With the 10th Annual Root Canal Awareness Week just around the corner, let’s tackle the two words most hope to never hear from a dentist: root canal. A recent survey from the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) showed that 67% of people surveyed said pain was the most concerning part of a root canal treatment. Although root canals are often believed to be a traumatic procedure, when done with modern techniques from a trained dentist, getting a root canal can be fairly painless and easy. The AAE, along with your family dentist in Valencia, wants to raise awareness of root canal treatments and how proper dental hygiene can prevent needing them.
What is a root canal?
The tooth is composed of many different parts that play different roles in your dental health. The enamel is the pearly part of the tooth we all try so hard to keep white. Just under that is the dentin, which is a pathway for plaque to get from the enamel to the pulp. The pulp holds and protects your teeth’s roots. When the roots become infected or inflamed, a root canal may be necessary. Through preliminary x-rays, your dentist will identify the depth of your cavity and decipher based on the extent of the damage if you will need a filling or a root canal.
After the use of a local anesthetic, your dentist will use a special dental tool to disinfect, remove, and clean out the infected pulp. The cleared root canal will then be filled with a rubber compound and sealed with a cementing paste. The process is finished out with a filling or a crown to protect from further infection and restore the tooth to a healthy state. This root canal process saves the natural tooth instead of needing to remove a decayed tooth and replacing it with a dental implant.
How do I prevent a root canal?
Like most dental procedures, root canal can usually be prevented by taking pride in your oral health. Following the tips below and making regular trips to your Valencia dentist will help keep your teeth healthy:
- Maintain a low-acid and low-sugar diet. When the natural bacteria, plaque, that lives on your teeth is combined with any carbohydrate, an acid is released and will begin eating at your enamel.
- Brush and floss your teeth 2-3 times a day, particularly after every meal. Don’t give any residual carbohydrates the chance to start the decay process!
- If you are involved in any contact sports or activities, make sure you wear a protective mouth guard. Trauma to teeth can lead to a weakened tooth structure making it more susceptible to infection.
- Visit your friendly Valencia dentist every 6 months for a check-up and cleaning. This will pre-emptively identify any cavities that could potentially turn into needing a root canal.