Saving a Tooth From a Root Canal – What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a common dental procedure that involves replacing decaying and infected dental pulp inside a tooth. After the diseased pulp has been extracted, the interior of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. According to the American Association of Endodontists, over 15 million root canals are done each year. The procedure is often thought to be very painful, but many people describe the discomfort they experience prior to a root canal as much worse.

Why Would I Need a Root Canal?

There are several situations that can make root canals a good option. A primary one is a tooth that becomes decayed due to a poor diet and inadequate dental hygiene. If you are hit in the mouth, sometimes impacted teeth begin to die and a root canal can be one of the options your dentist proposes. Some signs a root canal may be needed include tooth pain and sensitivity. Tooth discoloration, and swelling and irritation in the gums are also symptoms.

Preventative Measures

The best way to avoid a root cancel is to take good care of your teeth. This includes proper dental hygiene including daily brushing and flossing, and regular dental appointments. Eating a healthy diet and avoiding sugar will help prevent tooth decay. If you participate in contact sports, try to wear a mouth guard so your teeth do not get unnecessarily damaged.

Alternatives to a Root Canal

For many people getting a root canal is the best choice for treatment. If you have been diagnosed as needing a root canal but want to explore any potential alternative, herbal treatments may be worth considering. Plantain poultices, goldenseal powder and Echinacea are options that are recommended by some dental professionals. However, if the pain does not go away, it is advisable to get to a dentist for the root canal right away because waiting too long may make the situation worse—meaning it will be more costly and more difficult to fix.

No one wants to get a root canal and taking good care of your teeth is the best way to avoid the procedure.

Defeating Monster Mouth: Planning Ideas for National Children’s Dental Health Month

February is the American Dental Association’s National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM), and this year’s theme is Defeat Monster Mouth. In order for the program to be successful and make a positive impact on kids’ knowledge about dental health, outreach and education are crucial. If you work with children (for example, teachers, dentists, nurses, or other professionals) and are interested in contributing to this project, consider downloading the free NCDHM planning program guide. This document includes a wealth of important knowledge, including tips on how to schedule a proclamation signing, various ideas for kids’ activities and a planning timetable.


Having your town’s mayor sign a proclamation can send a message to the community at large that children’s dental health is an important priority for your town. Publicizing the event can be a great way to increase awareness, both among children and their parents, about the importance of brushing, flossing and eating healthy. A sample proclamation can be found in the planning program guide, along with helpful tips for how to schedule the signing.

Activity Ideas

Many children learn best through games and activities. That is why the planning program includes many great activity ideas, including:

  • Coloring contests: Organizing contests and games that get the word out about NCDHM can be an effective way to educate children.
  • Health fairs: You can get in contact with different health fairs in your area and design a booth that promotes Defeat Monster Mouth and distributes information about healthy dental habits. Also find out about local Give Kids a Smile events that provide free dental care to children.
  • News coverage: The media, both print and television, are another great avenue through which to reach out to the community about the program.

Planning Timetable

Also included in the guide is a planning timetable. This schedule can be quite useful, particularly if this is your first time helping to organize NCDHM events. From October to March, there is work to be done to ensure that National Children’s Dental Health Month goes smoothly. Take a look at the timetable for ideas on how you can get started.

Bringing awareness to the public at large about how children can take care of their teeth can have a large and positive impact. On the whole, the Defeat Monster Mouth planning program guide is an excellent resource for dentists, teachers and parents who wish to get involved in the program. It includes helpful information regarding how to schedule proclamations signings, a planning timetable, and potential activities for kids and adults alike.

How Does Mouthwash Work?

You have probably heard that mouthwash is a valuable addition to any dental hygiene routine, but you may not understand why. Simply swishing a tingly liquid around in your mouth may not seem like a big deal, but new research published in 2013 shows that patients who use an effective mouth rinse along with their tooth-brushing routine are able to reduce their gingivitis and plaque significantly. Here is a simple explanation of how mouthwash works.

Toothbrushes Are Limited

Although toothbrushes are extremely helpful for removing plaque and bacteria from the visible surfaces of the teeth, they can only reach about 60 percent of the tooth surface, leaving 40 percent (around the cracks and between teeth) where bacteria love to grow and flourish. Mouthwash, on the other hand, is able to reach almost 100 percent of the various surfaces in the mouth, which makes it invaluable for cleaning hard-to-reach areas.

