3 Things That Increase Your Chances of Needing a Root Canal

Posted on: 2 February 2017

Root canals aren't the scary dental procedure that they used to be. Modern techniques, technology, and anesthesia have made the root canal procedure no more painful than a filling for most people. Still, it's best for your dental health to try to avoid needing a root canal if you can. Take a look at a few things that you might be doing that could put you at greater risk for needing a root canal, and find out how to reduce that risk.


If you're a smoker, one of the biggest single things that you can do to reduce your risk of needing a root canal is this: give up the cigarettes. A study conducted over 30 years has found that smokers have a 70% higher likelihood of needing a root canal than nonsmokers.

Experts say that more research needs to be done to find out exactly why a smoker's risk of needing a root canal is so much higher. However, it seems clear that quitting smoking will help bring your risk level back down. If you want to quit smoking and need help, your physician or dentist should be able to refer you to a smoking cessation program.

Letting Cavities Grow

When you need a root canal, it's often because an infection has developed in the pulp of the tooth. The pulp is the tissue inside of the tooth. Normally, that tissue is protected by the hard surface of the tooth, but when you get a cavity, that hard surface is compromised. The deeper the cavity goes, the greater the chance the pulp will be exposed to infection-causing bacteria.

Of course, you should try to prevent cavities entirely, by taking good care of your teeth and brushing and flossing several times a day. But if you do develop a cavity, it's important to have it treated without delay. Waiting only increases the risk that you're going to eventually need a root canal. This is why it's important to have regular dental checkups—your dentist may notice a small cavity before you do, and take care of it quickly. However, it's also important that you go to the dentist right away if you have tooth pain or suspect you have a new cavity, instead of putting it off until your next scheduled check-up. Prompt treatment of cavities will help you avoid a root canal.

Mouth Injuries

An accident that injures your mouth can cause a break or fracture in one of your teeth that could allow an infection to reach your dental pulp. Even if you don't see any obvious damage, you could sustain a hairline fracture that could allow bacteria in.

It's important to see a dentist for an examination after a mouth injury, even if you think your teeth are OK. If you participate in contact sports, you can take steps to prevent a mouth injury by wearing a protective mouthguard that can protect your teeth from damage.

If your dentist does tell you that you need a root canal, don't worry—a good endodontist will minimize your pain and make sure that the procedure goes as smoothly as possible. Never put off a needed root canal out of fear. To learn more, contact services such as Renovo Endodontic Studio.