Many of our patients, like Hillary, have discovered that root canals in our office are “fast,” “efficient,” and “pain-free.” (All adjectives she uses in her video to describe her experiences with Dr. Barfield.) Still, we understand the desire to avoid having one! Fortunately, for most folks that shouldn’t be tough. Read our blog for seven tips for avoiding a root canal.
If you have any questions or need to schedule an appointment, call 1st in Smiles at 972-380-8105.
Understand Why Root Canal Therapy Is Needed
It’s helpful to understand when and why root canal therapy is needed. We typically recommend one if pulp in found in root canals inside your tooth becomes inflamed or infected. Left untreated, you will likely end up losing your tooth. This can cause further trouble, such as nearby teeth shifting out of their proper positions. Even worse, infection can move to other areas of your mouth or your sinuses. Through the bloodstream it can even spread to other areas of your body.
The bacteria that cause the infection usually get inside your tooth in one these ways:
- Severe decay
- Cracked or chipped tooth
- Repeated dental procedures, which can weaken your tooth
- Faulty dental restoration
Now that you know why you may need this procedure, here are some tips for avoiding a root canal.
Visit Us Regularly for Dental Exams
We know we say this a lot, but it’s important to visit our office at least twice a year for dental exams and cleanings. They are essential, though, in preventing dental decay. And remember, small cavities can progress to an infected tooth if left untreated. With regular exams, we’ll find cavities when they are small and easy to fix with a simple filling.
Regular exams also help us find tiny cracks and similar damage that make it easier for bacteria to get inside of your tooth. Dr. Barfield also checks the condition of your dental restorations like crowns to make sure they are still protecting your teeth as they should.
We know it can be hard to fit exams into a busy schedule. We make it easy by opening our office at 7 a.m. and staying open as late as 6 p.m. You can even make appointments on Saturdays!
Avoid Consuming Acidic Drinks
Substances that combine sugar with acids are among the worst for teeth. Acidic foods and drinks change the pH in your mouth, weakening tooth enamel and making it easier for cavities to form. Avoiding a root canal is easier if you limit your consumption of:
- Caffeinated soft drinks
- Energy drinks
- Sweetened coffee and tea
- Citrus juices
Since they alter pH levels in your mouth for about three hours, limit damage by drinking them fairly quickly rather than sipping on them over an extended period. It’s also a good idea to drink them with a straw to reduce contact with your teeth.
Oral Hygiene Is Important for Avoiding a Root Canal
Remove the bacteria and food debris that can cause cavities by brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic substances to limit the damage they cause. Another way of doing so is chewing sugarless gum. This stimulates saliva production, and saliva is a great natural cavity fighter. Gum that contains xylitol is the most effective option.
Keep Your Teeth Protected During Sports
Bacteria can enter teeth through injuries like cracks or chips. These kinds of dental injuries aren’t uncommon with contact sports, especially those involving a ball. Dr. Barfield will take dental impressions and fit you for a custom-mouthguard that prevents these kinds of injuries. Thanks to its custom fit, a custom mouthguard stays in your mouth better than one from a store.
If you do suffer a blow to the mouth, visit us for an exam even if you don’t notice any damage. Bacteria can get inside teeth through cracks that aren’t even visible to the naked eye.
Stop Damage From Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding or clenching (sometimes called bruxism) can also cause cracks or even worse damage to your enamel. Again, wearing a custom-made mouthguard will protect your teeth. As a bonus, it can relieve pain caused by a TMJ disorder. Dr. Barfield works with a specialist in TMJ disorders to diagnose and treat this issue.
Avoiding a Root Canal Is Easier if You Skip Certain Foods
Hard foods also can chip, crack, or even break teeth. It’s a good idea to avoid these foods:
- Popcorn kernels
- Hard candies, especially acidic ones
Crunchy vegetables and fruits like carrots and apples also pose a danger to teeth. Since they are so good for you, we don’t think you should cut them out of your diet. Use your molars rather than the teeth in the front of your mouth to chew them, and cut them into smaller pieces before eating them if possible.
Don’t Ignore Dental Pain
Never “grin and bear it” when it comes to dental pain. If you do, the problem causing the pain will just get worse – which may require treatment like a root canal. We make every effort to get you in for a same-day appointment if you’re in pain.
If you need to make an appointment or have any questions, call 1st in Smiles at 972-380-8105.