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Everyone at the office is very friendly and helpful, and the technicians are great. I feel like Westerville Dental is very much on top of the latest screening and monitoring techniques, and I really appreciate the thoroughness of the appointments in terms of measuring gum health as well as tooth health. I chose this place when I moved down here based on the good reviews, and I haven't been disappointed.
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So glad I found this office when I moved back to Ohio. I’ve had so many bad experiences at the dentist, this place is understanding and open to my questions, they explain everything and it really seems like they care. They also have an open and inviting waiting room that is beautiful.
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A root canal is a dental procedure that can save your tooth. Modern root canals are more comfortable and have shorter recovery times than they did just a few years ago, but they still require a little foresight and planning. You can reduce discomfort during and after the procedure, and even speed your recovery, by making a few preparations before you undergo a root canal.
Our dentists perform root canals to save teeth that are cracked or have an infection deep within the tooth. The root canal procedure involves removing the inflamed or infected pulp, which is the center part of a tooth that contains connective tissue, blood vessels, and other cells. Infection of the pulp can be painful and can even cause tooth loss. After removing the infected material from the pulp, our dentists clean and fill the center of the tooth.
While our dentists do most of the “heavy lifting” when it comes to performing root canals, you can take steps to minimize pain and optimize your results.
How to Prepare for a Root Canal
Undergoing any procedure can cause anxiety and tension, particularly if you don’t know what to expect. Our team of dentists is always glad to answer any questions you may have.
Discuss antibiotics with your dentist
Infections can cause swelling and pain, which can make the root canal and recovery more uncomfortable. Antibiotics can also reduce your risk for developing an infection after your root canal. In some cases, our dentist may recommend taking antibiotics.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco for 24 hours before your procedure
The nicotine in tobacco products can change the way blood flows through your veins, which could lead to bleeding problems during and after your root canal. Smoking can also slow down your recovery time. Alcohol can dry out your mouth, affect how your blood clots, cause a fast heartbeat, and even depress your central nervous system.
Get a full night’s sleep before your appointment to ensure your body is in top form for your procedure. Since your body does most of its “repairs” while you sleep, plan to get another full night’s sleep after your root canal.
Take a pain reliever before your appointment
While today’s root canal procedure causes less discomfort than it used to, you can still expect a degree of soreness. Taking a pain reliever prior to root canal can help alleviate some of the discomfort you may experience during and immediately after your procedure. Be sure to consult with your dentist to determine the best analgesic to take – our dentist can help you decide whether to take acetaminophen or ibuprofen, depending on your personal needs.
Have a couple of doses of pain relievers on hand
You may benefit from taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen in the first few hours following your root canal. To avoid trips to the store immediately after your procedure, check to make sure you have a couple of doses of analgesics before you check in for your appointment.
Eat before your root canal
Our dentist will administer anesthesia that numbs the tooth and surrounding tissue. This anesthesia takes several hours to wear off completely, and the numbness may make it difficult to eat. To avoid feeling hungry immediately after your root canal, eat a small meal a couple of hours before your root canal.
Arrange for a ride home, if necessary
Most people require only a local anesthetic to control discomfort from a root canal, and therefore do not need a ride home. Some patients need sedation medicine to relax or even general anesthesia before undergoing a root canal, though, and may benefit from having a driver. Speak with our dentist before your appointment to determine whether or not you will need a ride home after your root canal.
Stock up on the right food
Once your numbness has subsided, you can eat again. Focus on soft, cool foods and avoid hot, crunchy foods. Soft foods are easy to chew, or require no chewing at all. Cool foods can soothe
irritated tissue and reduce any swelling you may have. Hot, crunch foods, by comparison, can irritate the treatment area to cause discomfort and slow healing.
Our dentists recommend that our patients eat the following foods immediately after a root canal procedure, while inflammation is still present:
- Soft cereal
After inflammation subsides, our team of dentists recommend eating some of the following foods:
- Fruits, such as bananas, pears, peaches, mangos, applesauce; continue to eat fruit smoothies
- Ice cream, free from nuts, crunchy bits or chunks
- Tuna salad
- Mashed vegetables, such as mashed potatoes or cauliflower
- Oatmeal, cream of wheat
- Pasta, noodles
Be sure to stock up on these foods before your root canal appointment to spare yourself a trip to the store immediately after the procedure.
Avoid hot beverages, drinking from straws, or eating foods you have to suck, such as hard candy or lollipops, as they can trigger gum inflammation, cause discomfort, and slow healing.
Plan to take it easy for at least two days following your root canal
Resting gives your body time to heal. Avoid strenuous activity, such as working out or doing heavy lifting, for at least 48 hours after your root canal procedure. Exercising too soon after your root canal can lead to bleeding and even make your mouth feel achy. Our dentists can help you determine how long you should take it easy.
Set up a “comfort zone” for your recovery
Before your appointment, prepare a comfortable location for resting. Put a blanket and pillow on your favorite recliner, for example, and set up a small tray that can hold your snacks, beverages, laptop or tablet, telephone, and TV remote. Put comfortable clothing, such as your favorite hoodie or sweatpants, in an accessible location.
For more information about how you can prepare for a root canal, consult with our dental team at Westerville Dental Associates. We want to help you get the most out of your dental work.