Dental procedures are never fun, but one you’ll often hear complaints about is a root canal. Root canals are necessary for repair when a tooth is badly decayed or infected. A root canal procedure consists of removing the nerve and pulp and then cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth. If this treatment is not done, tissue surrounding infected or decaying teeth can become infected and create abscesses. Removing the nerve does no damage to teeth, but it does prevent that specific tooth from feeling hot or cold; the day-to-day functioning of the tooth will remain the same.
So, what causes the need for root canals? As always, the best dental care is preventative care. No one wants to get in that dentist’s chair for a root canal, and we’ve got the best ways for you to avoid it.
- Decay: The most common cause, as we’ve mentioned, of needing a root canal is tooth decay. This decay is caused by cavities in the pulp area of the tooth. Bacteria enters the inner area of the tooth where the root is present and produces acids, causing holes in the teeth. Once the decay enters the pulp area, the real damage is done, resulting in further decay, death of the entire pulp area, or abscesses. Extracting the decaying tooth is also an option in this case, but a root canal helps save the tooth- only losing its function to feel hot or cold items placed in the mouth.
- Trauma: Fracturing or breaking teeth can often present the need for a root canal. If the nerve is exposed after trauma, root canals can alleviate pain and swelling associated with the traumatic incident. It’s important to check your teeth for fractures and small breakages after accidents- some fractures don’t present themselves right away and can cause major problems later on.
- Multiple Recent Dental Procedures: Undergoing multiple procedures to fix infected teeth or replace fillings can increase the likelihood that you’ll need a root canal. Multiple dental procedures decrease the integrity of the tooth and weaken it, allowing room for risk of complications and further infections.
The best way to avoid needing a root canal is proper dental care: brushing twice a day, flossing once, and regularly visiting your dentist twice a year as well as making sure to look into proper care after a traumatic accident.