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Here’s what I want you to ask me before your root canal

  • Feb 28 2017

Root canals are pretty routine in my office and in dentistry. I regularly see New Yorkers who are in need of the procedure to save what remains of a decaying tooth. My staff is trained to provide the most efficient and pain-free dental treatments possible, so patients know that they are in good hands when they enter our doors. However, not all patients have had a root canal before. Many have heard stories from others who have undergone the procedure and have preconceptions of what to expect. Sometimes, this causes them to be anxious when we are discussing the details of an upcoming root canal. Here are a few things I like my patients to ask me before a root canal takes place.

Is this really necessary?

The required treatment for a root canal is dictated by the extent of damage to the tooth by large fillings, decay or trauma.  Although patients can refuse any dental treatment for the time being, the required treatment won’t go away and the end-result is unavoidable! In almost every case the patients has refused dental treatment, especially a root canal, the patient has returned in severe pain because they have ignored the problem for too long.

When a patient comes in with a toothache, it doesn’t take a dentist to know that there is something wrong. Many patients are surprised when I recommend a root canal when they have no issues with the tooth!  PAIN IS NOT THE ONLY CRITERIA FOR A ROOT CANAL.  My recommendation is based on twenty years of experience and the amount of existing damage to the tooth, to prevent patients from dealing with an abscess, infection, severe pain and tissue damage and bone loss. If a tooth is decayed badly and cannot be restored, extraction may end up being the only solution left.

How long will it take?

Most root canals in my office are done in one visit and take about an hour. We use the latest techniques and all our root canals are done with a rotary machine. The benefit of using a rotary machine (as opposed to old fashion hand files) is to get a perfect root canal finish with no nerve left behind in the roots and virtually no pain the next day!  Some root canals are broken in to different appointment if the patient has pain, infection or if the tooth is non-vital.

How bad will it hurt?

The tooth/area will be completely numbed before the procedure and you won’t feel any pain or discomfort during the treatment. Since I will be working intently on the tooth, you’ll feel little pressure in the area. Take comfort in the fact that we are trained and have twenty years of experience to be quick and careful during the process, which can help keep discomfort at bay. Some people also find it helpful to take over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen before their visit. Although any post-op discomfort you may feel will depend on the extent of damage to the nerve, most patients have slight tenderness on the tooth for 3-5 days.

How can I avoid another one of these in the future?

Again, root canals are fairly common, but prevention is the key. It’s important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings, as well as a diligent at-home routine. Brush, floss, and avoid food and drinks that are bad for your teeth, like sugar-heavy sodas and candies. Always ask your dentist about the status of your teeth (sometimes damaged teeth have no obvious symptoms to a patient), and don’t neglect sores and pains.

It’s important to have good understanding of the way your teeth function and the methods you can use to keep them in tip-top shape. If you have any questions or concerns about your mouth, call or stop in today to discuss them in detail.

Categories: Root Canal

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