emergency root canalIf you need an emergency root canal, you will probably suspect it. The symptoms include intense pain and inflammation, and often an abscess. An x-ray of the mouth will generally reveal whether a root canal is necessary. But is there anything that can be done to avoid an emergency root canal?

Root canals are performed when bacteria has entered a tooth through a cavity, chip, or a crack in a tooth’s enamel and compromised the nerves located inside the tooth. The bacteria causes an infection, and eventually kills the nerves. The root canal treatment itself involves hollowing out the tooth, cleaning out the infected and dead tissue, disinfecting the area, and adding an impermeable seal to try to prevent further infection.

When your teeth are still relatively healthy, there actually are several things you can do to avoid needing a root canal:

  1. Practice good dental hygiene. Regular brushing and flossing can prevent many serious dental issues, and root canal is among them.
  2. Avoid tooth trauma. Wearing a seat belt when driving and mouth guard when engaging in contact sports are two of the biggest ways to avoid tooth trauma. Keep your teeth in mind if you engage in basketball, baseball, hockey, roller skating, or any other sport where falls, accidents, and head trauma are common. If you do have an accident, see a dentist as soon as you can to address any small fractures in your teeth.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. Many modern dental problems relate to the fact that the modern diet is higher in processed foods, refined sugar and flour. A diet that includes a large proportion of fresh fruits and vegetables can help prevent an array of dental issues.
  4. Address bruxism. If you grind your teeth, talk to your dentist about getting fitted for a dental appliance to prevent damaging your teeth and allowing bacteria to enter.
  5. Get regular dental treatment. Visit your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning, dental exam, and x-rays as needed. If you have a cavity, get it filled as soon as possible. Look out for symptoms of disease, like discoloration, hot/cold sensitivity, or even a piece of the tooth breaking off.

If you do need an emergency root canal, it’s best to address it as soon as possible with a dentist experienced in root canal treatment. At Dental Associates, we understand the importance of getting your root canal pain addressed as quickly as possible, and we work with you to minimize the pain. Whether you suspect you need a root canal, or want to make sure you won’t need one, contact Dental Associates of West MI at 616-554-5970.

Photo: Justin Grimes

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