When your tooth is badly decayed or infected, your dentist may recommend you for a root canal.
The term “root canal” comes from cleaning of the canals inside a tooth’s root. During the procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed. In this way, infection on the tissue surrounding the affected tooth is prevented.
What can you expect during the procedure?
A root canal procedure usually involves the following steps:
1. The dentist takes a radiographic image of the tooth using X-ray then administers local anesthesia.
2. Once the tooth is numb, the dentist places a “dental dam” to isolate the tooth, keeping it clean and free from saliva during the procedure.
3. An opening in the crown of the tooth is created and using small, specialized instruments; the dentist cleans the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canal and shapes the space for filling.
4. The dentist fills the root canal with a rubber-like material. An adhesive cement is used to ensure complete sealing of the root canal.
In many cases, a temporary filling is used to close the opening. This will be removed before the restoration of the tooth.
5. You will be scheduled for another visit to your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it.
How can you prepare for it?
Just like any dental procedure, right and timely preparation is the key in making the procedure and recovery more comfortable for you. Here are some tips on how you can prepare for your root canal:
* If painkillers will be prescribed post-procedure, it’s best that you pick up the prescriptions so you won’t have to worry about it after the procedure.
* Discuss with your dentist the aftercare of the procedure before it’s done. In this way, you’ll have time to prepare for what’s needed.
* Get enough sleep the night before the procedure. When your body is in optimal health, recovery will be faster and easier.
* Freeze ice before your scheduled procedure. There can be pain and swelling after the procedure and ice can help in alleviating those.
* In some cases, antibiotics are prescribed prior to the procedure. Take the full recommended dose and do not stop midway even if you think you no longer need it.
* Never hesitate to ask questions to your dentist. This often helps in alleviating your anxiety towards the procedure.
If you are severely anxious, a tranquilizer may be given prior to treatment.