If you’re like many people, just the mention of root canals fills you with apprehension. However, thanks to advances in modern dentistry, modern root canals aren’t nearly the same type of ordeal as their counterparts of the past. Root canals are an essential treatment for infected nerves inside the teeth, and without them, patients run the risk of developing abscesses that lead to systemic health issues and eventual loss of teeth. Here’s what you need to know about having a root canal:
You Probably Won’t Feel Any Pain
Most patients report that they don’t feel any pain during the root canal procedure. Your dentist will administer a local anesthesia that will leave the area comfortably numb. Many patients say they feel bored during the procedure — it can take a couple of hours — but you may be able to watch a podcast or listen to music to help the time go by more quickly.
Aftercare is Important
In order to ensure the success of your root canal, it’s essential that you follow the aftercare directions of your dentist to the letter. Aftercare advice for those who have had root canals usually includes taking over-the-counter pain relievers for any pain or discomfort you may be feeling, eating soft foods and avoiding chewing with the affected area, and drinking through a straw. If you are particularly sensitive to pain, ask your dentist about prescribing a prescription pain killer — you probably won’t need to take one for longer than a day or two. If pain persists, see your dentist as soon as possible. Try to avoid eating until the numbness of the local anesthesia wears off — otherwise, you run the risk of biting the inside of your mouth and not realizing it until later.
Keep in mind that it’s important to continue your normal brushing and flossing routine in the days following your root canal. As an added layer of protection, be sure to thoroughly rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash immediately following brushing and flossing. Failure to practice proper oral hygiene after a root canal may result in infection.
Please contact us for more information about root canals or any other questions you may have about maintaining a healthy and appealing smile.