The thought of a root canal instills anxiety if not outright fear in many people. But if your dentist says you need a root canal, it really shouldn’t frighten you. The days of painful root canals are long gone. Today, tales of root canal pain are frequently exaggerated and often simply untrue. Such stories do a disservice to dental health if a person avoids a root canal because of misinformation.
Here’s the truth: When you experience pain in any of your teeth, it should be addressed as soon as possible. By acting immediately, you’ll feel better sooner and likely save the tooth, and save yourself from the horrendous pain a too problem can cause. In some cases of tooth pain a root canal may be the appropriate procedure. If that’s the case, your dentist should refer you to an endodontist—a root canal specialist. And with modern dental techniques, along with significant advances in instrument technology, the discomfort associated with a root canal procedure has been minimized or completely eliminated.
Before we go any further, let’s take a minute to explain what a root canal is: It’s a procedure that’s used to treat an infected tooth that is too far gone to treat with a normal filling. In performing a root canal, the endodontist numbs the area, removes infected tooth pulp, fills the entire pulp cavity, and seals the tooth. The infection is prevented from spreading to other teeth or deeper into the nerves. Root canals often relieve tooth pain almost immediately.
While today’s root canal treatments are virtually pain-free and usually require only one or two appointments, there are some things you can do to reduce anxiety and prepare yourself for the procedure:
- Talk to your dentist or endodontist about the procedure. Find out if you will need any medications such as antibiotics prior to the treatment or in aftercare. If so, get everything before the procedure; you don’t want to have to run around picking up prescriptions after the fact. Stock up on ice too; you’ll use it to prevent inflammation or ease any swelling that may occur.
- Do your best to feel well the day of the procedure. Try and get a good night’s sleep. You need to be in good health and rested. You’ll need to eat well too. After the root canal, you may be limited to soft foods for a couple of days.
- Don’t smoke or drink alcohol for at least 12 hours before the procedure. Both can slow the healing process. Smoking, especially, can be a risk factor for inflammation or infection.
- Relax. We know that’s easier said than done, but keep this in mind: root canals are done every day. They’re a common and highly successful procedure.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions. Ask your dentist or endodontist about any aspect of the root canal procedure. Questions could include the subjects of urgency, pain, alternative treatments, aftercare, medication, even your endodontist’s experience, or anything else you want to know about the process.
And finally, keep in mind that the thought of a root canal is scarier than the reality; the reality is easy.
Don’t hesitate to contact our office and let us address any concerns you have. You’ll find we are committed to your comfort and safety. Our staff uses the latest root canal technology and instruments to properly diagnose and map out a patient’s root canal, thoroughly disinfect and prepare the canal for treatment, and successfully fill and seal the canal when treatment is completed. Remember that there is no equivalent replacement for the natural tooth, so when a tooth can be saved, it is in your best interest to consult an endodontist and save that tooth.
About Professional Endodontics
Professional Endodontics has been exceeding the standard of care in Wayne and Macomb counties for over 50 years. The team specializes in treating issues with the inside of the tooth and goes out of its way to provide a safe easy environment for patients. Each member of the practice is dedicated to providing excellence in patient care and values high-quality relationships with referring dentists and specialists. Each endodontist at Professional Endodontics has been individually chosen as Hour Detroit Magazine’s Best Dentists. Thanks to contemporary advances in endodontics, Professional Endodontics is able to use innovative technology to treat and save teeth that have suffered damage to the soft tissue within the roots of the tooth.
Professional Endodontics offers state-of-the-art facilities in Clarkston, Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores, and Southfield. All locations offer the latest in advanced dental delivery systems, microscopy, and digital radiography.
6803 Dixie Highway
Clarkston, MI 48346
29201 Telegraph Road
Southfield, MI 48034
Henry Ford Hospital Medical Pavilion
16151 19 Mile Rd, Suite 101
Clinton Township, MI 48038
St. Clair Shores
St. Clair Professional Plaza
23829 Little Mack, Suite 300
St. Clair Shores, MI 48080