Your Pre-Op Checklist for Root Canal Therapy

IF YOU HAVE endodontic therapy coming up soon, especially if it’ll be your first time at an endodontist’s office, we...

IF YOU HAVE endodontic therapy coming up soon, especially if it’ll be your first time at an endodontist’s office, we want to help you feel confident that you’ll have a good experience with us. With that in mind, let’s review some good general information and a checklist of things you should do before you come in for your appointment.

Why You Were Recommended for Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy or endodontic treatment is a procedure that is designed to save an infected tooth so that it doesn’t have to be pulled. The main reasons a tooth might need saving by an endodontist include:

  • An old crown is faulty.
  • There were complications from repeated dental treatment.
  • Tooth decay has reached the pulp chamber and caused infection.
  • An injury has damaged the tooth and the dental pulp.
  • A crack or chip has reached the pulp.

Your Checklist Before the Appointment

Let’s go through the list of things you should do before your appointment. Even if we’ve already discussed everything on the list with you, it’s good to check one more time. Doing everything on the list is the best way you can help the day of your procedure be as smooth and stress-free as possible.

  1. Get a good night of sleep the night before.
  2. If you’re going to be on IV sedation (call us to double-check if you aren’t sure), don’t eat for at least 6 hours before your appointment and don’t drink anything for at least 2 hours before. It’s critical for your safety to have an empty stomach before IV sedation.
  3. Manage any tooth pain you’re experiencing prior to the procedure with over-the-counter pain relievers. It also helps with post-operative soreness and discomfort.
  4. Be prepared with your insurance information when you come to our office.
  5. Bring any X-rays from your general dentist with you.
  6. Try to relax. We know that many struggle with dental anxiety, so keep in mind that root canal therapy actually relieves pain, it doesn’t cause it! Imagine how much better your tooth will feel soon.

The Procedure Itself

Root canal treatment typically takes longer than a normal dental exam. The patient is seated with their mouth open — not the most comfortable position, but necessary for the endodontist to work. We will numb the area around the infected tooth with a local anesthetic and isolate the tooth with a dental dam. The dam keeps the tooth from becoming contaminated by bacteria from the rest of the mouth.

Next, the endodontist will drill a small access hole through the chewing surface and remove the diseased or necrotic pulp tissue inside the tooth. Then it’s time to disinfect, shape, fill, wash, and seal the root canals and fill the access hole with temporary or permanent filling material. The final step of the day is to place a temporary filling or crown. Thanks to the anesthesia, the procedure is pain-free!

Ask Us Your Questions!

Information is a great way to fight against dental anxiety, so make sure to ask us any questions you have. We want our patients to have all the tools they need to feel relaxed and confident before their procedures. The field of endodontics is all about ensuring patient comfort while saving teeth.

Together, we can make your experience with us a good one!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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