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How to Avoid Root Canal

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A woman holding her jaw with her left hand as she suffers severe pain due to tooth infection

Root canal treatments have a bad reputation as a painful procedure and are one of the most dreaded dental treatments. It treats the infected pulp of a tooth and is often a last resort for saving a tooth that would otherwise need to be removed.

While root canal treatments can be beneficial when necessary, it is better to avoid the need for this procedure altogether. You can prevent the need for a root canal treatment by caring for your oral hygiene, eating a healthy diet, visiting your dentist for regular exams, and not delaying treatment for oral health problems. With the proper care, it is possible to prevent many of the conditions that require root canal treatment.

What Is a Root Canal & What Is It For?

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that involves removing infected or damaged tissue from the inside of a tooth, known as the pulp. The pulp contains the nerves and blood vessels that help keep the tooth alive, but if it becomes infected or damaged, it can cause significant pain and even lead to tooth loss.

During a root canal treatment, the infected or damaged pulp is removed, and the inside of the tooth is cleaned, disinfected, and filled with a material called gutta percha to prevent further infection. Once the root canal procedure is complete, the tooth is considered dead, so you will not feel pain and discomfort.

When Do You Need a Root Canal?

Root canal treatment is typically necessary when a tooth infection has progressed past the outer layers of the tooth, causing hallmark symptoms like:

  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Discolouration
  • Swollen gums
  • Pain from chewing and pressure
  • Loosened tooth

This can occur due to deep decay, cracks, chips, or trauma to the tooth. If left untreated, the infection can spread, leading to more severe health complications beyond dental pain and discomfort.

By performing a root canal treatment, your dentist can effectively treat the infection and prevent further complications.

What to Expect in a Root Canal Procedure

First, your dentist will numb the affected area to prevent you from feeling discomfort during the procedure. Then, your dental team will:

  • Remove bacteria and decay from inside the tooth
  • Disinfect the canal with antibiotics
  • Fill the empty roots
  • Seal the area

While root canals may have gotten a bad reputation, advances in dental technology and techniques have made the procedure much more comfortable and efficient. Many patients report very little pain or discomfort during or after the procedure, and most can resume normal activities shortly after.

Depending on the state of the tooth, you may require more treatments, including crowns, to strengthen the tooth structure.

Preventing Root Canals

Caring for your health and teeth can help you avoid invasive, uncomfortable procedures like root canal treatments.

Brush & Floss Regularly

The most crucial step in preventing any dental issue is regular brushing and flossing. By brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once, you can remove the plaque and bacteria that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. When these conditions are left untreated, they can cause enough damage to the tooth that root canal treatment may be necessary.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Regular dental checkups are an essential part of maintaining good oral health. Visiting your dentist every 6 months for a cleaning allows your dental team to identify and treat potential issues before they become significant problems.

During these visits, your hygienist can clean your teeth, remove plaque and tartar buildup that cannot be removed by brushing and flossing alone, and take X-rays to assess signs of issues that may not be visible on the surface.

Eat a Healthy Diet

What you eat can also affect your dental health. A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates can contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Eating a balanced diet can help keep your teeth strong and healthy. Pack your diet with foods such as:

  • Dairy
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Salads with leafy greens

Additionally, drinking plenty of water can help prevent dry mouth, which can also contribute to dental problems. 

Address Dental Issues Promptly

If you experience any dental problems, such as a toothache or sensitivity, it is essential to address them promptly. Ignoring dental issues can cause the situation to worsen and potentially lead to the need for root canal treatment.

If you notice any changes or symptoms in your teeth or gums, schedule an appointment with your dentist.

A man smiling with his female dentist, giving a thumbs up while in the dental chair

Seek Dental Care Before You Need a Root Canal

Regular dental checkups, good oral hygiene habits, a healthy diet, and prompt treatment of dental issues are all essential for maintaining good dental health and avoiding root canal treatment. Prevention is always better than treatment, so take care of your teeth to preserve your natural smile.

Schedule your cleaning and exam at Kensington Dental Care—with the right care and attention, you can keep your smile healthy and bright.

Written by Dr. Geoff Van Blaricom

Dr. Geoff Van Blaricom has been practicing Dentistry for over 30 years. He is a member of the Canadian Dental Association, Alberta Dental Association and College as well as the American Dental Association.

More Articles By Dr. Geoff Van Blaricom

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  • Calgary, AB T2N 1V8


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