No one hears the term “root canal” and jumps for joy. While it’s true that root canal therapy is not nearly as painful as people might think, it’s still an important restorative dentistry treatment. At our Rochester, MN dental office, we’re always happy to see you — but we also want you to have great dental health. If there’s a way you can avoid needing root canal therapy, you should take it.
Why People Need Root Canal Therapy
Your mouth is home to harmful bacteria. When they live on the surface of your teeth, they corrode the enamel. These holes or cavities need to be filled or covered with a dental crown. Otherwise, they’ll continue to get worse. But since enamel has no nerve endings, you can have a bad cavity without realizing it. Even if it does cause some discomfort, it’s often intermittent. That means you can easily ignore it since it comes and goes.
If the cavity gets deep enough, it can break through to the dental pulp. This is where all of your tooth’s nerve endings and blood vessels are found. Since the cavity is caused by harmful bacteria, this breakthrough allows bacteria to infect your dental pulp. What was once an occasionally painful thing quickly turns into a chronic, severe toothache since that’s there the nerve endings are. Worse, this infection in your tooth’s pulp can destroy the tooth. Without getting root canal therapy, your tooth will most likely need to be extracted.
Your dental pulp can also get damaged by a powerful blow to the teeth. A bad biking accident or taking a ball to the face might not leave any permanent damage, but the force can penetrate your teeth and hurt the pulp. This inflamed pulp acts just like infected pulp.
Root Canal Therapy Explained
Restorative dentistry is about restoring your teeth back to a healthy, functional state. That’s exactly what root canal therapy does. Here’s what happens during this restorative dentistry treatment.
– Digital X-rays are taken so our team can spot the infection in your dental pulp.
– The area is cleaned and numbed with a local anesthetic.
– One of our dentists will carefully make a small opening in your tooth. This is done so we can reach the infected dental pulp.
– Using special tools, the infected or inflamed pulp is gently removed. This gets rid of the infection. The canals (the tunnels inside your tooth’s roots) are usually cleaned out as well.
– An inert, rubber-like material called gutta-percha is usually placed in the tooth. This gives your tooth the same strength as before any pulp was removed.
– Finally, our dentists will seal up your tooth with a dental crown to make sure bacteria cannot reinfect your tooth through that opening.
Tips On Not Needing Root Canal Therapy
As you can see, root canal therapy can help save your teeth. Prevention is often better than reaction, so here’s a few tips on how to avoid needing root canal therapy in the first place.
1. Keep your mouth clean with regular brushing and flossing. The bacteria that can infect your tooth need food particles to survive. These are left behind after you eat and drink. Brushing and flossing regularly will help get rid of those food particles, keeping those bacteria in check.
2. Visit our Rochester, MN every six months for dental exams and dental cleanings. Unless you have the specialized training and tools of a dentist, you can only keep your teeth so clean. Plaque and tartar can build up even if you brush and floss regularly. That’s why visiting our office every six months is important. Our dental hygienists can help get your teeth professionally clean.
That’s only half of the reason, though. Our dentists will give your mouth a thorough exam. By spotting cavities and gum disease early, you can get the bacteria there under control before they have a chance to get inside one of your teeth.
3. Get any cavities repaired with fillings or dental crowns as soon as you know they exist. Again, one of the ways bacteria get into your teeth is through a deep cavity. Regular dental exams with our dentists will definitely help, as will cleaning your teeth. If you feel any pain or discomfort with a tooth, even if it comes and goes, please come into our office so we can look at it. Fillings and dental crowns are great ways to repair cavities to avoid needing root canal therapy.
4. Call our office if you have any injury to the face. Trauma to your teeth can inflame the pulp and require root canal therapy just like a bacterial infection. If you get into an accident and hurt your teeth, call us as soon as you can.
Root canal therapy is a routine dental restoration these days. It’s no more painful than getting a cavity filled, but it can save your tooth. If you are worried you might need root canal therapy, call us today at 507-315-2932.