How to Prepare for your Root Canal Treatment

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Lots of people associate a trip to the dentist’s chair with pain and discomfort, and let’s not forget the embarrassment of attempting to hold a conversation with your mouth wide open. This can be enough to put it off until you have a stack of reminder cards piled sky high or until the pain gets too much to bear anymore. The problem with not attending your regular dental check-ups is that bigger problems can set in and treatments such as root canal may be the only option left. Even for those who keep good dental hygiene and who regularly attend their appointments may need to get root canal, and there are a few things that you can do to ensure the actual experience isn’t as terrifying as the idea of it.





Take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory

A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory can dramatically reduce the swelling and the pain caused by root canal and most dentists will advise that you begin taking it a few days before root canal and continue to take it for a few days after. Naproxen and Ibuprofen are the most common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs available and they can often be taken with other pain medication prescribed by your dentist. However, it is always important to discuss the medicine you plan to take before, during and after root canal with your dentist as existing medical conditions can affect which drugs you are permitted to take.


Enquire about Antibiotics 

Root canal is often needed when an infection is present around the root of the tooth or the tooth itself, and antibiotics can help to eliminate the bacteria causing the infection. They can also decrease any swelling caused by the infection, which will help to speed up the recovery time and improve the healing process in the wake of root canal treatment.


Sleep Well

Before any major dental treatment, it is important to get a good night’s rest the night before. Whether you plan to get a dental implant in Kent down the road from where you live or you plan to travel three hours to a dentist for some root canal, it is imperative that you sleep well the night before.

The most practical reason behind the need to get a good night’s rest prior to surgery is to reduce anxiety levels. Dentists can also prescribe medicine to lessen the stress associated with root canal treatment including:

  • Laughing gas/Nitrous oxide
  • Conscious sedation (a combination of medicines such as a sedative and an anaesthetic)
  • IV sedation

Most patients will find that nitrous oxide will be enough to relax them while in the dentist’s chair and it is important to discuss your anxiety with your dentist, so that they can decide on the most appropriate course of action.


Eat Well Before your Root Canal

Root canal can take a few hours, depending on the infection. It is likely that you won’t want to eat directly after your treatment as your mouth will initially be numb and then it will feel sore for a few days after. Having an upset or rumbling stomach during the procedure will make your root canal even more uncomfortable, so it is a good idea to eat a meal an hour or two before your appointment.

Fretting and worrying about the concept of having root canal is often far worse than having the procedure done. In the long term, enduring a few hours of root canal to save your teeth is a far more appealing option than living with pain or having to have teeth removed.



Image credit: By Original version by Jeremy Kemp; SVG conversion by Jellocube27. [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


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