When a cavity is not promptly found and treated, it can grow so large that it affects the nerves of your teeth. A root canal is then often necessary to completely clean the tooth of the infection. If you’ve just found out that you require a root canal, don’t let fear keep you from the procedure.
Your root canal treatment can be pain-free with a quick recovery if you prepare correctly. Follow these steps prior to your appointment.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal becomes necessary when the pulp inside your tooth becomes infected or inflamed. This often occurs because of a cavity, chip, crack, or another injury to the tooth and affected pulp. Without addressing the infection of the pulp, pain is likely to continue, and an abscess may form.
A root canal procedure is when the soft tissue is removed from the tooth after it has been compromised. In many cases, the structural integrity of the tooth is still intact, so there’s no need to extract the tooth. Your jaw and the root of your tooth work together to form the support your tooth requires, so leaving the tooth in place is always the ideal choice.
Before Your Appointment
If you have a tooth that is already infected, having a treatment performed in order to address the infection can cause pain and discomfort. Your dentist can prescribe you an antibiotic to help clear the infection in the tooth before your appointment. This will enable your pain to be reduced to minimal discomfort. Taking an antibiotic prior to your treatment will also help to shorten recovery time.
Take Ibuprofen Beforehand
Ibuprofen is an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication that your dentist may recommend you take on the day of your procedure. Taking a mild pain sedative will help to ease any potential swelling that may be present, along with making your procedure more comfortable.
Don’t Smoke or Drink Alcohol
It is always recommended that patients avoid tobacco products as well as drinking alcohol for at least 24 hours prior to your appointment. It is also recommended that you do not smoke for at least 72 hours after your root canal is completed. Smoking or drinking can slow healing times and even lead to potential complications within the procedure.
Eat a Good Meal
It is very likely that you will be unable to eat for several hours following your procedure as a result of the numbness. We always recommend that patients enjoy a satisfying and healthy meal before any local anesthetic being administered. Your diet will consist of soft foods and soups for the first few days to nourish your body while recovering.
What To Expect During a Root Canal
There are five general steps that you can expect during a root canal procedure.
Step 1: You will receive general anesthesia before any procedures tak place to ensure your comfort.
Step 2: An opening that allows for an access point into the tooth’s pulp is created. This access hole in your tooth enables your dentist to clear the infected tissue from the pulp chamber inside of your tooth.
Step 3: The pulp chamber will be thoroughly cleaned out and shaped, so it is ready to receive the filler material. If the crown of your tooth is found to be damaged, we may suggest placing a post to help support the reconstruction process over the damaged area of the tooth.
Step 4: The access opening will be sealed entirely along with any open space within the tooth to prevent future bacteria from collecting and causing another infection.
Step 5: A dental crown is often recommended for a tooth that undergoes a root canal procedure to provide additional strength and protection of the tooth against future damage. Depending on the severity of the dental decay and infection, an immediate crown may or may not be recommended.
Always Discuss Procedures With Your Dentist
A root canal procedure allows us to keep your natural tooth for years to come, which should always be your top priority. If you find yourself needing a root canal, trust only the best. Call Hinsdale Dentistry to make an appointment for a consultation or a root canal today!