While a root canal is an effective way to treat an infected tooth, it's always best to avoid needing one in the first place! We believe prevention is the first line of defence. The dentists from our five Downtown Toronto locations (Bay Adelaide Dental, Brookfield Place Dental, College Park Dental, King-York Dental and Richmond-Adelaide Dental) explain how preventive oral hygiene can help you avoid a root canal procedure.
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.
If a tooth’s pulp becomes infected, if left untreated it will ultimately lead to the death of the tooth and the need for extraction.
During a root canal procedure, we remove the pulp from within the damaged tooth, clean out any residual tissues and seal or cap it with a filling or dental crown. This allows the tooth to be restored to normal function and appearance, saving it from the need for extraction.
A root canal can alleviate the pain associated with infected or inflamed tooth pulp and allow you to continue to eat, smile and speak properly. Your chances of needing more significant or long-term tooth repair will also be reduced.
Why would I need a root canal procedure?
There are a number of ways that the pulp of a tooth can become infected and 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?
Taking good care of your teeth at home, between dental appointments can help you to prevent the need for a root canal procedure. Here are a few ways to help care for your teeth and avoid the need for a root canal procedure.
- Establish a good oral hygiene routine by brushing and flossing at least twice daily.
- Visit your dentist for preventive care every six months, or as prescribed by your dentist.
- Avoid particularly crunchy or hard foods and candies, especially if you already have weak teeth or dental fillings.
- 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.
- Wear a night guard or sports guard to protect your teeth from damag.e