Over the years, root canal therapy has gotten something of a bum rap. The procedure is often assumed to be the epitome of pain; however, root canal therapy actually relieves pain while causing very little. Indeed, at the practice of Dao Kim Pham-Nguyen in Orange County, root canal therapy is a virtually painless procedure.
Of course, as the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is particularly true when it comes to your oral health. It is far easier (not to mention cheaper) to take preventive measures to maintain your oral health than have to deal with more complex and expensive dental issues in the future.
At our Orange County cosmetic dentistry practice, we urge our patients to schedule routine dental visits and become active participants in their own dental health. We strive to provide our patients with the education they need to maintain the health of their smiles for a lifetime. While root canal therapy may be nowhere as painful as its reputation would suggest, it’s best to avoid if at all possible.
What Is a Root Canal?
Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is NOT a procedure, but rather the name of an anatomical structure. Each of your teeth contains between one and four root canals. Each of these canals contains dental pulp, a collection of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. When this pulp becomes infected or otherwise damaged, the pain can be excruciating. At this point, root canal therapy – a procedure in which this dental pulp is removed and the remaining tooth structure is sealed – is the only way to preserve as much of the tooth as possible. Eventually, if left untreated, the tooth will simply die and require extraction. Preservation of the tooth will no longer be an option. At our practice in Orange County, dental implants are the preferred method of replacing missing teeth; however, it is always best to keep your natural teeth whenever possible.
Causes of Root Canal Problems
One of the primary causes of root canal infections is an untreated cavity. What begins as a relatively minor and easy-to-treat dental issue can, if left untreated, spread until it reaches the root canal. Once the decay uncovers the delicate dental pulp within the canal, bacteria can easily infect this pulp.
Another common cause of root canal infections is trauma or other structural damage to a tooth, such as a crack or chip. As long as a tooth maintains its structural integrity, the pulp within is quite resistant to infection or disease; however, when the integrity of the tooth is compromised, the pulp can easily be damaged.
Avoiding Root Canal Problems
Root canal issues can actually be avoided quite easily, although it does require some measure of effort. It is essential that you follow an excellent oral hygiene regimen to keep plaque from building up and eroding the enamel of your teeth. If you participate in sports or are inclined to grind your teeth at night, a custom-fitted mouth guard will help to protect your teeth from being cracked or ground down. Most importantly, you must visit the dentist at least twice a year. Your dentist can identify potential oral health problems, such as cavities, in their earliest stages before they develop into more serious issues.
Contact Dao Kim Pham-Nguyen, DDS
To schedule an evaluation of your oral health, please contact Orange County dentist Dao Kim Pham-Nguyen today.