Before you head to a normal dentist appointment, you might brush and floss your teeth, pop in a breath mint, and call it good. Getting ready for a root canal surgery, though, takes a bit more planning and preparation. While brushing and flossing are still necessities, it’s not all you have to think about it.
But don’t let it overwhelm you.
We’ve put together this guide to show you the best way to prepare for a root canal procedure. Make sure you keep reading below for some helpful tips!
1. Calm Your Dental Anxiety
If you’re one of the many people who struggle with dental anxiety, the last thing you want to do is ignore it and hope it goes away. Surprise—if you don’t handle it, the anxiety won’t go anywhere. Instead, you should take action to make sure you feel as calm as possible during operation day.
Here are a few things you can try.
Ask the Dentist What to Expect
Having your dentist walk you through what will happen during your root canal surgery will take the fear of the unknown. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, even if they seem small or silly. Your dentist should be willing to take the time to explain everything to you in as much detail as you need.
For example, at its most basic, a root canal procedure tends to look something like this:
- Apply a local anesthesia to the area
- Drill into the affected tooth and remove the dental pulp from inside
- Clean the inside of the tooth and fill it with a biocompatible material
- Secure a temporary crown on top of the tooth (until the permanent crown is ready)
However, every person is different, so there might be a few differences during your surgery. Because of this, it’s a good idea to talk to your dentist about the specifics of your surgery so you know what will happen when you are in the chair.
Discuss Your Anesthetic Options
For most root canal surgeries, patients receive a local anesthetic to numb the area around the problem tooth. You won’t feel any pain with this type of anesthetic, but you will be awake during the entire procedure.
If you suffer from extreme dental fear, though, this may not be possible.
Take a few minutes to talk about anesthetic options with your dentist before the surgery date. You may be able to come up with a different plan that fits your needs better. In some cases, the dentist may be able to put you fully to sleep before the procedure so you don’t have to experience any of the potential discomforts.
Even if this isn’t possible for you, it’s important to let your dentist know anytime you feel uncomfortable before and during the surgery. They may be able to adjust their methods to make you feel more at ease.
Watch What You Eat and Drink
Avoid eating or drinking anything that will make you feel jittery during the appointment, such as coffee. You may also want to avoid eating too much food to prevent a queasy stomach while you’re sitting in the dental chair. Eat something light if you’re worried about feeling nervous and getting sick to your stomach later.
Don’t Go to Your Appointment on Your Own
Having someone with you while you wait in the dentist’s office can help keep your anxiety from getting out of control. Besides, you may not be able to drive after the surgery depending on what type of anesthetic you use. Pick someone who helps you feel calm and secure and ask them to come along with you.
2. Don’t Drink Alcohol or Smoke Tobacco the Day Before the Surgery
Smoking tobacco can reverse the effects of your anesthetic in the middle of your surgery. This can be quite painful for you, and it can disrupt the entire procedure, which will make it take much longer than planned. Drinking alcohol can also make the surgery more difficult as it can lead to dry mouth.
To prevent these negative impacts, make sure you avoid drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco at least 24 hours before your surgery.
3. Pick up Your Pain Medication in Advance
Your dentist will likely prescribe you antibiotics to aid in the recovery process after your surgery. Plan ahead and pick up these antibiotics before your procedure so you have them on hand when you need them. Otherwise, you’ll have to make a stop at the pharmacy on your way home, which can be difficult when you’re already feeling uncomfortable from your surgery.
In some cases, your dentist might ask you to start taking the antibiotics the day before your root canal. This can help reduce swelling during and after the procedure, and it will minimize the discomfort you feel as well. If they don’t, you may be able to take some over-the-counter pain meds instead.
However, always ask your dentist before you take anything.
4. Eat a Filling Meal
You won’t be able to eat for a few hours after your root canal, so you should eat plenty of food and drink plenty of water before the surgery to hold you over until you can get more food down later. But make sure you talk to your dentist first. In some cases, you might have to stop eating or drinking anything several hours before your procedure.
5. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Your body will recover faster if it’s well-rested. Do your best to get a full eight to nine hours before the morning of your root canal. This will also give you more energy to face the procedure if you’re feeling nervous.
Schedule Your Root Canal Surgery Today
Now that you know how to prepare for your root canal surgery, you’re ready for the procedure. If you don’t already have a date booked in the calendar, don’t wait any longer. Make sure you get in touch with our team at Campaign Dental Group to schedule your root canal today!