Taking care of your teeth and regularly visiting a dentist for checkups is important for keeping gums healthy and avoiding pain or tooth decay.
You never want to have to go in for a root canal. If it does get to that point, it’s time to see Dr. Tracy Chan, a root canal specialist here at Marina Dental Care in San Francisco. Her skilled team offers pain relief from infected teeth while preserving your natural tooth structure whenever possible.
But why wait till it gets that bad? Dr. Chan provides comprehensive checkups and tips for keeping your teeth healthy so you’ll never have to call to make that appointment. Here’s what you need to know about root canals and how to prevent them.
What is a root canal?
When you hear “root canal,” you think of the treatment. But it’s also the name of a part of your tooth.
Inside each tooth are root canals filled with pulp. The pulp is made from your nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. Root canals are responsible for connecting the pulp of your tooth to the blood vessels and nerves in your jaw.
Tooth decay or a tooth fracture can damage the pulp inside your root canal. The pulp becomes inflamed and sometimes infected and damaged. This can make your tooth very sensitive and painful. The damaged pulp must be removed, and root canal treatment is the only way to clear the infection away.
What is root canal treatment?
Since the infected pulp can’t be repaired, it has to be replaced with root canal treatment. In this procedure, Dr. Chan drills a small hole into the infected tooth so she can access the pulp chamber.
Then, she removes all of the infected pulp, and flushes out the root canals with a special solution to remove any remaining infection or debris. After that, she fills the canals and pulp chamber with a biocompatible material, saving the structure of your tooth.
How can I avoid having root canals?
Regular dental checkups and daily maintenance are the best, most effective ways to safeguard your mouth against tooth decay and oral infections.
Here are some other ways to prevent the need for root canal treatment.
Brush and floss
Taking daily care of your mouth is essential in preventing a root canal. On the recommendation of The American Dental Association (ADA), you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day.
This is the most effective way to prevent inflammation and infection in your teeth. Use a soft-bristled brush and gently massage your gums when you brush. If you use stiff bristles or if you brush too vigorously, you could damage enamel, giving bacteria easier access to teeth.
Make good dietary choices
Sugary drinks and foods create excess bacteria in your mouth that can be hard to remove with regular flossing and brushing. When bacteria settle onto your tooth, that’s when tooth decay begins. Stick with fresh fruits and veggies instead of reaching for a sugary snack.
Saliva’s job is to remove harmful bacteria and protect your teeth. This is why healthy saliva production is so important. The easiest way to prevent dry mouth is to drink enough water every day. Even sipping water throughout the day will help keep your mouth free from harmful bacteria that clings to your teeth.
Don’t forget your tongue
Plaque is the film that develops when bacteria isn’t removed from your teeth. But plaque also sticks around on your tongue if you don’t remove it properly. The easiest way to do that is to gently brush your tongue whenever you brush your teeth.
Start healthy habits now
How long has it been since your last checkup? If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain, don’t wait until it gets so bad that you have to schedule a root canal treatment. Call Dr. Chan and her team of dental experts at 415-440-9000 or use our convenient online scheduling tool.