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Here’s How to Prepare for a Root Canal

If you have deep cavities or a chipped or loose tooth, your doctor may recommend root canal therapy to relieve your pain, sensitivity, and swollen gums. Your constant toothache could be a result of an infection in the pulp, the delicate center of your tooth that houses the nerves, connective tissue, and blood vessels. This procedure involves removing the inflamed pulp, disinfecting the inside of the tooth, and filling the root canal. Although the dentist is in charge of root canal therapy, you, too, can contribute to the success of the procedure. Here’s how to prepare for a root canal for a smooth procedure and speedy recovery.

Avoid Alcohol

The alcohol in your system may hinder the anesthesia’s effectiveness if you drink 24 hours before treatment. Alcohol also causes dry mouth, increasing the risk of harmful bacteria. What’s more, it weakens the immune system, exposing you to allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, and other infections.

Avoid Tobacco

Gum disease, bad breath, stained teeth, you name it—smoking is detrimental to your oral health. Per a 2020 review in the International Endodontic Journal, tobacco smokers are more likely to get a root canal than non-smokers. Avoid cigarettes around 24 hours before the procedure and two weeks after.

However, your dentist may recommend a different timeframe depending on the severity of your infection. By slowing down blood flow, tobacco affects the oxygen and nutrient supply you need for recovery. Smoking also causes inflammation, increasing the risk of infection at the treatment site.

Eat Well

You won’t be able to eat for several hours after treatment because of the anesthesia’s numbing effect on your mouth. That’s why you need a well-balanced meal before going to the dental clinic. When the numbness wears down and you’re ready to eat, start with soft foods, like soups and mashed potatoes, that are gentle on your mouth. What’s more, ensure the foods and drinks are at room temperature to avoid sensitivity.

Discuss the Process With Your Dentist

You need all the information you can get about root canal treatment. And who better to put your mind at ease than your dentist? Here are some questions you can ask about how to prepare for a root canal:

  • What are the alternative treatment options?
  • Are there any risks?
  • How painful is the procedure?
  • How many appointments are necessary?
  • What kind of post-treatment care do I need? 

Don’t limit yourself to questions. Asking whatever comes to mind can help you feel less anxious about the procedure.

Want to learn more about how to prepare for a root canal? Allow LeCroy Dental to address all your oral health concerns. Contact us today!