In my experience, there are two words which scare people more than any others in the English language.
No, it’s not “federal taxes” or “please hold,” although those are pretty frightening in their own ways.
For our purposes, the dreaded duo is “root canal.”
But it doesn’t have to be. There are a lot of myths out there about what a root canal is or isn’t. And what you don’t know can have a way of making something worse than it actually is.
In the most basic terms, a root canal procedure is a simple process that can save a damaged or infected tooth by treating the interior, cleaning the area underneath the tooth, and closing it back up.
What you don’t know is that it is no more painful than getting a filling done, but that doesn’t stop people from spreading stories about it like it was some adult version of the Boogeyman.
Beyond the mythbusting, however, there’s a more important point I want to make which might shock you, especially coming from a dentist, and that is: It’s entirely possible to avoid a root canal in the first place.
How can I avoid a root canal?
By being your own dental advocate, you will prevent the problems that can lead to a decaying tooth (and thus a root canal) in a variety of simple but effective ways.
We’ll start with the obvious one: Brush and floss multiple times daily, preferably after a meal or twice a day. Every time you do that, you prevent bacteria from setting up shop in your mouth and starting you down a path that could result in a root canal.
And every little bit counts!
Here’s a list of other tips and tricks of my trade that I’ll share with you to keep tooth decay and root canals at bay.
Regular check-ups. Again, this might seem obvious, but as USA Today has reported, an estimated 34% of Americans fail to see a dentist for an annual check-up. That means 1 in 3 of us aren’t taking a simple and painless preventative step that can catch problems before they become problems. The longer you wait to see me is like playing Russian roulette with your smile. It’s not a game worth playing.
Insist on X-rays. While you’re with us for your annual checkup, make sure to get an X-ray even if you think everything is fine. Not only will it build a record of how your smile evolves over time, it can allow us to catch infections and potentially unseen damage while they’re still in their infancy, before symptoms erupt.
By then, your only options will be reactive. We want you to have a proactive mindset when it comes to monitoring the health of your smile. It’ll save you time and pain in the future.
Tackle Molehills, Not Mountains. If you know you’ve got tooth pain but are too afraid to come in out of fear that the solution will be a ghastly surgery, it’s guaranteed that whatever the cause may be, it will only fester the longer you wait.
And who knows? Just because you’re in pain doesn’t mean the problem will require a root canal or an extraction. By letting us treat any kind of pain in its early stages, no matter how small, you’re saved from having to treat it when it’s bigger, badder, and more costly to you.
See Us After Any Dental Injury. If you’ve been in an accident (and we’re sorry if that’s the case), you may not realize that even those physical traumas which you can walk away from without a scratch could have damaged the integrity of your smile.
You may have injured a tooth or set of teeth, and everything might appear fine to you, at first and second glance. Looks can be deceiving, however, and you should come to us for a quick examination to prevent silent problems like tooth nerve damage from taking root.
Prevention is Your Ally
If you follow these simple steps, it’s virtually impossible for your teeth to ever be in a position where they would need a root canal.
But you can’t do it all by yourself. My staff and I are ready and waiting to help you keep your smile intact.