Even though root canals may have a bad reputation as a painful, dramatic procedure, the truth is that root canals are beneficial! They can help you find relief from painful toothaches, and they may help you avoid a tooth extraction. Because a root canal allows you to keep your natural tooth, you don’t have to worry about replacing a pulled tooth.
While there’s a time and place for root canals, Mehrnoosh Darj, DDS, knows that if you can avoid the need for a root canal, that’s even better! Here, we explain what you need to do in order to avoid a root canal, courtesy of the team at Dr. Darj Dental in El Paso, Texas.
When do you need a root canal?
Before identifying the ways to avoid a root canal, let’s first cover the situations that may warrant a root canal. A root canal is typically beneficial if your tooth is severely decayed or damaged and is at risk of being pulled. A root canal preserves your tooth so you can avoid an extraction.
Root canals can help preserve your tooth if:
- You have severe decay that a filling alone can’t address
- Bacteria have infiltrated and infected your tooth pulp through cracks in your tooth
- You’ve developed a periapical abscess in the soft pulp of the tooth
- You’ve suffered nerve damage in your tooth either by infection, decay, or trauma
In other words, any untreated cavity or dental injury that leads to an infection inside of your tooth can increase your need for a root canal.
Regardless of why you need a root canal, the general process is the same. Dr. Darj thoroughly cleans the inside of your tooth, removing any decayed or damaged pulp material, She then fills it with a material called gutta percha, a natural rubber substance derived from the tree Palaquium oblongifolia.
After Dr. Darj cleans, fills, and seals your tooth and its roots, we protect your tooth with a dental crown. In this way, a root canal can be a tooth-saving procedure!
How to prevent the need for a root canal
Even though root canals save you from a tooth extraction, it’s ideal to try and avoid the need for a root canal. The best way to do so is to reduce your risk of decay, damage, and infection. You can do this by:
- Flossing daily and brushing your teeth at least twice a day to reduce your risk of cavities
- Receiving regular dental exams and cleanings
- Wearing a mouthguard when playing sports to help prevent cracks that increase your risk of infection
- Getting cracks fixed as soon as notice them
- Addressing decay — even a small cavity — promptly to avoid the risk that the decay spreads deeper into your tooth
- Treating infections as soon as you spot the signs of one
Signs of infection include toothache, sore gums, a bump on your gums, bad breath, and throbbing pain. Sometimes, infections can be treated with antibiotics alone, but if the infection is severe, you may need a root canal. In either case, it’s best not to postpone dental care if you suspect you have an infection brewing.
If you need urgent dental care for a toothache, infection, or dental trauma, give us a call at 915-213-4097. We prioritize our patients with urgent dental cases and reserve same-day appointments for such issues. If you need a root canal, cleaning, or another dental service, you can call our office or request an appointment online.