How to Prepare for Your Root Canal Surgery

Root canals have often been associated with pain and are considered an overall unpleasant dental procedure for those who first learn they need one. While that may have been true in the past, modern dental medicine has come a long way and has made the procedure virtually pain-free. Still, we understand that getting ready for any type of procedure can create a bit of stress and anxiety. However, knowing the reasons for a root canal surgery and how to prepare can put you more at ease.

The Purpose of Root Canals

Root canals are a treatment for repairing and saving a seriously damaged or infected tooth versus removing it. The procedure is called a “root canal” because it involves cleaning the canals inside of a tooth’s root. This can occur when a cavity is left untreated for too long or if a tooth is cracked or damaged.

Preparing for a Root Canal

With any procedure or new experience, preparation is key to feeling more comfortable as you enter the situation. Preparing for a root canal is important, as it can lead to a more positive patient experience:

  • Research your options. Consider asking local friends or family members about their root canal experiences to see which providers they have had positive experiences with. Look at reviews online if you don’t have any personal contacts.
  • Learn about the procedure. The unknown can be scary, so understanding the root canal procedure before undergoing one can help ease some anxiety. A root canal consists of three general steps, and for most people, the procedure can be easily completed with just a local anesthetic. First, an opening is created in the tooth’s pulp, and the infected tissue is cleared. Next, the pulp chamber is cleared and shaped so that it can receive the filler material. Last, the opening is filled, which seals off the tooth to prevent future infection.
  • Eat before your procedure and prepare to eat soft foods afterward. Discuss the exact timeline with your provider, but you will usually want to eat a meal two or more hours before your procedure as eating afterward might be uncomfortable at first. Having soft and cold foods on hand after a root canal can be more soothing and appetizing as opposed to hot or crunchy foods initially.
  • Discuss pain medication and antibiotics. Your dentist may recommend you take over-the-counter pain relievers before your procedure, so follow these orders carefully. You may also discuss antibiotics with your provider, as they can help reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco leading up to your procedure. These substances can negatively affect your root canal and recovery since both impact your blood flow. If you smoke or drink, discuss this with your dentist and follow their recommendations regarding how long to fast from these substances prior to your root canal for optimal recovery.

At Lans Family Dentistry, we provide root canal therapy for those who need it in Northern Virginia. We understand undergoing dental procedures can be nerve-wracking. That’s why we are committed to making our patients as comfortable as possible throughout the experience, which includes adequate preparation. Our team will answer any questions you have and will prepare you with detailed instructions before your procedure to limit your pain and help you recover as quickly as possible from your root canal surgery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns.


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