Root canals have a reputation for being the most painful dental procedure. Luckily, the procedure now is far less painful than it once was, thanks to modern anesthetics and pain management protocols.

Understanding why you need a root canal and how the procedure is accomplished is your first step in preparing for the procedure. Our dentists at Sunrise Dental in Spokane and Spokane Valley, Washington, are glad to answer any questions you may have about root canals.

What is a root canal?

Here’s a little dental anatomy lesson.

Your teeth are composed of outer enamel, middle dentin, and inner pulp. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected because of a cavity, chip, crack, or other injury, an abscess may form. When the soft pulp tissue is compromised, it must be removed from the tooth.

The tooth, however, often doesn’t need to be extracted. Leaving the tooth in place is good for your jaw and surrounding teeth.

This is when a root canal is the best option. The root canal procedure fixes the infected or decaying tooth by removing the pulp and sealing the space to stop further decay.

There are three steps to the root canal.

Step 1

You receive anesthesia to prevent pain, then our dentist creates an opening into the tooth’s pulp and clears infected tissue from the pulp chamber.

Step 2

Our dentist cleans the pulp chamber and shapes it to receive filler material. If the tooth crown is damaged, a post may be inserted to help support reconstruction over the damaged area.

Step 3

The access opening is filled, sealing off the tooth so there’s no place for bacteria to collect and grow.

Crowns, which are fitted at a later date, are often recommended for a tooth with a root canal procedure. Crowns add strength and protect the tooth against future damage.

How to prepare for a root canal

Here’s what you can do to prepare for a root canal and aid its successful outcome.

Understand the procedure

Ask questions ahead of the procedure, so you understand what to expect. This will ease anxiety during your root canal.

Don’t smoke

Nicotine changes the way blood flows through your body and increases the time it takes to recover and heal from your root canal.

Consider antibiotics

If you have an infected tooth prior to your procedure, the correct antibiotic reduces inflammation and pain prior to your root canal. This can mean you’ll need less anesthesia and ensures no further infection results.

Take your pain medication

Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, can be a preventative measure to reduce inflammation around the tooth and help with pain management.

Eat before the procedure

Figure you won’t be able to eat comfortably for several hours after the procedure, so eating two hours before your appointment is a good idea.

Root canals are no longer a painful ordeal to be avoided. The procedure can preserve a damaged tooth for many years.

If you need a root canal, contact our dental professionals at Sunrise Dental. Call us today to book an appointment.