When a tooth becomes inflamed or infected, a root canal procedure will help preserve the tooth by removing the nerve and cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth. While that may sound like a laborious process, they are quite common and can be highly effective at remedying pain and saving a tooth. To help you know what to expect from the procedure, below are some important things to anticipate when you’re scheduled for the procedure.
Before the procedure, you will likely have explored other options with your dentists. These options include getting a dental implant or having the tooth pulled out. But preserving the tooth via a root canal is often preferable because you’re keeping the original tooth to utilize for chewing and maintaining the natural structure within the mouth. And the procedure is typically much more affordable than extensive cosmetic dentistry as well as more likely to be covered by your insurance.
You won't need to do much in the way of preparation for the procedure. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes, and you may want to bring along earbuds to listen to music or a podcast; the procedure is much longer than a typical filling.
The dentist will give you a numbing agent to deaden the nerve in and around the root canal system. This will be a higher dose of Novocain than what you would normally get for a filling or a crown. You'll likely hear some noise as the dentist drills at the tooth to remove the nerve and pulp as the interior of the tooth is suctioned and cleaned out. Then your tooth will be filled with the appropriate material. If you're getting a crown put on, you’ll now be fitted for the crown—a temporary one will be affixed until the permanent one is ready.
After a root canal, take it easy. Your mouth will be numb for a few hours, and you may experience some discomfort. Pain levels tend to peak within 24 hours of the procedure and then gradually diminish. Consult your doctor about appropriate pain medication and aftercare steps. Try to sleep with your head in an upright position, and avoid solid foods until the pain and numbness have dissipated. If the pain is excruciating, your face or cheek swells, you develop a fever, or any type of allergic reaction is present, contact the dentist right away.
While a root canal may be one of the more intense dental procedures out there, knowing what to expect will make it much easier to navigate. Your dentist will be there to guide you at every step. Bellasera Family Dentistry provides the Mecklenburg County, NC, area with all types of dental treatment, including root canals, crowns and bridges, and Invisalign®. Call (704) 321-7929, visit them online, or message them on Facebook to arrange an appointment.