How to Prep for Your Root Canal
July 1, 2018
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Patient at dentists office, getting her teeth examined

Just leaving the dental chair after being told you need a root canal? If so, you’re in the right place because we’re here to help you know what to expect during the procedure, why it’s necessary and how to prepare for the recovery period.


Why Is A Root Canal Necessary?

A root canal is a procedure intended to preserve a damaged tooth and keep you from losing the tooth. By the time you require a root canal, the tooth’s pulp is typically already infected. A root canal removes infected tooth pulp so that the tooth can stay in place and the patient can avoid extraction.

Know What to Expect

Here’s how a root canal is performed, step by step, to help you better understand exactly what you can expect during treatment.

  1. Your dentist will administer local anesthesia to numb the tooth with a needle. It’s common to feel a bit of a pinch in the area when the needle initially goes in. After the tooth is numb, your provider will place a dental dam to keep the tooth clean and dry during the procedure.
  2. Your dentist will then use a very small tool, typically a small drill, to access the inside of the tooth by creating an opening in the top portion of the tooth.
  3. Next, the dentist will use tiny tools to clear away the damaged and diseased pulp from the inside of the tooth.
  4. The inner chamber of the tooth will be shaped and water will be used to wash away any remaining pulp.
  5. An antimicrobial solution will be applied to kill any remaining bacteria and reduce the risk of further infection.
  6. Once the chamber is thoroughly cleaned and dried, the provider will fill it with a rubber-like material, and close the opening in your tooth with a temporary filling.
  7. After a few weeks, your dentist will finish the treatment by placing a permanent crown or a similar type of restoration on the top of the tooth. This is not always necessary, depending on the location of your tooth.

Depending on the condition of your natural tooth, your tooth may require a small supporting post inside of the root chamber to make the crown restoration more stable.

Talk to Your Dentist about Your Personal Experience

Before scheduling a root canal, talk to your dentist about which tooth (or teeth) will be treated, and whether multiple root canals will be completed in a single appointment. Learn whether your dentist will be placing a crown over the tooth after it has healed and how long it will take to receive your new crown. Knowing what to expect for your specific situation will help you mentally plan out the entire process and have peace of mind in knowing exactly what to expect.

Discuss Sedation if you Have Dental Anxiety

If just reading this post about how a root canal is performed is already sending your dental anxiety through the roof, be sure to discuss sedation with your dentist when planning for a root canal. We never want our patients to be uncomfortable and will do anything we can to help ease your anxiety before, during or after treatment.

Have Some Soft Foods Waiting in the Fridge

Your mouth will be tender and sore after your appointment, so stock up on some soft foods to keep you from having to bite directly on the tooth that just went through a root canal.

Take This Opportunity to Ramp Up Your Oral Hygiene

There are many different reasons that a root canal becomes necessary, but if yours was due to a runaway cavity, now is a great time to fine-tune your oral hygiene. At your next appointment, ask our team what you can do to improve your oral hygiene routine and prevent a future root canal situation.

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