IF YOUR DENTIST has recommended you for root canal therapy, you probably have a few questions, especially if this will be your first time getting treatment from an endodontist. There are a lot of myths and misinformation surrounding root canal therapy, and we want to put our patients at ease.
When Is Root Canal Therapy Recommended?
Root canal therapy becomes necessary when the dental pulp (the soft tissue at the core of each tooth, which contains nerves and blood vessels) becomes inflamed or infected. There are many reasons why you might need root canal therapy:
- A crack or chip in the tooth
- A faulty crown
- Complications from repeated treatment to the tooth
- Deep decay that reaches the pulp chamber of the tooth
- Pulp damage due to a tooth injury
How to Prepare For Your Appointment
Here are a few things you can do to help your procedure be as smooth and stress-free as possible:
- Have your insurance information on hand when you arrive.
- Bring any x-rays from your general dentist.
- Get plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep before your procedure will help combat anxiety.
- Eat your regular meals (unless you’re having I.V. sedation!)
- Take an over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen to help ease the soreness and discomfort after the anesthesia wears off.
- Relax! Despite what you may have heard about root canals, the purpose of this procedure is to relieve pain, not cause it. Keep that in mind and look forward to how you’ll feel when your tooth pain is gone!
What to Expect
The procedure itself can take as long as a few hours, during which the patient is seated with their mouth open. This can be uncomfortable, but it’s necessary so the endodontist can work. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the area around the problem tooth, which will then be isolated by a dental dam. The dam keeps the tooth from being contaminated by bacteria in saliva and the rest of the mouth.
Next, the endodontist will drill a small access hole through the chewing surface of the tooth and remove the diseased pulp tissue. The root canals are disinfected, shaped, filled, washed, and finally sealed. The access hole is then filled with a temporary or permanent filling material and the dam is removed. A temporary filling will be replaced later. Thanks to the local anesthetic, the procedure is painless.
We’re Here to Answer Your Root Canal Questions
The best weapon to combat all those myths about the horrors of root canals is knowledge. Don’t hesitate to bring us any questions you still have about root canals and what you can do to prepare for one.