Preventing Tooth Decay To Maintain Healthy Teeth

How To Survive A Root Canal Procedure

Also called endodontic therapy, root canal treatments repair and salvage severely decayed or damaged teeth. If you need one, you might worry more than necessary, since these procedures have unfortunately been linked with pain and discomfort in the past. But many patients contend the pain level is minimal and is similar to having a dental filling treatment. If your dentist tells you that need a root canal, here are some ways to get through the procedure.

Controlling Pain

You can take steps to reduce the pain, such as:

  • Use an endodontist—instead of using a general dentist, let an endodontist do the procedure. These dental specialists have anesthetics formulated specifically for root canal treatments that are stronger and last longer
  • Be proactive about asking for antibiotics.
  • Ask your dentist for numbing medication for your second appointment. Although the nerve has probably already gone, numbing can make the work done on neighboring tissue less uncomfortable. What's more, it can help ease any soreness after your procedure. 
  • Take an over-the-counter pain killer before your local anesthetic wears off. Preventing pain is much easier than getting rid of it after it's begun.

Managing the Recovery Stage

It's critical that you follow your dentist's specific recovery instructions. Some other important guidelines are those, such as:

  • Don't chew on the side of your mouth of your affected tooth. Wait until your dentist places the permanent crown over the tooth.
  • Avoid crunchy or hard foods—These include hard candies, celery, carrots and other raw veggies.
  • Don't try to use your treated tooth too soon as it's still fragile.
  • Your tooth still needs daily hygienic care, but use caution when brushing it.

Considerations and Warnings

  • Unlike root canals done four decades ago, today's root canal therapies are almost 97 percent successful. This is thanks to updated methods in cleansing, sterilization and other new techniques.
  • Get adequate rest before your procedure. Sitting in a dental chair for an extended time period can cause fatigue, especially if don't get enough sleep.
  • Wear loose clothing because you want to be as comfortable as possible.
  • Root canal therapy for anterior teeth is less expensive than endodontics for posterior teeth or molars.
  • Right after your procedure, it's not unusual to experience some dull pain when you bite down. Fortunately, this side effect goes away within two days.
  • Most procedures need two or more additional visits. However, patients having the treatment done in more than one appointment, typically recover quicker than those having a single treatment.
  • Sometimes, a tooth that requires root canal therapy doesn't cause pain.

Don't procrastinate seeing an endodontist if you need a root canal. Putting off treatment can result in severe complications.