However, while the process is relatively straightforward, the term can create fear and anxiety. While a root canal is meant to alleviate pain and discomfort, it can still have negative connotations. For that reason, let’s dive into the inner workings of a root canal procedure and what you need to know before scheduling an appointment.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure where an inflamed or infected pulp within the tooth is removed. Once all the pulp is gone, the interior surface of the tooth is cleaned and a filling is used to seal the opening. On average, the entire process takes about 30 to 60 minutes, although it may take as much as 90 minutes for severe damage.
When is a Root Canal Necessary?
A root canal is necessary when the pulp of the tooth becomes infected with oral bacteria. Typically, this happens when a cavity is left untreated for an extended period.
Some common warning signs of an infected tooth or teeth can include:
- Chronic pain
- Extreme sensitivity to heat and cold
- Swollen jaw or gums
- Pain when pressure is applied to the infected area
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment immediately. Other dental conditions can lead to pain and swelling, so it’s imperative that your teeth are looked at sooner than later. The longer you wait, the worse the tooth will get, and the more work will have to be done.
How Do You Prepare for the Procedure?
A root canal it’s much more routine and painless than you might imagine. Before the procedure, medications may prescribed to help minimize the infection or prevent it from spreading. Taking these medications is essential to help speed up the healing process, so you can get back to normal.
Here are some other tips to help make this procedure as smooth as possible.
While you don’t want to eat immediately before, you should have a full meal before your appointment. This is because you won’t be able to eat for a while afterward since your teeth and gums will be sensitive and swollen.
That said, there may be some situations where eating beforehand can complicate the procedure. Be sure to discuss any potential issues before scheduling your appointment.
Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco
As a rule, you should avoid tobacco altogether. Cigarettes and chewing tobacco can eat away at your enamel, and they substantially increase your risk of oral cancer and other diseases. However, if you smoke or drink, you should avoid doing both at least 24 hours before your appointment.
Alcohol and tobacco can inhibit your body’s ability to heal, so it can take longer for the pain and swelling to go away. It is also recommended to avoid alcohol and tobacco for several days after the procedure, if possible.
Get Plenty of Rest
While it’s natural to feel nervous before a root canal, it’s best to focus on how much better you’ll feel afterward. Tooth and gum pain can be quite disruptive to your daily life, so a root canal alleviates this discomfort.
One of the best ways to heal after any dental procedure is to get plenty of rest. If you didn’t sleep well the night before, the stress of a lack of sleep can slow the healing process. If possible, you may also want to take a nap after the procedure so your body can repair itself faster.
We’re here to take care of your oral hygiene. If you have any questions, concerns, or doubts about your root canal, please ask as many questions as possible. We want to ensure that you feel positive and confident about this procedure, so we’ll walk you through every step of the process.
Take Care of Your Dental Health With Herbert Family Dentistry
Whether you need to schedule a root canal or a standard teeth cleaning, Herbert Family Dentistry is here for you. We offer various services to help you and your family have the brightest smile possible. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or ask for a consultation.