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Root Canals: What to Expect Before & After the Procedure


If you have been told that you need a root canal, you are undoubtedly a little nervous about the procedure ahead. This procedure is done to save a badly decayed or infected tooth by removing the pulp from the center of the tooth and filling the cavity that is left behind. Although it is a relatively simple procedure, it will require you to undergo local anesthesia. For this reason, it is important to know what you should expect before, during and after your root canal procedure.

Prepping for Your Root Canal Procedure

In the days leading up to your root canal procedure, there are a few simple steps that you can take to minimize pain and improve your chances of a speedy recovery. While nothing should be done without the approval of your dentist, most will recommend that you complete a few steps:

  • Take an anti-inflammatory (NSAID): non-steroidal anti-inflammatories like Ibuprofen can significantly reduce pain and swelling. Your dentist may recommend taking one a few days before the procedure, as well as a few days after in order to improve your recovery.
  • Get a good night’s sleep the day before: the day before your root canal procedure, you should make sure that you get to bed early. Not only will this help to reduce your anxiety about the procedure, but it will also improve your ability to think and react clearly.
  • Eat a good meal prior to the procedure: root canal procedures can take anywhere from one to three hours, so it is important that you eat a good meal prior to your appointment. This will ensure that you aren’t bothered by an upset or hungry stomach during the procedure.

What to Expect During Your Root Canal

When your tooth has reached the point of decay, extreme measures must be taken to save it. Root canals aren’t fun – but really, what dental procedure is? Fortunately, you can trust that your smile will be in capable hands when you work with Dr. Weitzman at Ventura County Center for Cosmetic Dentistry. He was rated the “Top Dentist in Ventura County” from 2012 to 2013. With a gentle touch, Dr. Weitzman will do everything he can to ensure that your recovery is as painless as possible.

When you come in for your root canal procedure, your dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. They will then inject the area with additional numbing medicine in order to ensure that you do not feel any pain during the procedure. Your dentist will then prep the area by separating your tooth from the rest of your mouth with a shield. Next, they will drill into the center of your tooth in order to remove the pulp. Finally, the center will be filled with medicine and a filling.

How to Handle the Aftermath of a Root Canal

In almost any case, you are going to feel some degree of pain in the days following your root canal procedure. Swelling and sensitivity is normal, so there is no reason for concern. Over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen can help to reduce pain safely and effectively, but your dentist may also write you a prescription if the pain is more severe. In order to minimize the recovery time, it is important to follow your dentist’s advice – which may include some of the following tips:

  • Avoid solid foods for a while: nothing will exacerbate the pain more than trying to chew solid foods after a root canal procedure. Give your mouth a break by sticking to soft foods or liquids and maintaining regular brushing and flossing habits to stave off possible infection.
  • Sleep with your head elevated: your dentist may recommend sleeping with your head elevated after the procedure to help alleviate some of the pressure. You should also avoid doing anything strenuous or rigorous to ensure that your recovery is as speedy as possible.
  • Avoid nicotine & alcohol: consuming either nicotine and/or alcohol can hinder the recovery process after a root canal procedure. For this reason, it would be best to avoid smoking cigarettes or consuming alcohol entirely in the days following your operation.

Have more questions? Call Mark Weitzman D.D.S. today!

If you have been experiencing intense tooth pain, prolonged sensitivity or swelling near your gums, it may be time for a root canal. Don’t put off a trip to the dentist any longer – after all, the longer you wait, the worse your symptoms will get. The Ventura County Center for Cosmetic Dentistry offers a wide range of dental services at a rate you can afford. Don't wait to give us a call!

Contact our office today for a free consultation: (805) 295-8896.

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