You’ve likely heard stories about root canals before – painful, scary dental procedures meant to save infected teeth. However, while root canals are a standard method of relieving tooth pain and treating infections, they don’t necessarily deserve their bad reputation. In reality, root canals make you feel better, not worse. And, they often involve little more dental work than it takes to fill a cavity. In this blog, we’ll discuss what a root canal is, the signs you may need one, and how to prevent having one in the future.
What Is a Root Canal and How Is It Done?
In the deepest layer of our teeth, under the enamel and protective layer of dentin, lies a soft tissue called the pulp, which contains the nerves and blood vessels. Under poor conditions, such as when a cavity is left untreated, the pulp may become infected. When this decay is left untreated, the infection can spread to the gums and even lead to tooth loss.
A root canal is a dental procedure used to restore an infected or severely decayed tooth by removing the damaged pulp and sealing it after filling the pulp cavity. Essentially, the ultimate goal of a root canal is to prevent tooth extraction. Many people believe root canals are some of the most painful dental procedures. However, they’re actually no more painful than a typical filling.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
Root canals are required when the pulp within a tooth is severely inflamed or infected. The most common reason for this kind of deep decay is an untreated cavity or improper dental hygiene. However, a traumatic tooth injury may also cause pulp damage. While there may not be any signs that you have a tooth or gum infection, there are many symptoms of severe decay that could indicate the need for a root canal, including:
• Dark spots or discoloration of the tooth
• Severe tooth pain that does not go away
• A pimple-like bump on the gums
• Heat or cold sensitivity
• Swelling and irritation of the gums
• Sharp pain while chewing or biting
• Cracked or chipped teeth
• Loose teeth
• A swollen jaw
How to Avoid Needing a Root Canal
You can avoid most dental issues by maintaining a healthy oral hygiene routine. Most importantly, ensure that you’re brushing your teeth and flossing at least twice daily to keep a healthy smile.
Sugary foods and drinks, such as sodas and sticky candies, should also be limited to prevent tooth decay. Finally, it’s important to avoid chewing on extremely hard foods, like ice, as doing so may crack your teeth and make them more susceptible to infections.
Maintain Your Oral Health with Regular Dental Visits
The best way to keep your smile bright and healthy is to stay on track with your routine cleanings and professional exams. At 38th Modern Dental, we specialize in providing comprehensive dental care and helping our patients achieve the smile they’ve always dreamed of. If you’re experiencing tooth pain or believe you might need root canal treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment.