Sharp, shooting tooth pain that doesn't abate with time is a surefire sign of tooth trouble. When coupled with sensitivity to heat and cold, you may have an abscessed tooth. When decay gets past your tooth enamel into the root of your tooth, root canal therapy is the only option that will allow you to keep the tooth. Root canals have a bad reputation, but they don't have to be frightening and unpleasant. Here are three things you can do to make your next root canal painless and easy:
1. Schedule your appointment as soon as possible.
When faced with the prospect of dental work, you may be tempted to put it off for as long as possible. However, waiting to have a root canal increases the likelihood of complications. Tooth decay will not go away on its own. Waiting to seek treatment increases your chances of developing a tooth infection. Tooth infections are very painful, and their treatment requires antibiotics and sometimes even opiates for pain relief. Schedule your root canal appointment as soon as you realize there's a problem. Some endodontists will be willing to offer a payment plan if finances are a concern.
2. Be ready to repeat the x-ray process.
Patients are usually referred to an endodontist by their primary dentist. By the time you see an endodontist, your dentist will have already taken x-rays to diagnose the extent of your tooth decay. However, it's likely that your endodontist will want to take x-rays of their own. Endodontists are specialists who will look for things that a typical dentist may not catch. Additional x-rays may feel like a waste of time, but be patient. Your doctors are simply doing everything they can to ensure you receive the right treatment during your root canal.
3. Don't be afraid to complain.
Complaining is usually seen as a bad thing. When it comes to your root canal appointment, complaints can be good. Your endodontist will do their best to numb your tooth before beginning the procedure, but everyone's body metabolizes local anesthetic a little differently. Some people require more anesthesia to achieve total numbness, which is the goal. If you can still feel pain after your numbing shots, even if it's just a little pain, make sure to alert your dentist. They'll want to know that information so they can give you additional anesthesia. You deserve to have a comfortable, pain-free root canal, so don't be afraid to complain.
Root canals don't have to be stressful if you prepare properly. Contact your local dentist for more tips on how to prepare.