How to Prepare for a Root Canal

While a root canal saves a tooth from extraction, no one wants to undergo one. While it takes time to allow the dentist to save the tooth (cleaning the area, adding filling, etc.), it’s worth it if patients prefer saving their natural teeth over a dental implant. Besides clearing your appointment schedule for this procedure, there are vital steps patients must obey to make the dentist’s job easier and your mind serene.

Eat This Not That

The root canal procedure will leave patients numb on one side of their mouth afterward because the anesthesia is super strong. Eating won’t be possible until the tooth nerves regain feeling, which won’t be for at least a few days. Therefore, eating before a root canal is necessary. Eat two or three hours before the procedure. The dentist won’t deal with food leftovers stuck in the tooth or food breath from farts and burps.

Food not to digest is alcohol. The anesthetic numbing the tooth area may have harsh side effects. Avoid alcohol for 24 hours.

Mental Preparation

Ask questions. It’s astonishing how many patients don’t ask questions to their dentist due to intimidation. Build up the courage to ask the dentist questions about the root canal procedure to understand what to expect. Ask about the numbing timeframe, the cost, what to eat after the procedure, and more information that’s important to you. Never assume the answers, and no question is unimportant, small, or dumb. This is your body. You need to know everything about the root canal procedure so you can take care of it afterward. Questions not answered by the dentist are solvable through thorough research.

Discuss a pain signal with the dentist. You will have difficulty telling the dentist if you are in pain during the procedure, so a signal is wise. This will offer some control over the procedure in case you need a break. Examples of pain signals include raising your hand and tapping on the dentist’s shoulder.

Sleep well before and after a root canal procedure. The body can heal the tooth faster because the immune system is strongest during sleep.

Anxiety and nervousness are normal with root canal procedures. It is important to understand that any stereotypes that come with root canal procedures are only stereotypes. Talk this out with trusted family, the dentist, and trusted friends. The best ones will calm your nerves or be a companion to the appointment.

Last, keep the mind distracted during the procedure. Happy thoughts will distract the mind from focusing on instruments in your mouth or what the dentist is inserting in the tooth. Find visualization techniques or remember positive things to put your mind at ease.

Miscellaneous, yet Helpful Advice

Do not smoke twenty-four hours before a root canal procedure. The anesthetic injection around the tooth area may have harsh side effects. Additionally, the nicotine from cigarettes or pipes changes the way blood flows through the body. Consequently, the tooth will take longer to heal.

Take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen hours before the dental appointment. The painkiller will reduce the pain, swelling, and inflammation that occur during and after the procedure.

A second way to prevent pain and swelling is icing the pain. Placing ice on the painful area before and after the procedure will help the immune system heal the tooth faster during sleep.

If the dentist recommends medication after the procedure, pick up the prescription at the nearest and affordable drugstore. The medication will eliminate infections that may arise. Take all pills as prescribed until empty, even if the symptoms vanish.

Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is not painful when a highly trained dentist is at the helm. In return, the patient must do his or her part to adhere to these precautionary measures. Not only is it beneficial for all parties involved, but the procedure will also be seamless. The pain is here now, but it will subside in the long run.

David van der Ende is a full-time blogger and part-time graphic design enthusiast. He loves to write about a broad range of topics, but his professional background in both legal and finance drives him to write on these two subjects most frequently.