You may know that you can reduce your odds of developing serious gum disease by following a consistent oral care routine of twice-daily tooth brushing. Also keep in mind that daily flossing removes plaque, which can help stop gingivitis (an early form of gum disease) before it starts.
But even if you’re diligent in your oral care, an accident such as trauma to the face or a chipped or broken tooth can damage the nerves and the pulp in a tooth and cause you to need a root canal. You may think that a root canal is a painful procedure, but for most people, it’s no more painful than having a filling placed in a tooth. And a root canal can be the best way to preserve a damaged tooth.
Sometimes the nerve of a tooth may be damaged, and you may not have any symptoms at all. But in other cases, common indicators of a tooth infection that may require a root canal include toothache, discoloration of a tooth or swelling of the gums near the infected tooth.
A root canal is a minor surgical procedure in which your dentist numbs the affected area and creates an access hole to remove the decayed tissue. Then the hole is sealed, either at the same visit or a follow-up visit, and eventually a permanent filling or crown may be placed on the tooth. Root canals are generally successful, but it’s important to maintain your oral care routine in order to reduce your risk of post-procedure infections or complications.
Proper plaque removal is especially important after a root canal. Follow regular brushing and flossing to help keep the area clean, but if the area feels sensitive, be sure to use a soft-bristled brush or a brush designed for post-surgical care.