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You’re in a dental chair when your dentist tells you that you need a root canal procedure. Your heart sinks, and you wonder how this could have been prevented.
The truth is, undergoing a root canal procedure likely isn’t on your list of favorite things to do. However, you can take steps to avoid having to go through them in the future or source for reliable dentists like https://www.theuniondental.com/dentist-marlborough for a smooth procedure.
Here’s a rundown on what causes root canals and how to avoid needing root canal therapy long-term.
Let’s get started!
What Is a Root Canal?
Root canal treatment is necessary for your tooth when bacteria reaches the interior area of the tooth.
Beneath your tooth’s hard surface, you have soft tissues that contain connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerves. These nerves and tissues, called the pulp, help to keep your tooth alive.
Your pulp, however, may become infected or inflamed as a result of cavities, a tooth injury, or chips/cracks.
If a root canal dentist doesn’t treat this infection or inflammation, this can cause you a significant amount of pain. In fact, you might even develop an abscess, which may require extra surgery.
Some indicators that a tooth has been infected include the following:
- Tooth pain
- Pain on the side of your face
- Tenderness to chewing or touch
- Prolonged cold or heat sensitivity
- Discoloration of your tooth
- Tenderness of nearby gum tissue and bone
- Lymph node tenderness
The purpose of root canal therapy is to protect your seriously infected or badly decayed tooth by removing the pulp and nerve from the tooth. Then, the dentist will seal your tooth shut.
The treatment will essentially leave your tooth protected from future decay. And don’t worry — losing your tooth’s nerves isn’t a bad thing. The nerves only provide cold and hot sensations, so your tooth can function with them.
What Causes Root Canals? Not Brushing and Flossing
One of the biggest causes of root canals is failure to regularly floss and brush.
It’s paramount that you brush twice a day. Why? Because brushing helps to prevent bacterial biofilm from developing.
Biofilm is a collection of microorganisms that grown on your tooth’s surface. This biofilm can quickly turn into plaque if not removed with a toothbrush. Flossing also plays an important role in removing biofilm from areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush.
Not Going to the Dentist
You may find it challenging to visit the dentist due to fear or lack of time. However, the right dental office will make the dental visit process easier for you.
It’s critical that you go to the dentist regularly — at least twice a year. That’s because they’ll spot any early indicators of dental issues, such as infections that you may not be able to spot by yourself.
For instance, your dentist may be able to spot a crack in your tooth and fix it before it becomes a bigger problem requiring root canal therapy.
Having Gum Disease
If you don’t brush, floss, and visit the dentist frequently enough, you may end up with gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease. And if this isn’t corrected, this can become periodontal disease.
The latter disease is an infection process that happens over the long term. It unfortunately attacks the tissues that supply blood to, support, and bind your teeth.
Signs that you are battling periodontal disease include gum discoloration and bleeding. If you don’t get this problem treated, this can eventually harm your teeth, thus requiring you to undergo root canal therapy.
Eating the Wrong Foods
As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid foods that are hard, like lollipops and hard candies.
These types of sugary snack foods can cause cracks to form in your teeth. And the cracks may permit bacteria to get into your teeth’s root systems.
Eventually, you may start to experience tooth decay, in which case root canal therapy may be unavoidable months or even years later.
Drinking Beverages That Are Acidic
If you want to avoid having to undergo root canal therapy, it’s best to also limit how many acidic drinks you consume on a regular basis.
For instance, try to limit your intake of citrus juices and soda. The problem with these beverages is that they break down your tooth enamel, or the hard substance covering the tooth. Then, they cover the tooth with sugar, which bacteria are happy to consume.
Chomping on Ice
To avoid experiencing tooth decay, you should also try to avoid chewing on ice.
Eating ice chips may seem cool and refreshing on a hot day. But the ice can fracture, break, or crack your tooth or tooth filling. As soon as this happens, bacteria can easily reach your tooth’s nerve and cause you to need root canal therapy.
Not Wearing Mouth Guards
Finally, be sure to wear mouth guards when playing sports. Likewise, wear a mouth guard when you’re sleeping if you have a tendency to grind your teeth.
Mouth guards protect your teeth’s surfaces from fractures that might eventually expose the roots of your tooth. In this situation, you can expect to have to undergo root canal therapy.
How We Can Help
In addition to explaining what causes root canals, we offer other tips related to many other health matters.
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