- June 13, 2016
Very few people look forward to root canals. They’re aren’t painful — that’s a myth. With local anesthetic, most patients don’t have any discomfort during the treatment. But they’re still a dental treatment that you can avoid.
What Is A Root Canal?
Why would anyone need a root canal in the first place? Two reasons: infection or inflammation of the pulp.
Inside of your tooth is dental pulp. It’s full of nerve endings and blood vessels. Essentially, it’s the living part of your tooth. It can get infected by the same bacteria behind tooth decay and gum disease. If your tooth gets cracked, or if a cavity gets too deep, these bacteria take home in your pulp. This can be very painful since the pulp is home to all of your tooth’s nerve endings.
It’s not just infection that could require a root canal. Dental pulp can be inflamed due to an accident. Sometimes, having a bad injury to the tooth will hurt the pulp as well. It swells and becomes inflamed, which is still very painful.
In both cases, the only way to help is to remove the damaged or infected pulp. Here’s how it works.
- We clean your tooth and give you a local anesthetic.
- One of our dentists will make a small hole in the tooth’s enamel to reach the pulp.
- Using special tools, he then carefully removes the pulp causing the problem. (If you have an infection, he’ll get rid of the infected part. If it’s inflamed, he removes the inflamed part.)
- Any space in the tooth is filled with gutta-percha, a rubber-like substance that will help keep the tooth strong.
- Finally, our dentists will cover your tooth with a dental crown. This keeps the pulp sealed and protected while making the tooth even stronger.
How You Can Avoid Having One
The key to preventing the infection that needs a root canal is cleanliness. The more you keep on top of dental hygiene, the more you’ll keep bacteria under control. This makes it less likely that you’ll need a root canal. But how do you do that exactly?
- Come into our Nashua, NH dental office every six months like clockwork. At a regular appointment, our team will thoroughly clean your teeth. This helps control any harmful bacteria that could infect your teeth. We can also take digital X-rays to spot signs of inflamed or infected pulp while the problem is small.
- Brush and floss regularly. Along the same lines, you need to take care of your dental health at home every day. Brush and floss regularly to help get rid of food particles left behind in your mouth. This takes away the food bacteria need to thrive, which reduces the chances that they can infect your teeth. (It also does wonders for preventing cavities and gum disease as well!)
- Visit us immediately after getting an injury to the face or jaw. Dental pulp can get irritated and inflamed after an injury. This can happen even if you don’t feel pain or you think the injury was no big deal. The only way to make sure the pulp is not hurt is through a digital X-ray.
- Wear an athletic mouthguard: Protecting your teeth from injury is a great way to prevent pulp inflammation. Mouthguards are like helmets for your teeth. If you get an injury, it helps prevent damage and stress from penetrating your enamel.
- Take care of cavities when they are small. One of the ways bacteria can infect your pulp is by a cavity that breaks through to it. That lets bacteria causing the tooth decay infect your pulp. By getting cavities repaired early enough, you can prevent that from happening.
What To Do If You Must Have One
The only real alternative to root canals are tooth extractions. Yes, that means removing your tooth. We always want to save your natural teeth. If an infected or inflamed tooth is not healed with a root canal, then the tooth has to come out. Otherwise, it will keep hurting you and eventually die.
If you need a root canal, there’s no need to worry. The dentists at our Nashua, NH dental office are highly trained and experienced. They know how to do root canals quickly, safely, and accurately. Root canals are no more painful than getting a filling. In fact, the real pain comes from having an infected or inflamed tooth in your mouth.
If you have any questions about root canals or think you might need one, call us today at 603-546-7460 for a new appointment.