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How to Avoid a Root Canal

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A young woman in the mirror is smiling and holding a toothbrush cleaning her teeth.

Root canal treatment is a commonly performed dental procedure that can help to fill a tooth whose pulp has become infected or inflamed due to bacteria. It can be a necessary process to save and preserve a tooth. 

Taking proper care of your oral health is one of the best ways to avoid a root canal and maintain healthy teeth and gums. Regular brushing, flossing, and other healthy lifestyle changes can help to reduce the chance of needing root canal therapy. 

At Symmetry Dental, our experienced team has years of experience with root canal treatments. Please read our full blog and book an appointment today to learn more about the treatment options available.

Tips to Prevent Root Canals 

If you have a sweet tooth and like sugary foods or drinks, you may already have some experience with root canals. Here are a few tips to help prevent root canals:

Practice Good Oral Hygiene 

Brushing and flossing regularly and maintaining good oral hygiene is a must not only for your oral health but also helping to prevent root canals. It’s recommended that you brush your teeth twice per day and floss daily. 

Get More Fluoride 

Fluoride is a natural mineral that can help to strengthen the enamel of our teeth, which can be great in preventing cavities and tooth decay. Fluoride is often in our drinking water but can also be delivered via special kinds of toothpaste, mouthwashes, or supplements.

Book Regular Cleanings 

It is important to frequently visit your dentist for regular cleanings that can help to remove plaque buildup in those hard-to-reach places. Your dentist can also check for any signs of decay or problems with your oral health. 

Have Cavities Filled

If left untreated, cavities may continue to spread and cause more damage to your teeth, which could lead to a root canal. Please book an appointment with your dentist to have one filled.  

Wear Mouth Guards

A sports-related accident can result in a fractured tooth and exposed nerves, likely leading to a root canal. A mouth guard can help protect your teeth from these incidents. 

Avoid Hard & Sticky Foods 

Similar to sporting incidents, eating extremely hard or sticky foods can cause chips or cracks in your teeth, allowing room for bacteria to spread. 

A close-up of a woman with her left hand holding sugar cubes in her palm and thumbs down on her right hand.
Eating too many sugary or acidic foods can contribute to the breakdown of your enamel, which leads to cavities and tooth decay.

Avoid Sugary or Acidic Foods & Drinks 

Eating too many sugary or acidic foods can contribute to the breakdown of your enamel, which leads to cavities and tooth decay. Instead, try to eat healthier and rinse with water when eating or drinking harsher foods and drinks. 

What Is a Root Canal?

Root canal treatment is a form of endodontics therapy to help preserve and save a tooth. It involves the process of removing any infected tissue that is inside the crown and root of the tooth. After being cleared, the tooth is typically sealed with a permanent or temporary filling. 

Signs You Might Need a Root Canal 

Here are a few signs you might encounter if you need a root canal:

  • You experience lots of discomfort when chewing or biting 
  • You have a chipped or cracked tooth 
  • You have a lingering sensitivity to anything cold or hot 
  • Your gums are swollen
  • Your gums are darkening or showing signs of deep decay 
  • Bad breath 

If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to book an appointment with your oral care specialist and have them examine your teeth and gums.

How Does Root Canal Treatment Work?

Root canal therapy is a common procedure and can be broken down into 6 steps. Here is how the root canal process might look:

  1. Your dentist will typically give you anesthesia to freeze your mouth and the tooth .
  2. Your dentist may place a rubber dam on your tooth to prevent bacteria in your saliva during treatment from reaching other places in your mouth.
  3. Your dentist will likely create an opening in your tooth to reach the root canal system and access the pulp.
  4. Your dentist will remove the pulp within the affected tooth.
  5. Your dentist will fill and seal the canal. 
  6. The tooth’s opening will generally be sealed with a temporary or permanent filling.

In most cases, root canal treatments are successful the first time, but sometimes a second root canal treatment might be needed, which involves taking out the filling, cleaning, and replacing it. 

The Benefits of Root Canal Treatment 

Having a root canal can significantly benefit your oral health. Here are a few reasons you might want to get yours done:

Relieve Discomfort 

Root canal treatments are done using anesthesia to help reduce any discomfort potentially experienced during the procedure. The treatment may also help relieve discomfort you were feeling prior to the root canal. 

Visually Appealing Results 

Crowns are typically used during a root canal and are designed to look and function like natural teeth. A root canal can help restore your tooth to its original appearance.

Let Us Help Keep Your Smile Healthy

Visit us at Symmetry Dental to learn more about how you can prevent root canals or receive the treatment needed to help you achieve good oral health.

