Root Canal Therapy and Treatment Start (First Appointment)
Now that my doctor started a root canal on my tooth what can I expect?
Today, your DentFirst doctor started root canal therapy to remove the infection and start your tooth back on its path to full health. For our patients, we have written an explanation of exactly what root canals are. In fact this DentFirst web page received an unsolicited Academic Excellence award from StudyWeb, a non-profit internet organization.
Post-operative instructions for today
Take all of the antibiotic pills as prescribed by your doctor. Continue taking them as prescribed until each of them have been used. Stopping early because the tooth feels better, or saving some for another time are both dangerous ideas. You will have killed off the weak germs in the first few days and only the stronger bacteria will remain. They will then produce genetically similar offspring which are stronger as well. This is known as a super-infection and may actually require the removal of your tooth.
- Take medication for discomfort if you need it. Many patients find that non-prescription pain medication is enough. If any prescription medicine you have received is not sufficiently strong please call your DentFirst doctor. There is a DentFirst doctor on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We want you to be comfortable.
- Do not chew on the same side as the affected tooth. The biting surface is covered with a temporary filling material which can not withstand chewing forces.
- Brush your tooth normally but do not run floss around it unless you have been told it is ‘OK’ . Flossing may pull out the temporary filling material. It is common for small piecesof the temporary filling to flake off but rarely there may be another problem. If you should become aware of a strong medicinal taste or notice a tiny piece of cotton in your mouth then call our office for an work-in appointment.
- Avoid carbonated beverages just for today. They can sometimes weaken the temporary filling before it gains its full strength.
Your next appointment (Appointment Two)
It is likely that the procedures performed will significantly reduce the infection in your jawbone within the next few days. However the bacteria can still fester in the hollow canal portions which were cleaned out. If you do not return for your next appointment to have those hollow canals filled then your infection will return to the bone surrounding the roots and be even more difficult to control.
This next appointment is called the “Fill” appointment and, if your infection is under control, your doctor will fill these hollow canals preventing the bacteria from growing back inside your tooth. Then the root-canal procedure will be finished.
Once your doctor is satisfied that the infection is fully under control and that the root canal was a success he will instruct you on which procedures are necessary to repair and strengthen your tooth. These will most likely include a “build-up” to restore the missing portions of the tooth and then a “crown” to strengthen the tooth so that it can be used successfully for chewing food.