Antiseptic Properties

Some types of mouthwash are formulated to have anti-plaque and antiseptic properties. This means that individuals who rinse with antiseptic mouthwashes may be able to kill a significant portion of the bacterial plaque found within the mouth. When used in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing, mouthwash can offer the following benefits:

  • Reduced tooth decay
  • Decreased instances of bad breath
  • Reduced chance of developing gingivitis

How Mouthwash is Used

Mouthwash is most effective when it is forcefully swished around the mouth. This action helps the mouthwash to reach the gaps between the teeth and remove food particles and bacteria from those areas. Individuals who have bad breath are also encouraged to gargle with mouthwash because the bacteria that cause bad breath often reside in the back of the tongue and throat.

It is important not to swallow mouthwash, since it may contain alcohol and other ingredients that are not safe for ingestion. In order to discourage swallowing, it is recommended that you only put a pre-measured amount of mouthwash in your mouth at a given time.

Improve Your Dental Health

If you want to add to your current dental regimen and improve your dental health even more, purchase high-quality mouthwash and use it on a regular basis.

Why Daily Brushing May Not Be Enough to Prevent Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

Healthy teeth start with healthy habits. The simple oral care habits that are part of your daily routine actually go a long way towards protecting your teeth and gums against a range of preventable dental problems. Taking care of your teeth requires only a few basic tools and a little know-how.

Protect Your Mouth Against Plaque

Gum disease (gingivitis) is cause in part by the plaque that builds up on your teeth near the gum line. This hard layer is formed by bacteria which flourish in the food particles that should be cleared away with brushing. Over time, the layer of plaque causes the gum line to recede. Your gums might feel swollen and tender or might bleed slightly after brushing. These are a few signs that plaque is starting to win.

An scientific article published just three years ago sheds some light onto the way that bacteria have adapted to respond to the dental care products we use every day. According to Yale researchers, the bacteria and fluoride fight as a result of the bacteria switching on specialized chemical defenses. These defenses can prevent the fluoride from doing its job. As a result, you might not be getting the full range of cavity-prevention benefits from your toothpaste. Removing the bacteria is best accomplished by removing the plaque that stimulates their growth.

How Your Dentist Can Help

Even though daily dental care habits will go a long way towards preventing gum disease, regular checkups with your dentist will help ensure a lifetime of good oral health. During your checkup, your dental care team will:

  • Remove the tough layer of plaque that has built up since your last cleaning
  • Check for cavities and places where cavities might develop
  • Identify any chips or cracks that need repairing
  • Provide personalized guidance to help you care for your teeth

Dentists recommend that their juvenile and adult patients see them for checkups and cleaning twice a year. This will help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria.

How Gum Disease Bacteria Lowers the Immune System

An infection anywhere in the body can have a major impact on the immune system, lowering a patient’s ability to fight serious diseases. Some infections are worse than others, and gum disease is one of the most troublesome due to the mouth’s importance to the health of the rest of the body. When a dentist is able to treat gum disease, a patient is more likely to have a greater ability to fight infection and improve the immune system.

A Problematic Cycle

Gum disease allows toxic bacteria to have direct access to a patient’s blood stream, as well as to his or her lungs. This constant contact of negative organisms allows the infection to spread easily through the body. Once the infection spreads, the immune system becomes stressed beyond its capacity to function properly. As the immune system weakens, fighting off the original gum infection becomes more difficult, leaving a patient vulnerable to even more diseases, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory disease

Advanced cases of gum disease can be difficult to treat, since the immune system is already so weakened that getting rid of the infection is a challenge.

Obtaining Treatment for Gum Disease

Those who suffer from gum disease and have not sought out treatment are not likely to be able to return to full health without the assistance of a dental professional. Leaving gum disease untreated can be destructive to the entire body, but dentists can prescribe powerful infection-fighting medications to help patients get the disease under control, including antibiotics.

Treatment options for gum disease can be either surgical or non-surgical and may include the following, depending upon the severity of the case:

  • Scaling and root planning
  • Removal of plaque and tartar build-up
  • Pocket reduction surgery
  • Bone or soft tissue grafts

Some patients may only need a dental cleaning to heal their gum infection, while others may require more invasive procedures.

Gum disease treatment should begin as soon as possible in order to prevent further damage to the immune system and the overall health of the patient’s body.