The root canal treatment is by far the most feared dental procedure among Canadians. What is worse is that most people who are scared of the dentist base their anxiety on someone else’s experiences, not their own. Unfortunately, the vast amount of inaccurate information regarding root canal treatments found on the internet prevents people with dental problems to make an informed decision regarding oral health.
If the mere thought of undergoing a root canal sends shivers down your spine, don’t forget that without it you risk losing the tooth. Since you don’t want to undergo a second root canal procedure in the near future, then here are some tips on how to prepare for the upcoming treatment.
• Inquire if you need to take antibiotics
A root canal treatment is usually recommended when there is a persistent infection around the tooth or at its roots. Taking an oral antibiotic can sometimes help destroy the bacteria responsible for the infection. In addition to chemically destroying bacteria, antibiotics are also known to reduce swelling and even speed up the healing process following the procedure. However, you can’t simply take any antibiotic and hope to get all these effects, especially since you can be allergic to certain pills. The best approach is to discuss this issue with the dentist performing the root canal.
• Take a NSAID a couple of days prior to the procedure
A further efficient method of reducing swelling and inflammation is with NSAIDs. The NSAIDs are a group of drugs that act by blocking the production of the chemicals believed to be associated with pain and inflammation. For best results, it is recommended you take them a few days prior to the treatment and a couple of days after the root canal. The advantage of NSAIDs is that some can be taken with other pain killers prescribed by the dentist with no side effects. Then again, it is advisable to discuss taking NSAIDs with your dentist in advance, as they are contraindicated with some health conditions.
• Get a good night’s rest before the appointment
Irrespective of whether you scheduled an appointment for a root canal treatment or your bi-annual regular checkup, you should go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep. Not only will getting enough rest improve your overall well-being, but it can also help reduce anxiety levels in patients who are afraid of the dentist. In case you’re terrified of the dentist appointment, keep in mind that there are other ways to reduce the stress and anxiety. For instance, you can ask your dentist to use some laughing gas or nitrous oxide before the root canal. In the worst case scenario, you can even discuss the possibility of taking some form of conscious sedative prior to the procedure.
• Eat well before the root canal procedure
Besides sleeping, having a good meal before your dentist appointment is another great way to improve your emotional response to the treatment. Because a root canal can last between one and three hours, eating a healthy meal beforehand ensure you won’t have to worry about being hungry or having an upset stomach. Moreover, following the root canal, chances are that your mouth will be numb and hence, you won’t actually be able to eat anything until later that evening.
• Have all the follow-up restorative work completed
Although it usually takes one or two appointments to perform the root canal, there is a possibility you will need more sometimes, to ensure the tooth functions properly. This is especially true for large infections at the back teeth because they also require a crown to prevent the tooth from fracturing. While you might be scared, it is best to attend to all necessary follow-up restorative work and avoid multiple problems in the future.