Root Canal – What You Need to Know Before Treatment
Understand what a root canal is and how it can benefit your oral health! We will lead you through the process of getting a root canal and empower you with knowledge for making the right decisions.
A root canal is a highly effective treatment for decayed or damaged teeth. It involves removing the affected tissue in the tooth, cleaning it out, and sealing it to protect against further decay or damage.
Our dentists operate root canals to save teeth that are broken or have an infection deep within the tooth. The inflamed or diseased pulp, the central section of a tooth containing connective tissue, blood vessels, and other cells, is removed during the root canal surgery. A pulp infection can be painful and can result in tooth loss. Our dentists clean and fill the tooth’s core after removing the infectious material from the pulp.
While our dentists conduct the majority of the “hard lifting” when it comes to root canals, you can take actions to reduce pain and improve your results.
By understanding what a root canal is and how it can benefit your oral health, you can make an informed decision about your best course of action.
What Is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a conventional dental procedure involving removing damage and decay from inside a tooth. During the procedure, the dentist removes the infected tissue, then cleans and seals up the inside of the tooth. By removing the decayed area, further decay and damage can be prevented while restoring the natural functioning of your tooth.
When Is a Root Canal Necessary?
A root canal can be necessary when the inside of a tooth is damaged or infected due to extensive decay. If left untreated, the infection could spread, cause further damage, and even require tooth extraction.
Your dentist may also recommend this procedure if you’ve had trauma to the teeth that have resulted in nerve death. To establish whether a root canal is necessary, your dentist will conduct an assessment which includes x-rays.
How to Prepare for a Root Canal
From You to Your Dentist
· Ask questions
Any surgery can induce anxiety and tension, especially if you’re unsure what to expect. Our dentists are always happy to address any queries you may have.
· Consult your dentist about antibiotics.
Infections can cause swelling and pain, making the root canal and rehabilitation more difficult. Antibiotics can also lower your chances of acquiring an infection following your root canal. In rare circumstances, our dentist may advise you to take antibiotics.
· Avoid Tobacco, Smoking, and Alcohol for 24 hours before your operation.
Tobacco can alter how blood flows through your veins and may result in bleeding difficulties before and after your root canal.
Smoking can also make it harder to recuperate.
Alcohol can dry your mouth, change blood clots, create a fast heartbeat, and even depress your central nervous system.
· Rest well.
Get a good night’s sleep before your appointment to ensure your body is ready for the treatment.
Plan on getting a whole night’s sleep after your root canal because your body mostly heals itself while you sleep.
· Feel free to eat something before your root canal.
Our dentist will numb the tooth and surrounding tissue with an anesthetic. This anesthetic takes several hours to wear off completely, and the numbness may make eating difficult.
So, eat a light meal a couple of hours before your root canal to avoid feeling hungry right after.
· You may need to organize a ride home.
Most patients require mild anesthesia to relieve pain from a root canal and hence do not require transportation home.
However, some individuals require sedation or even general anesthesia before having a root canal and may benefit from having a driver.
Please speak with our dentist before your visit to establish whether you may require transportation home following your root canal.
· Stock up on the proper foods.
You can resume eating once the numbness has passed. Avoid spicy, hard foods in favor of soft, cool foods. Soft foods are simple to chew or do not require any chewing at all. Cool meals can be soothing to inflamed tissue and minimize any edema that may be present.
On the other hand, hot, crunchy meals might irritate the treatment area, causing discomfort and slowing healing.
Our dentists advise our patients to eat these foods following a root canal operation while inflammation is present: smoothies, soft cereals, yogurt, pudding, and milkshakes.
Once the irritation has subsided, our dentists recommend the following foods:
- Fruits like bananas, pears, peaches, and mangos. You can also eat applesauce and continue to take fruit smoothies.
- Ice cream without nuts, crunchy bits, or chunks
- Mashed vegetables like potatoes or cauliflower
- Eggs, Tofu, Humus
- Oats, cream of wheat
- Pasta, sushi, and noodles
Stock up on these foods before your root canal appointment to save a trip to the store right after the surgery.
Hot beverages, sipping via straws, and eating things that require sucking, such as hard candy or lollipops, can promote gum inflammation, discomfort, and poor recovery.
· Plan to rest for at least two days after your root canal.
Rest allows your body to recuperate. Avoid vigorous activities for at least 48 hours following your root canal operation, such as working out or heavy lifting.
Exercising too soon after a root canal can cause bleeding and make your mouth achy. Our dentists can advise you on how long you should rest.
· Create a “comfort zone” for your recovery.
Prepare a comfy place to rest before your appointment. Place comfortable gear, such as your favorite hoodie or sweatpants, in a convenient location. Set up a modest tray that can carry your snacks, beverages, laptop or tablet, phone, and TV remote, for example, on your favorite recliner.
From Your Dentist to You
Before getting a root canal, your dentist may recommend that you have an X-ray and receive local anesthetics.
During the procedure, the dental professional will gently remove the infected or dead tissue inside the tooth. Once cleared out, the dentist will proceed to thoroughly clean the tooth before being filled with a biocompatible material and sealed. Depending on the situation, a crown may be recommended to offer protection for the weakened tooth.
The Procedure of a Root Canal
A root canal procedure typically consists of at least two visits to the dentist.
During the first visit, your dentist will evaluate and diagnose the severity of the issue before recommending a course of treatment. Then, medication may be applied to reduce swelling, and numbing agents will be used for your comfort.
The infected area of the tooth will then be opened up and cleared out with special tools until it is free of infection and debris. Afterward, your dentist will insert a bio-compatible material into the space to fill it. Sometimes, your dentist may seal it with adhesive cement or a temporary filling to protect it until your next appointment.
Complications can occur with any surgery, and this one is no exception.
A dentist may discover only three root canals in a tooth with four. The infection may likely spread to the bone if this is the case.
The dentist must also ensure that the filling substance penetrates far enough into the canal to fill it completely. The infection may resurface if the root canal is not fully sealed.
The tooth’s root may split during the procedure, or the instruments may break or perforate the canal. This makes it challenging to fill the tooth effectively.
Having a professional dentist cannot be overemphasized. A professional will attempt to resolve the issue and complete the root canal if difficulties arise.
You should always follow the dentist’s advice to avoid difficulties. If an antibiotic is required, you must complete the entire prescription.
Once root canal therapy is completed, a permanent repair, such as a crown, must be installed.
Post-Root Canal Care
After your root canal, it’s essential to take extra care of the area you had treated.
This includes avoiding hard foods and brushing gently around the treated tooth multiple times daily. Additionally, make sure to attend regular check-ups with your dentist to monitor your tooth health’s progress and provide any further treatments that may be necessary.
With proper care and maintenance, you can preserve the results of your root canal for years to come!
A note from A-Dental Center
It can be scary to have tooth discomfort or swelling in your jaw. Fortunately, root canal therapy can treat infection at its source, allowing you to feel well sooner. Prompt treatment can prevent infection from spreading and ease discomfort, allowing you to resume your everyday life. If you have an abscessed or infected tooth, contact us immediately.