Root canal. Those 2 words have become so synonymous with dread that comedians often use, “I’d rather have a root canal,” as a punch line. But for all of the fear that people associate with those words, most people don’t know what a root canal is. Quite simply, root canals save decayed teeth. They’re performed when the nerve of a tooth or the pulp—the soft area within the center of the tooth—becomes infected.
An estimated 40 million root canals are performed in the U.S. each year. The good news is that there are 3 simple things you can do to prevent the likelihood of a root canal:
Wear a Mouthguard
If you grind your teeth at night, enamel becomes worn down. And with the absence of enamel, it’s easier for bacteria to penetrate teeth. Unfortunately, over time bruxism (teeth grinding) may necessitate the need for a root canal. Additionally, trauma to the teeth—the type that occurs during sports or an accident on your bike–can also damage pulp. Dr. Lordo recommends that you wear a mouthguard when participating in contact sports and at night, if you grind your teeth.
Watch Your Carbs and Acids
Diet doesn’t just affect your weight, it also affects the quality of your teeth. In particular, we’re talking about carbs and acidic foods. Tooth decay—which is the precursor to a root canal—occurs when carbs (sugars and starches) such as pasta, bread, cereal, milk, fruit, soda, or candy are left on the teeth. These foods are then turned into acids by the bacteria that lives in the mouth, and acids wear down the enamel of your teeth. Best bet? The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that people limit meals to 3 a day and when you must snack, select nutritious foods like nuts, cheeses, and veggies. Furthermore if you can’t brush your teeth after eating, take a moment to rinse your mouth with water.
Practice Good Oral Care
As always, you want to brush 2-3 times a day with a soft toothbrush and floss daily to keep your teeth in top shape. Also, be sure to make it to your 6-month dental checkups. Problems are much more manageable and easier to treat when in the early stages.
There’s no need to panic if, in spite of your best efforts, you require a root canal. Typically, a patient who requires a root canal is in extreme pain and the root canal treatment actually provides relief. Dr. Lordo provides contemporary root canals with state of the art technology making it a much simpler, more comfortable procedure than those in the past!