Everything you need to know about Root Canals
If you have a severely damaged, decaying tooth or a serious tooth infection, your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment. Root canals are used to repair and save your tooth instead of removing it. The pulp is soft tissue inside your tooth that contains nerves, 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 and injury to the tooth. 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. 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. 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. 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.
Oral Cancer and Dental Health
More than one-third of all cancer patients develop complications that affect the mouth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. These mild to severe side effects can include mouth sores, infection, dry mouth, sensitive gums and jaw pain. Your mouth health is an important part of your overall health, so make your dentist part of your cancer care team. Cancer and its treatments, like chemotherapy, can weaken your immune system. If your mouth is not as healthy as possible prior to your cancer treatment, you may be more susceptible to infection. If the infection is serious enough, it can delay your cancer treatment. In addition, radiation therapy, especially in the area of the head and neck, can damage salivary glands which can cause thick, sticky saliva and extreme dry mouth. A dry mouth can increase your chances of tooth decay and infection. Maintaining your mouth at its best health before, during and after cancer treatment could help lessen some side effects and allow you to focus on your overall healing.
The Importance of X-Rays
Dental X-rays are a useful diagnostic tool when helping your dentist detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. How often X-rays should be taken depends on your present oral health, your age, your risk for disease, and any signs and symptoms of oral disease. If you are a new patient, the dentist may recommend X-rays to determine the present status of your oral health and have a baseline to help identify changes that may occur later. A new set of X-rays may be needed to help your dentist detect any new cavities, determine the status of your gum health or evaluate the growth and development of your teeth. If a previous dentist has any radio graphs of you, your new dentist may ask you for copies of them. Ask both dentists to help you with forwarding your X-rays. Dental X-ray exams are safe. Dental X-ray tools and techniques are designed to limit the body's exposure to radiation and every precaution is taken to ensure that radiation exposure is As Low As Reasonable Achievable. A leaded apron minimizes exposure to the abdomen and may be used when it will not interfere with acquisition of the dental radio graph. So schedule you next exam with X-rays today!