I have two root canal teeth, and during my last visit, my dentist said I would soon need a third one. The first two root canals were completed after filling failed. I grind my teeth, and my dentist said I need another root canal on a cracked tooth that grinding may have caused. I have a night guard, but sometimes I forget to wear it at night. Other than that, I floss my teeth daily and brush them morning and night. Unfortunately, I must delay getting my teeth whitened until after the root canal. I don’t understand what I need to do to avoid root canals in the future. Are some people’s teeth more at risk for root canals? – Thanks. Monroe from Rhode Island
The problems you describe with your teeth are not uncommon. Preparing a tooth for filling requires removing some tooth structure, weakening the tooth. The tooth can become sensitive. And if you grind your teeth, they will experience even more stress. Try these suggestions.
How Can You Avoid Future Root Canal Treatment?
You can minimize the need for future root canal treatments through at-home care and finding a dentist knowledgeable about the latest techniques for preserving teeth.
- Wear your night guard – In addition to practicing diligent oral hygiene at home, wear your night guard regularly. A night guard protects your teeth from the forces of grinding.
- Avoid frequent snacking – Snacking throughout the day releases acid in your mouth that breaks down tooth enamel and weakens teeth. Although some people think brushing their teeth after snacking is the solution, it is not because brushing teeth while they are weak can further wear tooth enamel.
- Look for high-quality dental care – A dentist with a commitment to continuing education and the latest techniques will provide work to improve your oral health and keep your teeth strong. If you do need fillings or restorative work, a skilled dentist will use techniques that minimize the impact on your tooth structure.
Although you need a third root canal treatment, if your dentist is not conservative in his treatment, we suggest that you get a second opinion. Root canal treatment weakens teeth, and if your tooth needs a crown afterward, conservatively preparing it will help preserve it. Also, talk to the dentist about your plans for teeth whitening and ask how you can minimize sensitivity during treatment.
Dr. Duane Delaune, a Metairie, Louisiana cosmetic dentist, sponsors this post.