What is a root canal?
At the centre of every tooth, a soft area called the pulp contains the connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels. This is the most vital element of a tooth, and the tooth’s enamel and dentin protect it.
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 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.
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?
While your dentist will provide you with a local anesthetic to help prevent you from feeling pain during the procedure, having a root canal is still not entirely comfortable. 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. This is a step that should never ever be skipped.
- Most people on average should visit the dentist twice yearly for dental exams and cleanings. This can be more frequent if you have any specific concerns.
- 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.
- Wearing dental appliances such as sports guards or night guards can help protect your teeth.
When it comes to the lifelong health of your teeth, routine oral hygiene and professional cleanings are key. 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.