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Root Canals Treatment That Can Save Your Tooth

If you have a severely damaged, decaying tooth or a serious tooth infection (abscess), your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment. Root canals are used to repair and save your tooth instead of removing it.

What’s Involved in Root Canal Repair?

The pulp is the soft tissue inside your tooth that contains nerves, and blood vessels and provides nourishment for your tooth. It can become infected if you have:

  • A deep cavity
  • Repeated dental procedures that disturb this tissue
  • A cracked or fractured tooth
  • Injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip)

If untreated, the tissues around the root of your tooth can become infected. When this happens, you will often feel pain and swelling and an abscess may form inside the tooth and/or in the bone around the end of the root of the tooth. An infection can also put you at risk of losing your tooth completely because bacteria can damage the bone that keeps your tooth connected to your jaw.

Can I Get This Treatment Done During My Regular Check-up Visit?

Your dentist will need to schedule a follow-up appointment, or you may be referred to a dentist who specializes in the pulp and tissues surrounding the teeth. This specialist is known as an endodontist.

What Should I Expect?

A root canal treatment usually takes 1 or 2 office visits to complete. There is little to no pain because your dentist will use local anesthesia so you don’t feel the procedure. Once the procedure is complete, you should no longer feel the pain you felt before having it done.

Before treatment begins, your dentist will:

  • Take X-rays to get a clear view of your tooth and the surrounding bone.
  • Numb the area around and including your tooth so you are comfortable during the treatment.
  • Put a thin sheet of latex rubber over your tooth to keep it dry, clean, and protected from viruses, bacteria, and fungus that are normally in the mouth.

During treatment, your dentist will:

  • Create an opening in the top of your tooth.
  • Remove the tooth’s nerve from inside the tooth and in the areas in the root, known as the root canal.
  • Clean inside the tooth and each root canal. Your dentist may treat the tooth with germ-killing medicine.
  • Fill the root canals with a rubber-like material to seal them against future infection.
  • Place a temporary filling on the tooth to protect it until a definitive restoration like a permanent filling or crown can be placed at the earliest opportunity.

After root canal treatment:

  • Your tooth and the area around it may feel sensitive for a few days. You can talk with your dentist about how to relieve any discomfort you may have.
  • Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if the infection spreads. Use as directed, and follow up with your dentist if you have any problems taking it.

You will need a follow-up visit after the root canal treatment. At this visit, your dentist will remove the temporary filling on the tooth and replace it with a regular filling or a crown to protect your tooth from further damage. A metal or plastic post may also be placed in the root canal to help make sure the filling materials remain in place. This helps support a crown if you need one.

How Long Will a Root Canal Filling Last?

With proper care, your restored tooth can last a lifetime. Make it a point to brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, clean between your teeth once a day, and see your dentist regularly to make sure your teeth are strong and healthy following such procedures.

The first step towards dental self-empowerment

How to know for sure that you’re heading in the right direction

Is greater oral health possible in 20 minutes?

Yes and no.

You see, while you can’t undo any ill health in the mouth in 20 minutes, you can accomplish the first (and most important) step in 20 minutes!

In this first step toward greater oral and whole being health, we have to start at the beginning.

Here is the bottom line.

If we don’t know where we are, how can we expect to get somewhere else?

Stated another way, if we don’t know our current location, how can we begin to chart a course to a new (more positive) destination (with our oral health)?

Bottom line, we have to know the current state of health of our gums and teeth before we can begin any course correction to create positive change.

It’s true that a well-trained, aware dentist can be a tremendous expert resource to support us in our own oral health. However, each of us is responsible for creating whatever health we desire.

The person looking back at you in the mirror when you brush your teeth is the MVP (most valuable person) on your journey to optimal oral health.

Here’s the most important action you can take to improve your oral health

Step one to creating greater oral health is to have an accurate understanding of where we currently are.

After all, without knowing our current location, how can we judge whether we are making gains on our health or losing ground?

So, how do we accurately assess where our oral health really is?

Surely a recent dental chart from your dentist would provide you with much of the necessary information to accurately track the progress of an oral hygiene protocol.

However, we have found that filling out a map on your own mouth provides the individual with a tremendous amount of information that empowers each of us to be able to create greater oral health in our own mouth.

There’s a vast difference between believing what a professional tells you and knowing what you know from having seen it with your own eyes.

In the oral health world, there’s simply no better way to accomplish this than looking in your own mouth…

If you want to make a massive positive change in your oral health, take 20 minutes and get to know your mouth.

Getting to know your mouth…

Here is the OraWellness Mouth Map. It is designed similarly to a dental chart.

Benefit #1… Knowing what areas in your mouth need your focused, loving care.

Here’s why… You’ll see with your own eyes the state of health of your gum tissue around each of your teeth.

  • You’ll notice if a certain area is red and swollen.
  • You’ll take note if it bleeds when you floss between certain teeth.
  • You’ll finally see the exact state of health in your own mouth.

With that ‘current location’ known, you can bring more attention and mindful care to those areas that are in distress.

