A root canal treatment, or simply root canal, is a dental procedure that has become somewhat of an intimidating procedure for many people. This notorious reputation of root canal surgery may have something to do with the multiple appointments involved and the typical root canal pain.
Who Needs a Root Canal?
The dental pulp is the core of a tooth that contains pretty much every vital structure that a tooth needs to survive. It’s where you’ll find all the nerves and blood vessels of a tooth. When the dental pulp is injured or compromised in some way, that’s when you might just need a root canal treatment.
The pulp can become damaged in several ways. Tooth decay is the commonest insult to the pulp. When your oral health is below par, plaque can start to build up around your teeth and gums. This can also cause the tooth to decay and cavities in the enamel to form.
Once a cavity is formed, bacteria and other toxins can penetrate deep inside the dental pulp where further damage can ensue Is there any pain associated with this. A particularly large cavity can also cause tooth pain. Infections of the dental pulp can occur, necessitating a root canal.
How Do You Know If The Pulp Is Damaged?
The most predominant symptom of a damaged dental pulp is pain. This occurs because of the underlying nerve injury. However, if nerves completely become damaged, you may not feel any sensation in your tooth at all.
If you feel deep, pressure pain in a tooth or, on the contrary, complete loss of all sensations in the area, you may need a root canal surgery done.
How Is Pulp Damage Diagnosed At The Dentist’s Office?
After a complete history and oral cavity examination, your dentist will likely take dental X-rays to confirm the diagnosis. Sometimes a special tool called the electric pulp tester is also used to make the definitive diagnosis of dental pulp injury.
What Is Root Canal Surgery?
Root canal treatment is the standard surgical procedure that is done when your dental pulp becomes compromised. There are several approaches to this procedure and it largely depends on your orthodontist and your individual oral health which approach will suit you best.
Typically, the dental surgeon will remove all the dead and infected tissues from the chamber of the dental pulp. Warm saline will then be used to irrigate and clean out any remaining debris. The final step is to place a special filling (called the gutta-percha) into the chamber or canal. A dental crown can then be placed over the tooth to seal it; however, this step can be done in the subsequent appointments.
Root canal treatment is a simple procedure that is performed under local anaesthesia. This means you won’t be feeling any pain during the entire procedure. However, you could feel some discomfort after a few hours to a few days.
Usually, a follow-up appointment is advised to note the success of the filling and treatment.
What Happens After Surgery?
Root canal has earned a terrifying reputation because of the root canal pain that some people describe to have after surgery. Rest assured, this is just a mild discomfort that will go away on its own after a couple of days.
Your dentist may also prescribe simple analgesics to relieve some of that pain. You should also stick to soft food diets and clear liquids for the first few days after surgery.
If you happen to feel too much discomfort, it’s a good idea to get it checked by your dentist as soon as you can.
How Can You Avoid Root Canal Surgery?
The only way to avoid this apparently notorious surgery is by preventing dental pulp damage. This can only be possible if you take good care of your oral health and hygiene.
Here are some key tips to prevent pulp damage and infection:
#1: Stick to an oral hygiene routine
People who perform their good oral hygiene practices in a routine usually have better oral health overall. The standard (or bare minimum) routine that you should follow is brushing at least twice a day, flossing at least once a day, rinsing with the best mouthwash at least once a day, and visiting your dentist for professional cleaning/scaling at least twice a year.
#2: Make sure you’re brushing properly
Even if you’re brushing twice a day, you may not be doing it right to get the benefits.
The first step is to select your toothbrush wisely. Consider one with soft bristles or an electric toothbrush.
You should also brush your teeth for at least 3 minutes in proper motion.
#3: Choose your toothpaste wisely
Fluoride toothpaste can help prevent dental caries and decay. If you want to keep your dental pulp protected, make sure the toothpaste you’re using has fluoride in it.
#4: Floss away
Flossing should be done at least once a day but if you want the best results for your oral hygiene, floss after every meal. Flossing is what will get the stubborn pieces of food residue out from your teeth and prevent plaque from building up.
A good oral mouthwash can go a long way. Mouthwash can help to reduce the bacterial population in your mouth, prevent tooth decay and protect your dental pulp. Add a mouth rinse to your oral hygiene routine to keep yourself secure from root canal treatment.
#6: Make some important lifestyle changes
Watch what’s on your plate if you want to keep your teeth and dental pulp healthy. Include more greens and natural foods in your diet, and cut out the processed carbs and sugars. You should also limit your intake of acidic foods that can have a direct damaging effect on the tooth enamel.
Tobacco smoking is another damaging habit that can put your dental pulp in danger. You’d want to avoid cigarettes if you wish to avoid root canal surgery!