When looking at your calendar you may notice there are a lot of little holidays and times of remembrance. You also see there are days, weeks, and moths of awareness.
Another one to consider is March 22-28, 2015. This is Root Canal Awareness week, according to the American Association of Endodontists. You may be thinking to yourself “I am aware of them already- more aware than I would like to be!” While root canals seem to have a bad rap for being painful, we’re here to explain that this option can actually save you from being in a lot of pain.
What could lead to a root canal?
There are a few things that could cause someone to consider having a root canal done.
The first is decay, which can cause the tooth nerve and the pulp to become irritated, inflamed, and infected, according to WedMD. This is where a lot of pain is coming from- the irritation and the swelling. Infections can even cause other symptoms, such as fever.
Another example is repeated dental procedures being performed on the same tooth. It isn’t natural for or teeth to be manipulated, especially not repeatedly. The tooth can erode or chip in the process, leaving it vulnerable.
Lastly, cracks and trauma to the face can call for a root canal. As you can imagine, chipping your tooth leaves the insides open to the air, germs, the food you eat, etc. This leaves your oral health at risk, not to mention gets very painful!
Here is a great list of symptoms that may indicate the need for a root canal:
- Severe pain in tooth when applying pressure or chewing
- Prolonged pain or sensitivity to extreme temperatures, even after object is removed
- Discoloration or darkening of the tooth
- Nearby gums become swollen or tender
- Persistent pimples on the gums
Ok, you got me. What IS a root canal?
According to Colgate, there are a couple steps involved in a root canal.
First, the dentist numbs the tooth and an opening is made through the crown to the pulp chamber. This is the soft inside of your tooth. If decay reaches this point in the tooth then that is when you begin to feel pain.
Then, special files are used in order to clean out the infection and unhealthy tissue. They make passage ways for the filling.
Next, the canals in the tooth are filled with a permanent material, usually a substance called gutta-percha. This will help block out infection or other debris. The filling is put in and the tooth is rebuilt. In some cases, a small post is installed in order to give the crown more support, depending on the extent of the damage caused to the tooth.
Lastly, the crown is cemented into place.
Why get a root canal?
The biggest reason to get a root canal is to put an end to pain while keeping your tooth. The majority of the pain is actually caused by the infection or the trauma to the tooth. This is the pain that people tend to remember. The procedure itself is actually comparable to getting a regular filling done on your tooth, which isn’t as painful as most would perceive.
Root canals are highly successful in fixing teeth. According to WebMD, the statistic is 95%. Many of the teeth that are fixed with root canals will last the rest of your life. It’s like getting an extension to the life of your teeth!
Also, since the crowning is fixed on top, it’s not obvious to onlookers that the procedure was done. It’s not something that will dramatically change your appearance (unless of course, your teeth were severely decayed).
Lastly, because root canals maintain more of your natural tooth than other procedures, it is better for your oral health and can really help keep your smile looking natural.
Preventing the Need for a Root Canal
Even though it’s been uncovered that root canals are not as scary as first perceived, they shouldn’t be your first plan of action. There are some precautions you can take before scheduling that root canal.
The first is to be mindful of trauma that can occur to your teeth. When playing sports of any kind, try to keep your teeth in mind; use a mouth guard whenever possible. This keeps the tooth from being knocked around and loosened.
According to Daniel Daniel Dentistry, one of the easiest things you can do in order to prevent the need for a root canal is to practice excellent oral hygiene. This means brushing your teeth two times a day, flossing, and even using mouthwash in order to back up the flossing. Here is an alcohol free mouthwash that is easier to swish in your mouth.
At Modern Family Dental Care, there are also other dental services in Charlotte that can be used in order to help prevent the need for a root canal. You can get x-rays, mouth guards, gum care, and regular cleanings. These things alone can make your teeth healthier and catch something before it progresses too far. If you would like to schedule a first time visit or a consultation, get in touch today!