Obviously, knowing where in your mouth to put your caring attention will go a LONG way toward creating positive change.

But there’s another powerful benefit of getting to know your mouth.

Benefit #2… Having a dated record of your findings

By having a date on your Mouth Map, you can, for example, decide that you’re going to practice oil pulling every day for a month to see if it will help you navigate to greater oral health.

Sure, we all believe that oil pulling daily (for example) will help.

But unless you have a dated record of what’s going on in your mouth AND look again after that 30 days of oil pulling, your belief will stay a belief and you won’t know.

However, by doing a ‘before and after’ Mouth Map, you will know that you created a positive change in your oral health.

You’ll see it with your own eyes.

That, friend, is dental self-empowerment.

Seeing with your own eyes that you created to change with your efforts empowers us in a very big way.

How to get to know your mouth…

We are going to take two passes through the mouth looking for signs of redness, swelling, spots that bleed when (gently) flossed or brushed, any tooth sensitivity, spots where the gums are receding, etc.

The first pass we will go tooth by tooth with our finger, toothbrush, or gum stimulator. We are looking to gently rub the tooth and gum surfaces while looking for any signs above. Remember to explore both the outside and inside surfaces of each tooth!

In the second pass, we are going to do the same exploration, only this time with floss to ‘look’ what’s going on between the teeth.

Step one: Download the Mouth Map and print it out.

Step two: Gather together the following: toothbrush, floss, mirror, gum stimulator (if you have one), pen, and OraWellness Mouth Map.

Step three: Start by marking today’s date in the bottom right corner. Also X out any teeth on the Mouth Map that are no longer in your mouth. (Note: teeth numbers 1,16,17 and 32 are wisdom teeth. If you had your wisdom teeth removed, X them out.

Step four: Using a toothbrush, finger, or gum stimulator, go tooth by tooth looking for redness, swelling, bleeding when probed, gum recession, or tooth sensitivity when touched. Mark it in the appropriate spot on the Mouth Map using some type of notation. (the Mouth Map gives examples)

Step five: Floss consciously. What we mean is floss and after flossing each contact, check for the following: blood on the floss, discoloration on the floss, foul smell on the floss. If any of these are present, mark it on the Mouth Map. (Note: be sure to use a fresh segment of floss for each contact so you can really see/smell anything going on at each contact.)

Congratulations! You have a first massive step toward optimal oral health!

You now have a record of what’s going on in your mouth today!

This record helps in two main ways.

First, you now know what spots in your mouth need more care and attention.

Second, you will be able to see for yourself whether your oral health protocol is helping or not over the course of the coming weeks and months.

There’s nothing quite as empowering as seeing for yourself how a spot that used to bleed when flossing no longer does. That’s taking control of your oral health! Welcome to dental self-empowerment

Aging and Dental Health

As you age, it becomes even more important to take good care of your teeth and dental health. One common misconception is that losing your teeth is inevitable. This is not true. If cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime.

Your mouth changes as you age. The nerves in your teeth can become smaller, making your teeth less sensitive to cavities or other problems. If you don’t get regular dental exams, this, in turn, can lead to these problems not being diagnosed until it is too late.

If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.

Tips for Maintaining and Improving Your Oral Health

  • Brush twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles. You may also benefit from using an electric toothbrush.
  • Clean between your teeth once a day with floss or another flossing tool.
  • If you wear full or partial dentures, remember to clean them daily. Take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every day. It’s best to remove them at night. 
  • Drink tap water. Since most contain fluoride, it helps prevent tooth decay no matter how old you are.
  • Quit smoking. Besides putting you at greater risk for lung and other cancers, smoking increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
  • Visit your dentist. Visit your dentist regularly for a complete dental check-up. 

By adopting healthy oral habits at home, making smart choices about diet and lifestyle, and seeking regular dental care, you can help your teeth last a lifetime—whether you have your natural teeth, implants, or wear dentures.

Caregiving for a Disabled or Elderly Loved One  

You may have a parent, spouse, or friend who has difficulty maintaining a healthy mouth on their own. How can you help? Two things are critical:

  • Help them keep their mouth clean with reminders to brush and floss daily.
  • Make sure they get to a dentist regularly.

These steps can prevent many problems, but tasks that once seemed so simple can become very challenging. If your loved one is having difficulty with brushing and flossing, talk to a dentist or hygienist who can provide helpful tips or a different approach. Some dentists specialize in caring for the elderly and disabled. You can locate a specialist through the Special Care Dentistry Association’s referral directory. For those who wear dentures, pay close attention to their eating habits. If they’re having difficulty eating or are not eating as much as usual, denture problems could be the cause.

When you’re caring for someone who is confined to bed, they may have so many health problems that it’s easy to forget about oral health. However, it’s still very important because bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs and cause pneumonia.

Sensitive Teeth

Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.

Possible causes include:

  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Fractured teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Exposed tooth root

In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line, a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.

Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
  • Fluoride gel. An in-office technique that strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
  • A crown, inlay, or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in insensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
  • Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive tooth pain. Ask our dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.

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Phone: 937.836.7282
Fax: 937.836.7394


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