist
- Visit the dentist for checkups every six months, or as prescribed by your dentist
- Avoid very crunchy or hard foods like candies, especially if you have weakened teeth or restorations
- Don't chew ice! This may fracture cracked teeth and open the path for infection
- Curb your consumption of acidic food and drink. They can wear on your enamel and expose the teeth to sugar
- Wear mouth guards for protection during sleep or sports
Do you have any questions about how to prevent the need for a root canal?
A dentist will be able to answer any of your questions and recommend an appropriate oral hygiene routine.