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Avoiding Root Canal Treatment: Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

June 27, 2012 — by John Meola
Tags: Root Canals Restorative Dentistry

Boston Root Canal TreatmentHealthy teeth require daily brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist. Lack of proper oral care can result in pain and decay, and untreated decay can lead to an infection of the root canal. The number one way to avoid having to get root canal treatment is to practice good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly. Our Boston cosmetic dentists offer routine dental care (including root canal treatment), as well as advanced restorative procedures. Schedule an appointment with one of our premier dentists to get your oral health back on track. In the meantime, here is an overview of what's involved in root canal treatment and tips to prevent these infections.

What Is a Root Canal Procedure?

The root canal is the center cavity within a tooth that houses the nerve and pulp. Root canal treatment is necessary when the nerve and pulp within the tooth become infected from dental decay. The nerve and pulp must be removed in order to save the tooth. Once removed, the inside of the tooth is cleaned and then sealed to prevent further infection and decay. If left untreated, the infected nerve or pulp will generate further decay, spread infection, and possibly abscess.

Why Get Root Canal Treatment?

If the infected nerve and pulp are left untreated, the infection can spread to the surrounding gum tissue and create an abscess. An abscess is a pus-filled pocket that develops around the ends of the tooth root. Abscesses can end up draining into the gums or cheeks and are very painful. Infection in the root canal can cause swelling of the face or neck. Bone loss around the tooth root may also occur as bacteria and decay spread. Without root canal treatment, the tooth will continue to decay; eventually, it will break, fall out, or require extraction.

How Do I Prevent Root Canal Infections?

The most common reason for root canal treatment is dental decay. The biggest step to take in preventing root canal treatment is to practice good oral hygiene. Be sure to brush at least twice a day, floss once a day, and regularly visit your dentist. Trauma to the tooth's nerve and pulp is the other cause for root canal treatment. Trauma can irritate the nerve and pulp of the tooth, causing them to become inflamed. Trauma may be caused from such things as repeated dental procedures, large fillings, or injury to the face. Fractures or chips make teeth vulnerable to decay and provide a pathway for bacteria to reach the more delicate structures of the teeth.

You can prevent decay and prevent yourself from needing root canal treatment by seeing your dentist at the first sign of fracture or chipping of your teeth. For our patients in Boston, dental crowns can be used to restore teeth damaged by a root canal infection or injury. To schedule an appointment at our practice, contact the Dental Associates of New England. Our expert dentists are highly skilled in restorative dentistry; we are ready to start you on the path to beautiful, healthy teeth.