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.

Root Canal Awareness Week

What Do You Know About Root Canals?

The American Association of Endodontists celebrated Root Canal Awareness Week on March 30 – April 5, 2014. Currently in its eight year, this week is a time for people to learn the facts about this valuable treatment and how it can help them. Endodontists and other dental professionals are setting aside time during RCAW to focus on patient education and empowerment through the sharing of reliable information.

Why is Root Canal Awareness Important?

Though many people have heard of root canals, not everyone actually understands what this procedure is, what condition it is meant to treat, or how it could benefit them as a dental patient. For instance, did you know that:

• Modern root canal treatments are virtually painless?
• Root canal treatments can preserve a natural tooth?
• Endodontists specialize in performing root canals?
• Endodontists perform an average of 25 root canal procedures each week?
• Root canal treatments can relieve the pain of infection deep inside a tooth?

Even though dental students are likely to recognize the value of root canal procedures, it is important to share this information with others who may not be aware of how these procedures could benefit them. When a patient’s natural tooth is preserved through a root canal procedure, they retain their natural sensation and bite and can enjoy more effective chewing. Treating a tooth infection could prevent discoloration and disease from spreading to adjacent teeth; this allows patients to retain their natural smile.

How You Can Get Involved

Dentists and dental students can get involved in Root Canal Awareness Week every year, but you don’t have to be a dental professional to be part of it. As a patient you can ask your dentist for more information about the procedure, even if you don’t need to have it done right now. Confronting misinformation with facts helps relieve patient anxiety and makes people less reluctant to seek this and other types of dental treatment. You can educate yourself about this procedure and other forms of endodontic treatment by visiting the website of the American Association of Endodontists.