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What to Expect From a Root Canal Procedure in Colorado Springs

What to Expect From a Root Canal Procedure in Colorado SpringsPhoto from Unsplash

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Did you know that over 15 million root canal procedures are done every single year?

It is a fairly common dental procedure that you should not be afraid of. Instead, think about it as a procedure that can actually help you and the tooth problems that you have. You will no longer have to deal with pain coming from that tooth or the stress that it may cause

If you have spoken with your dentist and they recommend a root canal procedure, you may want to know more about it and what to expect before, during, and after the procedure is done.

In this guide, we will walk you through what to expect when getting a root canal and a little more about what a root canal actually is and can do for you.

If you are ready to learn more about the root canal process, keep reading to have all of your questions answered!

What Is a Root Canal Procedure?

If you have a decade or infected tooth, your dentist may recommend a root canal procedure. During this procedure, the nerve and the pulp are removed from the inside of the tooth so that the tooth can be cleaned and then sealed up again.

The nerve and the pop are basically what runs in the inner part of your tooth. The pulp is soft, and the nerve goes through the root canal, which can cause pain before you get it if the tooth is decayed with a cavity. However, the pulp and the nerve do not impact how your tooth works – it only impacts your ability to sense sensations like hot and cold.

Why Get a Root Canal?

If your tooth is decayed or infected, you will want to get a root canal. This procedure can help save your tooth. Not only will it help to save your tooth, but it also will help prevent pain in the future.

But how do you know if you need a root canal? If you notice any of these signs, it may be time to get one and talk to your doctor:

  • Your gums become inflamed
  • You have a lot of sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • You feel a throbbing sensation around your tooth and in your mouth or jaw
  • You feel pain when chewing

If you notice any of the symptoms, it is best not to wait to talk to your dentist because waiting can make it worse.

How to Prepare for Getting a Root Canal

While the preparation for a root canal procedure is not very difficult, there are a few things that you should keep in mind before you have the procedure.

For starters, you should avoid alcohol and smoking for at least 24 hours before the procedure. You want to ensure that there is no reaction to the local anesthetic.

Before the procedure, you want to make sure that you eat since you will not be able to for a few hours afterward. This should be a meal that you love since you will be focused mainly on soft foods after the procedure.

You may also want to take ibuprofen a few hours before the treatment starts to get ahead of the inflammation and the pain the procedure may cause.

And of course, the best medication is getting a full night of sleep before and after the procedure. This will help repair the tissue and the tooth that has the procedure done. Most of the repair is done while you are sleeping when your body has time to help you recover.

With all of that said, it is most important that you discuss with your dentist the steps you should take before getting a root canal. Everyone is different, and every procedure will be slightly different, so it is important to talk with your dentist and ask them any and all questions that you have. They will be able to advise you in a way that is exactly what they want you to do before the procedure since they are the ones performing it.

What to Expect During the Procedure

The first thing that is going to happen when you get a root canal procedure done is that you will get an x-ray. The purpose of the x-ray is to see the size and the shape of the root so that your dentist knows exactly what they are doing. In the x-ray, the dentist will also be able to see any signs of infection and if that infection has spread to any of the surrounding bones.

Getting the x-rays done may happen at a previous appointment or right before the root canal procedure is done.

Once this is done, you will then receive a local anesthetic which is what numbs the tooth in the surrounding areas. This will ensure that you do not feel any pain during and for a few hours after the procedure. After you are numbed, the dentist will place a dental dam around the tooth to ensure that it stays clean and dry during the procedure.

Details of the Procedure

Now that your mouth is ready and you’re numb, the dentist will start the root canal process.

The dentist will create a hole in your infected tooth with special tools. These are typically root canal files to allow a large enough opening to get the pulp and all of the bacteria out of the tooth. This is called a pulpectomy.

During the pulpectomy, all of the pulp, decayed tissue, and bacteria will be removed so that your tooth is clean again.

Once the pulpectomy is finished, the dentist will fill the root canal to seal them. This is either a temporary filling or a crown to ensure that the hole in your tooth is now sealed.

