How to Prepare for a Root Canal

Root canal. Two words that are known for striking fear into the hearts of people around the world. BUT, modern root canal treatment certainly doesn’t deserve the harsh reputation it earned over previous decades. Thanks to advances in both the tools and techniques used and anesthetic, today’s root canal procedures are no more invasive or uncomfortable than simply getting a cavity filling.


Root canal infections occur when bacteria manage to penetrate the root of a tooth. This usually happens when a tooth is severely decayed or damaged or has a filling that doesn’t fit properly and lets bacteria in around it. Unfortunately, root canal infections can have serious consequences for your oral health, as well as making tooth loss a very real possibility.

Signs You Might Need A Root Canal

The difficulty with a root canal is that the symptoms that are experienced in the early stages are also present with other dental problems. They include:


  • Pain when biting and chewing

  • Pain when you eat or drink anything particularly hot or cold

  • A tooth that seems loose


However, as the infection in the root canal progresses, many people find that their symptoms ease or even disappear for a little while. This is a result of the pulp dying, preventing the nerves within it from sending pain signals between the tooth and your brain. However, within a few weeks, further symptoms will start to return. Not only will these include the original symptoms listed above, but they could also be accompanied by:


  • Swelling on the gum near the affected tooth

  • Swelling of the face on the same side as the tooth

  • Pus oozing from the affected tooth

  • The tooth becoming darker in color


Your dentist will be able to diagnose a root canal infection. Unfortunately, antibiotics are ineffective at treating oral infections. A root canal procedure is the only viable course of action, and the best way to save your tooth, which will otherwise almost certainly fall out.

How Can I Prepare For A Root Canal?

Preparing for any dental procedure can help to minimize the likelihood of complications both during your procedure and while you are recovering following your treatment. Your dentist will provide you with specific advice to help get you ready ahead of your appointment. Your instructions will almost certainly include some of the following:


Avoid Alcohol For At Least 24 Hours Before

Alcohol is a blood thinner, and this can increase your risk of bleeding excessively during your root canal.


Don’t Smoke For At Least 48 Hours Before

Smoking isn’t just bad for your general health, it also increases your risk of complications in any medical procedure, including root canal. It lengthens your recovery time too. This is because smoking inhibits the amount of oxygen and nutrient in the blood, preventing vital healing ingredients from reaching the site of the wound.


Eat Before You Come In

You certainly won’t feel like eating for a little while after your root canal procedure as your mouth will be numb from the anesthetic for several hours, making it difficult to eat and likely that you’ll bite the inside of your mouth and injure yourself. You’ll have to avoid any hot drinks and food during that time too, as you could accidentally burn yourself.


Take a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory 1 Hour Before Treatment

This will get to work quickly, fighting any inflammation that will likely develop after your root canal procedure.


If You Aren’t Sure, Ask!

Your dentist understands everything there is to know about root canal and is best placed to answer any questions that you may have about the procedure. If you are unclear on anything, don’t be afraid to ask!




For more information about root canal treatment, visit Elite Dentistry & Implant Center in Chelsea, Alabama. Call 205-224-0040 to schedule an appointment today.