If you’re like a lot of people and picturing yourself getting a root canal makes you want to hide under your bed— you’re definitely not alone. In fact, we’ve been in business for more than 30 years and we’ve never met one person who has “get a root canal” on their bucket list.
But guess what: The pain from a root canal comes from the infection in the tooth, not the treatment. Moreover, the pain stops when the infection is removed!
Of course, like most things it’s just better to prevent the tooth from even getting infected in the first place.
4 Ways to Prevent an Infected Tooth
If you’re hoping for some strange concoction of random ingredients you might find in your house, then sorry to disappoint! Because the HTGT is that if you truly want to prevent any of your teeth from becoming infected then it’s really about your ability to follow instructions and take action at the right times. So let’s dive in!
#1 Your Home-Care Routine
Do you brush your pearly whites at least twice a day and floss every day? Well, that is the first step in making sure that bacteria doesn’t build up and begin to harm your tooth enamel and gums. Our team highly recommends tools that make the job easy for you like using a Sonicare toothbrush and Hydrofloss! Dr. Powell is also happy to prescribe a fluoride toothpaste, like Fluoridex, to help aid in cavity prevention.
#2 Come See Us When We Tell You To See Us
There’s a reason you’re supposed to see the dentist annually for an exam and radiographs, in addition to having your teeth cleaned at the recommended intervals by the hygienist. And it’s because it’s the best way to catch things early before they turn into infected gums or an infected tooth!
When you come to see us, we can detect cavities early using our digital x-rays & Soprolife cameras to find and treat tooth decay before the damage becomes extensive. It’s imperative that our hygienist removes plaque and any hardened plaque (tartar) buildup on your teeth, as well as under the gum line. Our hygienist can even reduce bacterial buildup by using special tools such as a laser-bacterial reduction. You even get bonus points when you end the visit with an anti-cavity fluoride treatment after your cleaning because that strengthens tooth enamel and can aid in reversing cavities.
In addition to catching things early-on it’s also super important to treat cavities when they’re found. Because you see, you don’t actually start feeling pain until the bacteria has gotten deep inside the tooth. A root canal becomes necessary when a cavity has been allowed to progress.
#3 Choose To Eat Tooth-Strengthening Foods
What you eat can obviously impact your overall health & energy levels, but it also affects your teeth. So choose to eat foods that help remineralize your teeth – cheese, yogurt, leafy greens, apples, carrots, celery and almonds. While staying away from acidic, sugary, starchy foods and drinks that demineralize the enamel – sour candies, bread, alcohol, carbonated drinks, citrus, potato chips and dried fruits.
#4 Embrace Your Inner Nerd
There have been a lot of advancements when it comes to dentistry and improving your health, so why not take advantage of all those advancements have to offer you?! Here’s some of the latest advancements that we provide at our dental office in Palmdale, CA:
- Perio Protect (non-surgical treatment for gum disease)
- Laser Bacterial Reduction
- Orthotics / Occlusal Guards (prevent enamel damage from teeth grinding)
What Happens If You Missed The Boat on Prevention?
First of all, even if you missed the boat and ended up needing a root canal that doesn’t mean that you can’t take preventative measures now to protect the rest of your teeth. So don’t lose hope! Instead take action!
If you need a root canal, then that means you’ve got an infected tooth. The pulp — the innermost layer of the tooth, the living tissue and cells which house the nerves and blood vessels which keep your teeth healthy and alive —is injured or diseased to the point of infection.
So if you have tooth pain and swelling, this tells us that the tooth likely needs immediate treatment to relieve the infection and the pain. You might also have symptoms like fever, feeling poorly, swollen lymph nodes, bad breath, or a yucky taste in the mouth. The frequency and intensity of the pain also tell you that your tooth is in trouble.
Symptoms of an infected tooth you won’t want to ignore:
- Discoloration of the tooth
- Tooth pain or pain on one side of your face
- Chronic tooth sensitivity to temperature
- Ongoing tenderness in the tooth or nearby bone and gum tissue
If this sounds all too familiar, the good news is having a a root canal allows Dr. Powell to take out the infected pulp from the tooth, usually in one to two visits after surveying the damage with digital X-rays.
What to Expect During a Root Canal Treatment
We’ve been around long enough to know that people not wanting to get a root canal is often because they have fear. The good news is we fear what we don’t understand, but you can understand what happens during root canal treatment. Which means that we might be able to ease some of that anxiety right now.
At Exceptional Dentistry, you can be assured that our Root Canal Treatment is relatively painless, thanks to the following:
- Our team’s experience & skill using advanced techniques and technology
- The cutting-edge tools Dr. Powell uses
- The latest in anesthesia techniques to provide comfort
And even if we decide to refer you out to a root canal specialist (aka an endodontist), we only refer to the best of the best. So you can always rest assured that you’ll be in good hands.
The process itself, when in an experts hands, is actually relatively straight forward. First, a local anesthetic is used to numb the infected tooth. Then the dentist or assistant will place dental dam or protective sheet to isolate the tooth from germs and saliva.
The next step is to make a small opening in the crown (aka top of your tooth), which creates a point of access to the inner chamber of the tooth. Using tiny instruments the dentist will clean out the decay and diseased in the pulp tissue.
Once the dentist has the inside of your tooth nice and clean, they’ll fill the inner chamber with medicine to be sure all those mischievous bacteria dudes go away for good. And they’ll place a temporary material at the top of the tooth while the medicine works it’s magic.
And that’s all for the first visit, but you might be prescribed antibiotics after this visit.
Then in about two weeks you’ll return for a checkup to make sure that the infection is completely gone. If it is then the final step is to get the permanent restoration (like a crown or onlay) which will seal up the tooth and help keep it protected from getting an infection again. Of course, this is where you come in and do your part by following the four steps to prevent an infected tooth.
Of course, if you want to be as proactive as we are when it comes to your oral health, there are things you can do to prevent a root canal in the first place, and it’s actually pretty easy — 4 simple steps kind of easy. Remember: do your part at home, see us when we tell you to, fix your teeth quickly, and take advantage of preventative treatments.
As you can see, when it comes to your teeth, prevention is worth a pound of cure!
If you do have symptoms of an infected tooth, we urge you to take action as soon as possible. With a root canal, it’s easier than you think to get the relief you need. To learn more about root canal treatment in Palmdale, California, please call call (661) 349-772 or book your preventative visit online right now.