After this initial procedure of filling the tooth, you will most likely have to return at a different appointment for a permanent filling. This could be a week or two after the initial appointment.

What to Do After a Root Canal

You will go home the same day, just a couple of hours after the procedure is complete. Once you are back on your feet and checking things off your to-do list, you will need to schedule a follow up appointment to receive your permanent filling and your permanent crown – whichever one you choose.

After the procedure, you should continue with your normal oral hygiene routine, like brushing your teeth, flossing, and using mouthwash. They should be done twice a day.

Things to Look Out For

After the procedure, you should also pay attention to how you’re feeling. Having some dull aches and pains is normal, and over-the-counter medication can help with that.

However, if you notice continued or increasing pain in the days after the procedure, you will want to contact your dentist. You want to ensure that this is normal or schedule an appointment for them to see you.

If you notice any swelling around the area, you will also want to call your dentist.

Things to Avoid

Although you will be back doing things you love the same day of the procedure, there are a few things that you need to avoid. For instance, you do not want to brush your teeth too hard and instead should be brushing them slowly and carefully so that you do not irritate the tooth further.

Here are a few other things to avoid after the procedure:

  • Do not use the side of the mouth at the root canal is on until you have a permanent crown
  • Avoid drinking any alcohol for a few weeks after the procedure
  • Avoid smoking after the procedure for correct healing
  • Avoid all and any hot or spicy foods

What to Eat After a Root Canal Procedure

Although you will be able to eat most things after the root canal procedure, there are some things that will be easier to eat in the beginning.

Here is a list of food items that will be easiest to eat after your procedure. It is best to stock up on these before you get the root canal for easier access:

  • Yogurt and smoothies for breakfast
  • Ice cream and milkshakes
  • Warm or cold soups
  • Mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, and other similar pasta dishes or rice
  • Bananas, pears, peaches, and other soft fruits
  • Pudding
  • Hummus

Eating soft foods will make it easier on you and help you avoid unnecessary pain after the procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Root Canal

Although a lot of your questions are probably answered with the above sections, you may have a few other questions left. Some of the most common questions about getting a root canal are below. Keep reading if you’re curious.

How long Will I Be Numb?

When you receive a root canal procedure, the doctor will numb your tooth and the tissue around the tooth so that you do not feel it. This is called a local anesthetic for the procedure. It will not wear off right away after the procedure is done, but rather will take a few hours.

While you are numb, you should avoid chewing and drinking anything hot so that you do not burn yourself.

Can I Chew With the Root Canal Tooth?

It is best to avoid chewing with a area that had the root canal. You should chew on the opposite side of your mouth. Once your dentist places the final restoration, you can then chew wherever you want.

Will I Be Able to Work After the Procedure?

Many people will be able to work directly after the procedure when they leave the dentist’s office. However, if you work a job where you will be in public or speaking to a lot of people, you may not want to work the rest of the day due to the numbness of your mouth. This can affect how you speak and how you smile.

However, it is up to you whether or not you work the day of the procedure. It shouldn’t prevent you from being able to work, so it’s a personal preference.

Can I Drive After the Procedure Is Over?

Because a root canal procedure only uses a local anesthetic, you can drive after the procedure. However, it is best to talk with your dentist before the procedure to know if sedation is required. If sedation is required, someone else will need to drive you home, which should be planned ahead of time.

Will My Tooth Feel Sensitive After the Procedure?

After the root canal procedure, your tooth will feel a bit sensitive. You may feel like you have a dull ache in that area.

With that said, you will most likely not need pain medication after the procedure. Instead, you can take over-the-counter medications like Advil or Tylenol for the pain. You should talk with the dentist about dosage and how long you should take the over-the-counter medication.

Even though your tooth may feel sensitive, you should still follow your normal oral hygiene routine after the root canal treatment. However, make sure that you wait about an hour before you brush your teeth so that the filling hardens.

Now You Know What to Expect From a Root Canal Procedure

Getting a root canal procedure does not need to be scary. Instead, it is a chance for you to relieve the pain that you have been feeling in your mouth.

If you are ready to discuss the procedure, contact us at Pinnacle Dentistry in Colorado Springs. We are here to answer any questions that you may have.

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