How to Avoid a Root Canal

Root canal. These words are enough to strike fear into the hearts of anyone who hears them. It’s about the last thing you want to hear when you go to the dentist. While a skilled dentist can significantly minimize the discomfort a root canal entails, they are still a procedure to avoid at all costs. And most people don’t know just how easy they are to avoid! Keep reading for everything you need to know about root canals.

When Do You Need a Root Canal?

It’s easy to let your oral health routine slip from time to time. When you’re busy with school, work, family, dating, or whatever it is taking up your time, things like flossing certainly take the backseat. This is completely understandable, and we all do it, but know that it absolutely puts you at risk for needing a root canal.

A root canal becomes necessary when bacteria reaches the inside of your tooth. The inside of your tooth, called the pulp, is made up of soft tissues, nerves, and blood vessels that can become infected. A tooth can become infected by not taking care of cavities, cracks, chips, or injuries. When things like this are left untreated, it can cause a lot of pain or even lead to an abscess, which would require an additional surgery.

Warning signs that your tooth may already be infected include:

  • Pain in a tooth or the side of your face
  • Sensitivity to heat or cold
  • Tenderness to touch or chewing
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration in your tooth
  • Tenderness of your lymph nodes or nearby bone or gum tissue

What Actually Is a Root Canal?

The root canal treatment is essentially the process of removing the infected pulp from your tooth. To save the tooth, the inside is carefully cleaned, shaped, filled, and then sealed temporarily. After it’s been cleaned out, you’ll have to have your tooth re-evaluated to make sure the infection is gone. Once it’s completely gone, your dentist can permanently seal your tooth with a crown or onlay. The whole process typically takes multiple visits.

Avoid Them!

Infected teeth are difficult to fix and incredibly easy to avoid! It all starts with oral health.

Oral Health

  • Brush your teeth at least every morning and every night
  • Use a soft bristled toothbrush
  • Floss daily
  • Change your toothbrush (or the head of your electric one) every 3-4 months
  • Try prescription toothpaste like fluoridex
  • Brush after every meal if you can
  • Eat foods that discourage the growth of cavities
  • Avoid foods that cause demineralization

Dental Visits

  • See your dentist regularly—they can detect early signs of unhealthy teeth through procedures like radiographs
  • Have a professional cleaning every 3-6 months
  • Take advantage of anti-cavity fluoride treatments
  • Get a prescription fluoride toothpaste

One of the best things you can do to avoid needing a root canal is to keep your dentist in the loop! There are several early warning signs of a pulp infection, and talking to your dentist can keep you from needing one. If you have a persistent toothache, swollen gums, and/or increased tooth sensitivity, call you dentist immediately to save your teeth!

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact LeCroy Dental today!