A root canal tends to create a lot of apprehension and fear in many patients. After all, the treatment has had plenty of bad things said about it in the past, and its inaccurate reputation of being scary and incredibly painful has stuck with it throughout the years. However, the team at our dental office in Sparks wants to let our patients know that the horror stories of root canals of the past are no longer relevant in the world of today’s modern dentistry.
The Painless Truth of Root Canals
When your dentist in Sparks recommends a root canal, it’s typically because decay has reached so far into the tooth that a traditional filling won’t fix it completely. Chances are pain levels are also pretty high. A root canal can remove the decay in its entirety and actually ease the pain. So essentially, root canals do not contribute to pain, but rather relieve it.
What’s a Root Canal Treatment Like?
When going in for a root canal, your dentist will first numb the area to reduce any discomfort and to make the treatment pretty pain free. Then the actual procedure begins. A root canal procedure typically includes:
- Making a tiny hole to allow your dental team access to the inside of the tooth where all the roots and nerves are located that are causing so much pain.
- Emptying the nerves, pulp, and blood vessels from the inner tooth. This makes it impossible for the tooth to feel any pain.
- Sealing the tooth and placing a dental crown to keep the inside of the tooth protected.
What Are Some Signs That a Root Canal May be Necessary?
- Tooth Pain. First and foremost, tooth pain is the most obvious sign that something isn’t right in your mouth and that you may need a root canal. However, not every toothache automatically constitutes root canal treatment. If the pain increases when eating, biting down, or with any pressure, you may need a root canal to make the pain go away.
- Sensitivity. If you experience tooth sensitivity regularly, there’s probably no reason to be too concerned. But if you have sensitivity while eating or drinking hot or cold foods or beverages, and that sensitivity pain lingers around for awhile even after the source of heat or cold is removed, a root canal may be appropriate.
- Gum Inflammation. Just because a root canal is a treatment done on a tooth doesn’t mean teeth are the only place where symptoms appear. Gum tissue nearby the infected tooth can also exhibit some symptoms. For example, painful or swollen gums, or any small, raised bumps on the gums are usually telltale signs that a root canal may be necessary.
At our Sparks dental office, we always encourage our patients to call us right away if they suspect a dental problem or if they’re experiencing pain. If you are having any of the symptoms above, we welcome you to call us too. We’ll complete a thorough exam to find the source of your symptoms and recommend the appropriate treatment for you. If that treatment happens to be a root canal, don’t fear. You’ll have relief in no time.
With Halloween just around the corner, we hope all of our patients and neighbors are ready for a night of ghouls and ghosts, witches and wizards, and tricks or treats. When it comes to those treats, the team at our dental office in Sparks has a few pointers for what may be best left behind, especially for those who wear braces. Check out our guide to braces-friendly candy below.
- Chocolate Bars – You can’t go wrong with some pure, delicious chocolate. Whether you choose a candy bar or perhaps a Hershey’s Kiss, chocolate dissolves quickly and is safe for braces. If you’re lucky enough to score a full-size candy bar, we encourage you to cut it up into smaller pieces to reduce the risk of damaging the braces on your front teeth as you bite into it.
- Peanut Butter Cups – Another scrumptious yet safe option for braces are peanut butter cups. Their smooth consistency makes chewing very easy with really no concern of breaking a bracket or wire.
- Milky Ways – Although these candy bars contain caramel (more on that in a bit), Milky Ways are still soft enough for braces wearers to enjoy.
Important Note: All of these options are safe as long as they’re not frozen. Frozen chocolate bars and peanut butter cups make the texture too hard to bite and chew safely.
- Hard Candy – Candy that falls under this category can be both all right for braces and potentially damaging. Hard candies that allow you to suck on them over time, reducing their size and making them less dangerous for braces, may be ok to enjoy. However, it increases the time your teeth are exposed to the sugar which may put you at greater risk for decay.
- Gooey Gum – When you first got your braces you were probably told to avoid gum. That rule doesn’t change during Halloween. Chewing gum can bend your wires, and that’s particularly concerning. When a wire is placed by your doctor, it’s put on in such a way that gently moves your teeth into the desired position. However, if the wire bends, your teeth tend to follow the direction of the wire instead of its original path. This can actually prolong treatment.
- Sticky Sweets – Things like caramels, gummies, taffy, and similar candies are almost sure to cause some trouble. Sticky sweets and their tacky consistency not only tend to bend wires, they’re also bad for your teeth in general. The stickiness allows the sugars to stay attached to teeth longer, again increasing your risk for decay.
Important Note: When in doubt, if it’s sticky, hard, or super chewy, it’s best to choose another option.
In order to keep your braces in tip-top shape and to avoid any broken brackets, bent wires, or other complications, it’s wise to listen to your dentist in Sparks about which foods are safe for braces. Halloween candy is no exception. Following the guide of braces-friendly candy can protect your braces and help you avoid an emergency dental appointment.