If you hear your dentist confirm that you need a root canal, it probably makes your heart sink. Perhaps the thought of a root canal even causes you to experience fear.
Dentists usually recommend root canals when teeth are excessively damaged, there are severe cavities, there is trauma from another dental procedure, or you have an abscess. While root canals are necessary dental procedures, you may hesitate to have the treatment due to the possibility of pain and the cost. Many people experience root canal anxiety, but scheduling this procedure with a dentist you can trust can make the experience easier.
At Lovett Dental Heights, our team wants to ease your root canal anxiety so that you can maintain your smile for years to come.
Root Canal Process
For many dental patients, fearing the unknown causes their dental anxiety to flare up. If this sounds like you, then understanding the procedure may help relax you. The root canal process includes:
- The first thing that your dentist will do is give you a local anesthetic. This will numb your mouth so that you won’t feel anything during the treatment.
- Next, the dentist will then place a rubber dental dam around the tooth that needs the root canal. The dam keeps the tooth clean and dry during the procedure.
- Your dentist will drill a tiny hole through the tooth to reach the infected pulp located at your tooth’s core. At the same time, an assistant will use a small suctioning device to capture any oral fluids and infected pulp.
- After taking out the infected pulp, your dentist will replace it with a substance called gutta-percha. This adds strength to the tooth and prevents bacteria from getting inside.
- Later, your dentist will replace the gutta-percha with a permanent solution, such as a crown or a filling.
Causes of Root Canal Anxiety
The most significant cause of anxiety about root canals is the fear that the procedure hurts. However, most root canal patients report that the procedure was painless, and if they felt anything, it was pressure and not pain. Modern-day anesthetics are effective, and the discomfort that you’re likely to feel is more akin to that of getting a tooth filled. Once the anesthetic wears off, the tooth will probably feel sensitive, and you might be a bit achy, but these symptoms should disappear within a week or two. You can use over-the-counter pain relievers to offset any pain.
Some people worry about getting a root canal because it will take forever. Most root canals take several hours to complete. We know that this seems like a long time in the chair, but you can pass the time quickly by creating a great playlist on your smartphone. We can usually complete a root canal in just one appointment. You will probably need to come back for a filling or a crown, but this is a quick placement. Your Lovett Dental Heights dentist can give you an estimate of the amount of time that you’ll spend in the chair.
Dentists understand that many people feel anxious about having a root canal. Be open and honest with your dentist about your anxiety, and he or she will take the time to make you as comfortable as possible.
Some people experience anxiety about the cost. Getting a root canal doesn’t have to be expensive. While root canals certainly cost more than a filling due to the extra time and skill required, they’re not as costly as other dental procedures like extractions and replacements. The average cost of root canals in the United States is around $700. If you don’t have insurance, ask your dentist about membership plans, discounts, and payment options.
Allow Our Dentist to Ease Your Root Canal Anxiety
You may be able to overcome feeling scared for a root canal by telling your dentist how you’re feeling. Once your dentist knows that you’re feeling anxious, they will likely take steps to help you get through the procedure comfortably.
For instance, at Lovett Dental, we offer sedation dentistry, including nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and IV sedation. We’ll explain the root canal procedure to you in as much detail as you need and do everything we can to keep you as comfortable as possible during your root canal. To get more information or to make an appointment, contact Lovett Dental Heights at 832.780.4573.