When you get the news that you need a root canal, your head may start to spin. If you are already nervous when at regular dental appointments, having to come back in for a surgical procedure can churn up the stress. You may not know that you have a couple of options when it comes…
How a Root Canal Can Save a Broken Tooth
A root canal is often the first recommendation you receive after breaking a tooth. However, those who have undergone this procedure, especially those who developed complications, may caution you against it. Some people may tell you that they developed cracks in their teeth after the root canal, while others may cite the pain.
While these are certainly not impossible outcomes of a root canal, they are not the common experience. Dental surgery has come a long way over the years to reduce the risks and discomfort typically associated with these procedures. Also, do keep in mind that the longer you delay, the greater your chances of developing infections and other complications that could lead to you losing the tooth altogether.
What to do when your tooth breaks
Chances are your tooth will not conveniently break when you are already sitting at the dentist or the endodontist’s office. It will happen at home, at work or while you are on a romantic outing with someone you really like. What do you do in these instances?
Start off by resisting the urge to panic. Yes, there is a piece of tooth in your mouth. No, it is not the end of the world. If it hurts, take pain relievers to dull the pain. You should also rinse your mouth out with salt water; sea salt is always best. Once you have everything under control, call the dentist.
If it does not hurt, you have more options and more time on your hands. Broken teeth are sharp, so after a salt rinse, use sugarless gum or cotton to cover the area. If you need to eat before going to the dentist, stick to soft foods and chew on the opposite side. If possible, a liquid diet is a much better option.
Your treatment options
You are probably already dreading the root canal when you walk into the dentist’s office, but there are other options the dentist may propose first. Some common options are a dental filling, dental veneers and dental crowns. If the tooth cracked and did not hurt too badly, these may be the most likely options.
However, if you were in a lot of pain, chances are the pulp was exposed. In this instance, a root canal is almost unavoidable. The pulp is the inner portion of the tooth containing blood vessels and nerves. As mentioned earlier, a damaged tooth could mean extraction. If your front teeth are affected, this is the last thing you may want to experience. Luckily, a root canal can prevent this from happening.
During a root canal, the dentist or endodontist removes the damaged pulp and cleans the affected area. Following this, a rubber-like material may be used to fill the teeth. Some practitioners add another layer of filling, while others use a crown to help the tooth function normally afterward. Anesthesia will help to ensure this entire procedure is as pain-free as possible.
When patients break a tooth, they often fear the dentist’s chair more than the repercussions of the broken tooth itself. As a result, if they are not in immense pain, they may put off the visit. However, it is always best to seek your dentist’s advice as soon as possible to reduce the pain and increase the likelihood of keeping your tooth.
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