What to Expect During a Root Canal

Each year, many people visit the dentist in order to obtain a healthy smile. Research from 2017 found that nearly 127.6 million adults throughout the United States visited a dentist. It makes sense to feel anxious about visiting the dentist, especially after learning you might need to receive a root canal. Considering that, many people find it helpful to learn about what this process entails. Here’s what to expect before, during, and, after receiving a root canal.

Preparing for a Root Canal Procedure

In most cases, you’ll need to schedule an initial appointment with your dentist before receiving a root canal. This visit allows dental staff to gain a deeper understanding of your overall oral health. In addition, you’ll likely receive a dental cleaning. This type of cleaning removes plaque from your teeth. Cleanings are also useful for detecting the presence of cavities before they become larger problems.

Dental cavities are more common than you think. Research obtained during 2011-2012 found that almost 91% of adults throughout the United States had some type of experience with dental cavities. Once you’re teeth receive a professional cleaning, you’ll be able to receive a root canal. If your affected tooth is causing immense amounts of pain, an emergency dentist might skip the cleaning and begin treatment immediately. Waiting too long to treat these types of problems could mean needing to make a frantic visit to an emergency dental care facility.

What to Expect During a Root Canal

Before receiving a root canal, you’ll receive medication that numbs your mouth. A dentist typically administers this medication by giving you a shot. Don’t worry, this only lasts a moment and it’s far less painful than receiving this procedure without any type of medication. Next, a dentist should wait to ensure that your mouth is fully numb. If you’re someone with anxiety about visiting the dentist, you’ll also want to think about asking for nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is administered to a patient by placing a small mask over their nose. The purpose of this medication is to make you feel calm throughout the duration of your root canal.

Once the root canal begins, a dentist will create an opening in your tooth. Next, a dentist will use small instruments to remove any infected pulp. After removing the pulp, dental professionals will pack the opening with a type of filling. To protect the structural integrity of your tooth, dentists place a crown over your tooth. In addition, it’s common for a small metal rod to be placed inside of your tooth. This further helps to stabilize your tooth’s structural integrity.

Important Aftercare Tips

In most cases, you shouldn’t expect any problems to arise after receiving a root canal. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the chance of anything going wrong after this procedure. With that in mind, here are a few important aftercare tips to follow.

  • Avoid Chewing Food on the Treated Side of Your Mouth

    At some point, after your root canal procedure is over, you will feel hungry. When you begin eating, try to avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure took place. If you received a root canal on the left side of your mouth, chew on the right side. Your treated tooth is going to feel sensitive for a few days. Therefore, chewing on this side of your mouth could cause you to feel pain.
  • If Deemed Safe, Take Over the Counter Pain Medication

    Your dentist will likely recommend taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help you deal with any pain after your root canal is completed. Feeling a bit of pain is normal for most patients in this situation. If you’re dealing with severe amounts of pain, seek out an emergency dental care facility.

To summarize, it’s important to know what to expect throughout the root canal process. Research obtained from 2015 found that 20% of adults throughout the United States dealt with anxiety because of the condition of their teeth and mouth. To avoid anxiety and pain, schedule an appointment with your dentist. If you experience extreme pain that lingers after your root canal, it’s wise to seek out an emergency dental care facility. Finding an emergency dental care facility helps to ensure you receive treatment at any time.

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