You’ve just heard the words you were dreading, “It looks like you need a root canal.” Your dentist did a full dental exam to determine the root of your pain, and it’s the one thing you didn’t want to hear. Before you go running for the hills, know it’s all going to be okay. Root canals aren’t the procedure they were in the past. Today, they’re fairly painless and you’ll feel better in no time.
We know that hearing you need a root canal is still unsettling no matter what, but we want to alleviate some of your anxieties by explaining what happens during your first visit to an endodontist.
Just like a visit to any doctor’s office, you’ll start by filling out some paperwork with your medical history, insurance information, the contact information for your referring dentist, and emergency contacts. You’ll sign consent forms and need to list out any medication you’re taking whether it’s prescription or over the counter. Make sure you arrive a little early for your appointment to leave time to fill out the forms. Once the paperwork is completed, you’ll likely spend a short amount of time in the waiting room before being called back for an x-ray.
Even if you arrive with x-rays from your dentist’s office, we’re still going to take our own upon arrival. They shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes and we try our best to always get the perfect shot the first time around. The x-rays are necessary to determine a course of treatment that is personalized specifically to your dental needs. A root canal might not always be necessary, and x-rays give us an opportunity to access the problem.
If you do need a root canal, it is important for us to treat your tooth as soon as possible. That could mean scheduling an appointment for the next day or beginning the procedure shortly after we review your x-rays with you. It’s necessary to perform the root canal as soon as possible because your tooth’s pulp has lost the ability to heal itself. If we delay the procedure, it can result in further infection of the tooth or gum, an extremely severe toothache, or in some case, tooth loss.
Root Canal Procedure
The first thing your endodontist will do is apply a numbing agent to the affected area. This ensures the procedure will be pain-free. Then, your endodontist will create a small opening on the crown of your tooth. This allows them to go in and clean out the infected pulp that is causing your discomfort. Once the pulp chamber and root canals are cleaned of the infected pulp, your endodontist will disinfect and shape your tooth’s root canals to prepare it for a filling. The filling will be made of a biocompatible material. Once the filling is in place, your endodontist will close the opening on the top of your tooth with a temporary crown. Eventually, you will return to your regular dentist or endodontist and receive a permanent crown.
At this point, you’re ready to go home! Your endodontist will provide you with aftercare instructions that you will need to follow closely.
Schedule Your Appointment
Now that you know what to expect at your first appointment with us at Southcenter Endodontics, it’s time to schedule your appointment. We promise to walk you through the entire process every step of the way. Schedule your appointment with Dr. James Stephens today.