How to Prevent Root Canal Infections

August 3, 2012 — by Stephen Lipman
Tags: Root Canals Restorative Dentistry Dental Crowns

Windsor Root Canal TherapyRoot canal infections are very painful and can lead to a number of more severe issues like abscesses and tooth loss. Windsor cosmetic dentist Stephen D. Lipman, offers some helpful tips you can use to help prevent root canal infections.

What Is a Root Canal Infection?

A root canal infection refers to diseased nerve and pulp tissue within the center cavity, or root canal, of the tooth. Root canal treatment involves the removal of the infected nerve and pulp within the root canal of the tooth. When the nerve and pulp are infected, the tooth is at risk for further decay and damage. After removal, the tooth is cleaned, decay is removed, and the tooth is sealed.

Untreated nerve and pulp tissues will cause further pain and may result in a spread of infection that may manifest as an abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus that develops around the ends of the tooth's roots. Abscesses are very painful. It is not uncommon for the pus of an abscess to drain into the gums or cheek.  Other conditions infected root canal tissue can cause are bone loss around the tooth roots and swelling of the neck or face. Infected tissue in the root canal can also cause the structure of the tooth to weaken through decay, which may cause the damaged tooth to break.

How Do I Prevent Root Canal Infections?

The primary cause of root canal infection is tooth decay. When tooth decay penetrates the enamel and dentin, harmful bacteria can damage the delicate tissues in the center of the tooth. Tooth decay is generally caused by plaque and tartar (the mineralized form of plaque) and more specifically, by the acid and bacteria within plaque and tartar. Foods high in sugar and acid also contribute to tooth decay. You can help reduce your risk for developing an infection of the tissue in the root canal by practicing good oral hygiene, seeing your dentist regularly, and avoiding foods and drinks high in sugar, starch, and acids.

Trauma is another possible cause of root canal infections. Trauma, like an injury to the face or repeated dental procedures, can cause infection of the nerve and pulp within the root canal through irritation and inflammation. Fractures and chips may also cause root canal infections. Like with decay, fractures damage the protective, outer layer of the tooth and allow bacteria access to the inner portions of the tooth. You can prevent root canal tissue infection by seeking dental repair at the first sign of a fracture or chipped tooth.

In summary:

  • Practice good oral hygiene.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.
  • Avoid foods and drinks high in sugar, starch, and acid.
  • Avoid trauma.
  • Repair fractures and chips immediately.

Contact The Family Dentistry of Windsor.

For our patients in Windsor, restorative dentistry treatments such as dental crowns and fillings can repair teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay or injury. Don't wait to get treatment. We welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lipman for all of your dental needs.