What should you not do before a root canal?
When you have a root canal scheduled with an endodontist, you should know what you should do and what to avoid before the procedure. Good preparation can help you to have a more relaxed experience and reduce the chances of complications.
Understanding Root Canals
Before knowing how to prepare for a root canal, you need to understand why you need the procedure and what happens during it. Once you realize how important root canal therapy is to save your smile, you’ll feel more motivated to prepare yourself for the procedure as best as you can.
Why You Might Need a Root Canal
Root canals are a type of endodontic care that attempts to save a decayed or infected tooth. Endodontists typically perform this minimally invasive, non-surgical treatment to clean out a tooth with severe decay, treat infection in the pulp, and save all or part of a cracked or broken tooth.
After the root canal, you will find that your pre-treatment pain quickly subsides within days. As with all types of endodontic care, root canals can save your teeth and reduce your chances of needing dentures or dental implants later in life due to tooth loss.
Process of a Root Canal
For a root canal, your endodontist will likely take images of your tooth if they didn’t during your initial consultation. These digital views of your mouth help them to plan the procedure. The imaging process is painless and takes just a few minutes.
Next, the endodontist will prepare you for the process by injecting local anesthesia to numb your mouth. This ensures that you have a painless root canal. Once you can no longer feel anything, the endodontist will begin the procedure. Since the local anesthesia does not put you to sleep or sedate you, you can drive after your root canal.
While some endodontists will drill into the tooth and use tools to scrape out the infected pulp, the team at Southwest Endodontics uses the GentleWave system. This device effectively cleans out the tooth, even the smallest nooks, and crannies, with sound and water movement. With the GentleWave system, most root canals only require a single appointment, and patients may experience fewer complications compared to older root canal methods.
Once the endodontist removes your tooth pulp and infected material, they will fill and seal the tooth. If you have the procedure done on a large molar, you’ll likely need to get a crown to replace the temporary filling. Ask your endodontist for their recommendations on post-procedure dental work.
What Should You Not Do Before a Root Canal
You need to avoid a few things before the procedure to ensure success for your root canal.
While people once joked about the pain of root canals, the truth is that these procedures are painless and take only a couple of hours at the most. In addition, you may only need one appointment for the root canal procedure if your endodontist uses the GentleWave system.
You have nothing to fear from endodontic treatment. Your endodontist will ensure that you are completely numb before they begin.
Don’t Delay Scheduling Your Root Canal
Taking too long to set up your root canal appointment can cause serious complications. Bacteria inside your tooth do not stop eating away at the pulp and tooth structures. Waiting too long can cause loss of the essential parts of the tooth. At this point, you will have to have the tooth pulled.
Don’t Choose a Provider at Random for Your Root Canal
Skip going to the dentist for a root canal. Endodontists take another two years of training to specialize in ensuring pain-free treatment of tooth pulp. They also perform more root canals weekly than dentists. Therefore, with an endodontist, you have a more practiced expert who can ensure that you have a painless, tooth-saving experience.
Don’t Overschedule Yourself on the Day of Your Procedure
While you can go back to school or work as soon as you complete your root canal procedure, you may not want to. Talking will be difficult until the anesthesia wears off, and you may want to relax at home after having the procedure.
Most people don’t have serious pain once the anesthesia wears off, likening the discomfort to having a cavity filled. However, they do feel extra pressure and sensitivity, which could make focusing on work the rest of the day difficult.
Give yourself a chance to rest and recover. If you feel okay, you can return to work or school.
What Should You Do Before a Root Canal
Before a root canal, there are some things that you will want to make sure to do. Add these to your checklist before your root canal appointment:
Have a Good Meal
Because the local anesthetic will make eating and drinking dangerous until it wears off, you should have a good meal that will sustain you for several hours. If you try to eat or drink with your mouth numb, you could bite the soft tissues in your mouth or tongue instead of your food.
Brush Your Teeth
As you would after most meals, brush your teeth following your pre-root canal appointment. Brushing and flossing freshen your breath for the endodontist and removes food particles that could contaminate the root canal-treated tooth.
Care for After a Root Canal
Following a root canal, most people can get back to their regular routines and don’t need prescription pain medication. To prevent pain, take ibuprofen according to package directions every six hours. Don’t wait until you feel discomfort. Taking the medicine four times a day ensures that your pain levels don’t get too high.
If you need a crown over the treated tooth, avoid eating on that side of your mouth until you can have your permanent crown placed. Root canal-treated molars tend to be weaker until they have crowns placed over them to restore their strength.
Adhere to all instructions from your endodontist regarding follow-up appointments with them or your dentist. These appointments ensure that your tooth heals properly and you do not have complications developing.
Trust the Team at Southwest Endodontics for Exceptional Root Canal Treatment
The most important thing you should do before a root canal is find an endodontist you can trust. Contact us at Southwest Endodontics for your root canal or other endodontic treatment. We’ll give you compassionate, painless care that can preserve your teeth.