When it comes to dental fears, restorative processes like root canals nearly always top the list of procedures that give people the most anxiety. Fear of root canals often comes from anticipation of the unknown and the spread of erroneous information about the procedure. Therefore, it is wise for individuals with dental anxiety to learn all they can about root canals before the need for this restorative procedure arises. If you have anxiety about dental care, here are four things you must know about having a root canal performed.
The Infection Causes the Majority of the Pain
The need for a root canal arises when an infection brews deep beneath the surface of your gum line. The trapped infectious material causes painful swelling in and around the affected tooth. To relieve this pain and eliminate the underlying infection, dentists use canal files to remove the tooth's inner pulp.
Upon the opening up of the infected area, the pressure and pain caused by the infection tends to immediately dissipate. Although lingering pain may remain during the root-canal recovery period, many patients report feeling immediate relief from the agonizing pain that brought them to the dental clinic in the first place.
Distraction Makes the Procedure Go By Faster
You can make the procedure pass by much faster by bringing your MP3, DVD, or game player to your root-canal appointment. These devices give you a way to immerse yourself in another world while your dentist works on eliminating the infection and repairing your tooth.
Although your dentist will numb your tooth and gums before the procedure, forgoing distractions can increase pain and anxiety as you focus on every pressure sensation and movement. If you do not have your own devices, ask your dentist about the music, games, or movies they may have available to their patients.
Following Aftercare Instructions Helps You Quickly Recover
Your dentist will send you home with aftercare instructions to follow after your appointment. You must follow these instructions exactly, as they are written to help you quickly recover and avoid complications. The instructions may include medication schedules for antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and pain relievers in addition to cleaning instructions for your teeth and gums. You will also find instructions about scheduling a follow-up visit to give your dentist a chance to check your healing progress a few days after the initial procedure. During the follow-up visit, your dentist will perform a visual examination to check for complications and discuss the need for a protective crown.
A Crown Will Help Protect Your Tooth from Damage
After your root canal fully heals, is it absolutely necessary to have a crown placed over the repaired tooth to prevent future breakage. The root-canal process leaves your repaired tooth slightly weaker due to the absence of the inner pulp material. The crown strengthens the tooth to ensure it remains in perfect condition over the years. Otherwise, your tooth could break apart while chewing crunchy or sticky foods, grinding your teeth at night, or playing sports.
Upkeep Can Keep You in Good Dental Health
Time spent receiving dental care not only helps relieve anxiety through exposure but also reduces the risk of complications that necessitate the need for a root canal. Make sure to schedule your dental examinations and cleanings with an office such as Airport Road Dental Associates twice a year to remain on top of your oral-hygiene regimen. Your genetics, diet, and oral-care routine all play a role in the health of your teeth, so you may still end up needing a root canal at some point in the future. If so, you now have the knowledge you need to keep anxiety at bay while your dentist makes the necessary repairs to the root of your tooth.