How to Prevent the Need for a Root Canal

How to Prevent the Need for a Root Canal

Cracked, broken, inflamed, or infected teeth may be candidates for root canal therapy, an endodontic treatment that saves your tooth by removing the soft tissue at its core. The interaction between a natural tooth and the bone of your jaw maintains the best conditions for oral health. 

Despite the benefits, root canal procedures have an unwarranted reputation as a painful treatment. That’s not the case with contemporary dental anesthetics. At Comprehensive Endodontics, a root canal is no more painful than other common dental procedures. 

Still, the best root canal is the one you never have. We offer these tips to prevent the need for root canal therapy. 

Root canal fundamentals

Root canal therapy takes its name for a space inside each tooth that houses its soft tissue. A tooth has one or more canals through its roots, filled with a spongy pulp made of tissue and nerves.

Exposure to bacteria through a crack, cavity, or other damage can infect the pulp. Swelling causes pressure on the nerves, often resulting in intense pain in the affected tooth. Fortunately, an adult tooth remains viable with the pulp removed and the root canal filled and sealed. 

What to expect from treatment

Your treatment starts with anesthesia to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure. Next, Dr. Nance drills an access hole into the root canal through which he removes the infected pulp and nerve tissue. 

Next comes cleaning of the canal, removing all signs of infection. If needed, Dr. Nance shapes the root canal in preparation for a filling of a biologically inert material, often gutta percha. Leaving any space in the canal could invite future infections. Finally, Dr. Nance fills the access hole in much the same way you’d have a cavity filled.

In some cases, we’ll recommend an artificial crown, a tooth restoration that completely surrounds your natural crown to protect and strengthen the tooth. 

How to prevent the need for a root canal

You may be able to avoid root canals altogether with attention to your oral care regimen. Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day helps to keep teeth, gums, and jaws in excellent health, particularly when combined with dentist visits and cleanings every six months. 

Take care when eating hard foods, like mints and other candy. Be careful with items such as popcorn or cherry pie, where you might encounter unpopped kernels or hard pits. Don’t use your teeth as tools or bottle openers. If you like to chew ice on hot days, you should know that it can cause damage to tooth enamel. 

General cavity prevention reduces root canal risk, too. Avoid food and drink with high sugar or heavily acidic content. These contribute to tooth decay and softening of tooth enamel. Use a straw and rinse with water when you do indulge. 

People with dry mouth lose the natural benefits of saliva production. Chew sugar-free gum or use oral rinses designed to keep your mouth moist. 

With locations in Statesville and Hickory, North Carolina, we’re conveniently located to serve you. Call the nearest office today to book your endodontic appointment. 

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