Root canal treatment is a common dental procedure designed to save and preserve a tooth that has an infected or inflamed pulp due to bacterial infection. While this procedure is effective and often necessary, it’s best to prevent the need for a root canal whenever possible. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to maintain excellent oral health and reduce the risk of needing root canal therapy. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the causes of dental issues that may lead to root canals, and provide you with practical tips and advice on how to avoid root canals through proper oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle. Understanding the Need for Root Canals To effectively avoid root canals, it’s crucial to understand the causes that may lead to this dental procedure. Root canals become necessary when the pulp inside your tooth becomes infected or inflamed due to various reasons, including: 1.1. Untreated Cavities: Tooth decay, if left untreated, can progress and reach the inner pulp of the tooth. Proper dental care and regular check-ups can catch cavities in their early stages, preventing them from becoming a more serious problem. 1.2. Dental Trauma: Injuries or trauma to the teeth, such as cracks or chips, can lead to pulp damage, which may necessitate a root canal. Wearing mouthguards during contact sports can help reduce the risk of dental injuries. 1.3. Gum Disease: Advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, can result in the loss of tooth-supporting structures and ultimately lead to root canal treatment. Proper oral hygiene practices are essential to prevent gum disease. 1.4. Dental Infections: Infections in the tooth, such as abscesses, can cause severe pain and may require a root canal to eliminate the infection and save the tooth. Practicing Excellent Oral Hygiene One of the most effective ways to avoid root canals is to maintain excellent oral hygiene. Here are some essential oral care practices that can help you achieve this goal: 2.1. Regular Brushing: Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush to avoid damaging your enamel or gums. 2.2. Proper Technique: Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, making sure to reach all surfaces of your teeth and your tongue. Don’t forget to brush your gumline gently to remove plaque and prevent gum disease. 2.3. Flossing: Daily flossing is crucial for removing food particles and plaque from between your teeth and along the gumline. This helps prevent cavities and gum disease. 2.4. Mouthwash: Consider using an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash to further protect your teeth and gums. Consult your dentist for recommendations. 2.5. Regular Dental Check-ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings every six months. Your dentist can detect dental issues in their early stages and provide preventive measures. Maintain a Healthy Diet Your diet plays a significant role in your oral health. What you eat and drink can either help protect your teeth or contribute to dental problems that may lead to root canals. Here’s how to maintain a healthy diet: 3.1. Limit Sugar Intake: Sugary foods and drinks are a leading cause of tooth decay. Minimize your consumption of candies, soft drinks, and sugary snacks. If you indulge in them, be sure to rinse your mouth with water or brush your teeth afterward. 3.2. Choose Tooth-Friendly Foods: Incorporate tooth-friendly foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and crunchy fruits and vegetables into your diet. These foods can help strengthen your teeth and gums. 3.3. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water is essential for maintaining good oral health. It helps rinse away food particles and neutralizes acids in your mouth. 3.4. Avoid Acidic Foods and Beverages: Acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits and carbonated beverages, can erode tooth enamel. Consume them in moderation and rinse your mouth with water afterward. Protect Your Teeth Preventing root canals also involves taking measures to protect your teeth from potential damage and injuries. Consider the following tips: 4.1. Mouthguards: If you participate in contact sports, always wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth from trauma. A custom-fitted mouthguard from your dentist offers the best protection. 4.2. Don’t Use Teeth as Tools: Avoid using your teeth to open packages, bottles, or crack nuts. Such actions can lead to chipped or cracked teeth. 4.3. Address Bruxism: If you grind or clench your teeth, a condition known as bruxism, it can lead to tooth damage and potentially the need for a root canal. Talk to your dentist about getting a nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep. Early Detection and Treatment Timely detection and treatment of dental issues can prevent them from progressing to the point of needing a root canal. Here’s what you can do: 5.1. Be Aware of Warning Signs: Pay attention to signs of dental problems, such as tooth sensitivity, pain, or swelling. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t delay seeking professional dental care. 5.2. Regular Check-ups: As mentioned earlier, scheduling regular dental check-ups is crucial. Your dentist can identify issues like cavities, gum disease, or infections early on and provide appropriate treatment. 5.3. X-rays: Dental X-rays can reveal hidden dental problems. Your dentist may recommend periodic X-rays to catch issues that aren’t visible during a routine examination. Good Oral Hygiene Habits for Children Starting good oral hygiene habits at a young age is essential for preventing the need for root canals in the future. Here are some tips for children’s oral care: 6.1. Supervise Brushing: Children should be supervised while brushing until they have developed the necessary dexterity to brush effectively. 6.2. Fluoride Toothpaste: Use fluoride toothpaste to strengthen your child’s teeth. However, use a pea-sized amount and make sure they don’t swallow it. 6.3. Healthy Diet: Encourage a balanced diet for your children, limiting sugary snacks and beverages. 6.4. Regular Dental Visits: Schedule regular dental check-ups for your children, just as you do for yourself. Early prevention and intervention are essential for their oral health. Lifestyle Habits Certain lifestyle habits can impact your oral health and increase the risk of needing a root canal. To avoid this, consider the following: 7.1. Smoking and Tobacco Use: Smoking and using tobacco products can increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Quitting these habits can significantly improve your oral health. 7.2. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration and dry mouth, which can contribute to tooth decay. Drink alcohol in moderation and stay hydrated. 7.3. Stress Management: High levels of stress can lead to teeth grinding and clenching. Practicing stress-reduction techniques can help mitigate this issue. Special Considerations for Older Adults As we age, our oral health needs change, and older adults may be more susceptible to dental problems that could lead to root canals. Here are some considerations for older individuals: 8.1. Medications: Some medications can cause dry mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay. Stay hydrated and consult your dentist
Dr. Saleema Adatia, Calgary dentist

Written by Dr. Saleema Adatia

Dr. Saleema Adatia earned her Doctorate of Dental Medicine (DMD) from Tufts University in 2006. Since then, she’s been committed to serving her patients’ needs with the utmost passion. Dr. Adatia has owned and operated Symmetry Dental since 2013 and has integrated high-quality services with friendly care into the philosophy of the practice.

With a goal of providing the best patient care possible, Dr. Adatia ensures that her practice stays up to date with the latest dental technologies and techniques. Her personal passion for dentistry stems from a desire to create a positive impact on each patient’s quality of life. Whether that means treating people’s pain or restoring function and beauty to their smiles, the goal is always the same: to help make patient’s lives just a little bit better by working together in harmony.

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