September 11, 2019
We recently wrote about how root canals really don’t deserve their scary reputation. Still, even though they are far less stressful than you might imagine, we understand not wanting to get one! Fortunately, for most folks that shouldn’t be too difficult. In our blog we’ll discuss seven ways to avoid a root canal.
If you have any questions about our advice or need to schedule your next appointment, call Appalachian Dental Care at 828-355-5673.
You’ll Need a Root Canal to Remove Infection
It’s helpful to understand why you might need a root canal procedure. We’ll recommend one if the soft pulp in root canals inside your tooth becomes infected or inflamed. If you choose not to remove the infected pulp, you will likely end up losing your tooth. Before that happens, the infection may spread to other areas of your mouth, your sinuses or, through the bloodstream, even other areas of your body.
The infection is caused when bacteria get inside your tooth, usually through one of these ways:
- Severe decay
- Repeated dental procedures, which can weaken your tooth
- Cracked or chipped tooth
- Faulty dental crown
Now that you know why you may need this procedure, here are some ways to avoid a root canal.
Don’t Miss a Dental Exam
We know you may be tired of hearing our advice to see us at least twice a year for dental exams and cleanings. We also understand it can be tough making time to fit them into a busy schedule. But they’re essential in preventing cavities, which can progress to an infected tooth if left untreated. It’s best to treat cavities ASAP. When they are small, we can easily repair them with a simple filling.
In addition, regular exams help us find tiny cracks and similar damage that make it easier for bacteria to get inside of your tooth. Dr. Airey will also check the condition of dental restorations like crowns to make sure they are still in good shape.
Limit Consumption of Acidic Drinks to Avoid a Root Canal
Many of us avoid sugary foods and drinks. But 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. Because of this, limit your consumption of:
- Caffeinated soft drinks
- Energy drinks
- Sweetened coffee and tea
- Citrus juices
Drinking these beverages with a straw can help limit the dental damage they cause. Since they alter pH levels in your mouth for about three hours, it’s a good idea to consume them fairly quickly rather than sipping on them over an extended period.
Practice Daily Oral Hygiene
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day will help you avoid a root canal since it’ll remove the bacteria and food debris that can cause cavities. To lessen the impact of acidic foods and drinks, rinse with water or mouthwash after consuming them if you’re unable to brush. You can even chew sugarless gum. Doing so helps stimulate saliva production, and saliva is a great natural cavity fighter. Gum that contains xylitol is the best choice.
Protect Your Teeth During Sports
Bacteria can enter your tooth through a crack or chip. While sports are great for your body, they aren’t always so great for your teeth. A wild throw or stray elbow can damage your tooth so bacteria more easily finds its way inside. Dr. Airey can fit you for a custom-mouthguard that will prevent these kinds of injuries and help you avoid a root canal. With a custom fit, it’ll stay in your mouth better than a mouthguard from a store. Plus, there’s no need for a “boil-and-bite” process for adjusting the fit.
If you suffer a blow to the mouth, it’s a good idea to visit us for an exam even if you can’t see any damage. Bacteria can get into your teeth through cracks that aren’t visible to the naked eye.
Avoid a Root Canal by Kicking a Teeth Grinding Habit
Grinding or clenching teeth in your sleep can also result in cracks or other damage to your enamel. Again, a custom-made mouthguard will protect your teeth. As a bonus, it will help prevent problems with your TMJ, which can cause jaw pain, headaches, and other unpleasant symptoms.
Use Caution When Consuming Certain Foods
Certain foods can damage teeth and dental restorations like crowns. Avoid hard foods that can chip, crack, or even break teeth. They include:
- Popcorn kernels
- Hard candies, especially sour ones, which contain a lot of acid
- Crunchy fruits and vegetables like apples and carrots
Obviously, fruits and veggies are good for you. You’re less likely to damage teeth if you cut them into smaller pieces before eating them. Also use your molars rather than the teeth in the front of your mouth to chew them.
Don’t Play a Waiting Game
Any pain in your mouth merits a trip to our office. Never wait for pain to go away! If you ignore it, the problem causing it will only worsen – 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, just call us at 828-355-5673.