A lot of people are scared of getting a root canal. However, the root canal procedure of today has improved by leaps and bounds from what it used to be. Our dentist in Kilgore, TX has answered these four common questions about root canals to ease any dental anxiety and provide clarity.
A root canal is the space inside the tooth that contains the pulp, blood vessels and nerves, and the branches or "canals" that extend down and into the root end. However, a root canal more often references root canal treatment where a bacterial infection and damaged pulp are removed and the tooth is sealed to prevent further complications.
Root canals save as much of the natural tooth structure as possible. Your adult teeth are the only ones you have for the rest of your life so it’s important to preserve and protect them. If the infection is left untreated for an extended period of time, your tooth will likely need to be extracted and you’ll need a dental implant to fill in that space.
Here are some of the signs indicating the need for a root canal: a pimple in the gums, a severe toothache, darkening of the gums/tooth, and tender or swollen gums. If you're experiencing any of these, give us a call.
A pimple in the gums is generally a dental abscess, a collection of pus formed by a bacterial infection causing a variety of symptoms including pain when biting, jaw pain, sensitivity to hot/cold foods, and more. It’s incredibly important to contact your dentist and get the abscess removed before the infection spreads.
If plaque and bacteria continue to build up, your gums will become swollen. This leads to gum disease which progressively worsens the longer treatment is delayed.
The procedure is pretty straightforward. We go into more detail on our root canal page so we’ll give some bullet points here:
One of the best defenses against any kind of dental condition is to develop and maintain good oral health habits. See our dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning so we can remove plaque and tartar in the harder-to-reach areas. Brushing your teeth twice a day is a great place to start. Brushing after every meal is ideal, but sometimes life gets in the way. Flossing and using a fluoride mouthwash once a day are also good habits to start or keep doing.
It's best to use a mouthwash with little to no alcohol content because alcohol dries your mouth out, making it easier for bacteria to grow. Also, remember to switch out your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months to prevent bacteria from building up, damaged/worn bristles don’t clean as well as new ones.