Posted on: 27 April 2015Share
Getting a root canal is something that most patients feel extremely anxious about. However, the procedure is usually as painless as having a regular filling. The best way to reduce your anxieties is to fully understand the procedure, so take the time to read this quick and easy guide.
What is a root canal?
Root canal procedures are used to repair teeth which are badly decayed or infected, saving them from extraction. This will involve the removal of the nerve and pulp, the cleaning and filling of the empty canal space, and the placement of a temporary crown. The tooth will then be restored during a subsequent appointment.
How long will it take?
Root canal appointments typically last from one to one and a half hours. However, infection or large amounts of decay will often mean that multiple appointments are necessary.
Will it hurt?
Modern medical advances mean that you shouldn't experience any amount of pain during a root canal. Before work begins you will be given an injection of strong local anaesthetic which will block feeling from the affected area. If you are particularly anxious, it is sometimes possible to request a sedative.
However, though you should experience no direct pain, there might be an element of discomfort. You will still be able to feel pressure and hear the sounds of dental equipment, which can be unsettling for some patients. However, unless the area is severely inflamed or infected, discomfort should be no greater than it would be for a filling.
How should I prepare?
Talk to your doctor about all medications prior to the surgery. Anything taken for serious conditions should be fine, but the dentist will still need to know about them. You will probably need to refrain from taking any blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin, but it can be beneficial to take ibuprofen around an hour before your appointment.
You should also make sure that you get plenty of sleep the night before, and have a large meal before the surgery itself.
What will happen afterwards?
The tooth will feel somewhat different, and you may experience minor discomfort for a few days after the procedure. You should avoid eating until the numbness wears off, and avoid biting or chewing with the treated tooth until it has been restored, though you can brush and floss as you normally would. You should contact your dentist or endodontist like Inner West Endodontics as soon as possible if you notice visible swelling, a reaction to the medication, or if your bite feels uneven.