Those who are facing a first root canal procedure may be filled with feelings of dread and fear. These feelings are often fueled by the patient's unfamiliarity with the procedure coupled with exaggerated tales of past experiences from well-meaning friends and relatives.
If you are scheduled for a first root canal and find that you are becoming increasingly obsessed with worry, the following preparation tips can help ensure that you enjoy a more comfortable experience.
Be proactive about pain relief options
Anxiety about pain and discomfort can elevate stress levels and increase the chances of an unpleasant dental procedure. A good way to circumvent this type of anxiety is to have a frank discussion with your dental care provider about pain relief, both during and after the procedure. Most dental care providers are able to offer many types and levels of anesthesia, as well as effective pain relief options during the recovery phase.
Patients should also ask in advance about any OTC pain relievers that their dentist recommends they have on hand for their recovery, as well as natural methods of relieving discomfort, such as salt-water rinses and ice packs.
Be diligent with pre-procedure care
Being careful to maintain proper levels of nourishment, hydration, and rest before the procedure date is another important preparation that can lead to a better root canal experience. Your dental care provider will likely also instruct you to avoid using alcohol, tobacco, street drugs, OTC medications, and supplements before the procedure to help eliminate potential complications, such as bleeding or issues with infection or wound healing.
Be familiar with the procedure
Fear of the unknown is another problem that first-time root canal patients are likely to suffer. The best way to alleviate this type of fear is to simply become more familiar with the procedure. Patients can start by doing some research online to gain a better understanding of the process. They should also discuss the procedure in detail with their dental care provider, including the advancements that have been made in techniques, tools, and after-care procedures. Becoming familiar with all parts of the procedure will help patients feel less fearful and much more relaxed.
Be selective about dental care providers
The key ingredient required for a great root canal experience is having a dental care provider that the patient trusts and feels comfortable with. If you are unhappy with your current dentist, taking the time to find a provider that you feel more comfortable with is an important part of resolving your fears about your first root canal.