Dr. Fulmer discusses what to expect before and after your root canal

Very few medical procedures evoke the kind of negative reaction that being told you need a root canal does, even though this procedure has become far less painful through the use of modern technology and medicines.

Root canals are necessary when the pulp in your tooth becomes inflamed or infected. Dr. Fulmer has performed hundreds of root canals and he has first-hand knowledge of how much easier the procedure has become – both for the dentist or endodontist to perform and for the patient to endure.

Every tooth in your mouth has pulp under the white enamel. It is a soft tissue and it contains nerves and blood vessels as well as connective tissue. Root canals remove infected pulp and provide great relief to patients with infected teeth. Your teeth will survive without the internal pulp because they can draw nourishment from surrounding tissues.

The inflammation or infection is rooted in many different causes. Sometimes it is as simple as tooth decay. Pulp can also become inflamed if your tooth has undergone one too many procedures. Faulty crowns and cracked or chipped teeth are also known to be the culprit in some cases.

You can put your mind at ease about the procedure by asking a lot of questions and doing some research of your own. Ask Dr. Fulmer what to expect. Why does the pulp in this tooth need to be removed? Are there alternatives? Can this wait? Usually, the procedure can be completed in one or two appointments, although in more complicated situations, return visits might be necessary. The procedure itself is not that different from having a routine filling done. The tooth is cleaned and disinfected before the pulp is removed. Afterwards, a filling or crown seals the tooth back up so you’ll be good to go.

On the day of your appointment be sure to wear comfortable clothing. White clothing always works best since some of the rinses used in Dr. Fulmer’s office contain bleach. You should also refrain from wearing heavy makeup.

Discuss with Dr. Fulmer your medication regimen. He may or may not advise a pain pill before your appointment, although the anesthetics used are generally adequate to control the pain. Be sure to discuss aspirin or other blood thinners – generally, it is advisable to discontinue taking those several days prior to your procedure.

If the infection requires you to take antibiotics in advance, it is crucial that you follow the instructions explicitly.

Avoid alcohol and smoking the day of your appointment. Also, do not eat a big meal immediately prior to your arrival.

Be sure you understand the costs involved. Find out how much of the procedure’s cost will be covered by your insurance if you have it.

Root canals are very common and Dr. Fulmer is an expert at maintaining your comfort throughout the procedure so you can remain pain free. If a successful root canal procedure is required to save one of your teeth, you could not be in better hands.

The worst part is over. You have followed Dr. Fulmer’s instructions and now you want to be sure your tooth stays healthy.

There are a number of steps you should take to ensure your tooth recovers fully.

First, it is normal to feel some tenderness around the affected tooth for a few days following the procedure. Having to keep your mouth open wide for an extended period can also result in some tenderness in the jaw area.

Both of these pains are best addressed with over-the-counter pain medications.

It is also not unusual for your tooth to feel a bit different from your other teeth after the root canal treatment. This too is normal and your body should adjust to it within a few days following the procedure.

If, however, the pain is intense and persistent, or if the tooth seems excessively abnormal following what would usually be considered a normal adjustment period, contact Dr. Fulmer immediately.

You should not eat until the numbness in your mouth wears off – usually within a few hours.

Don’t bite or chew with the affected tooth until the procedure it completed. This is important to keep in mind if a return visit is required. If you have a temporary filling, call Dr. Fulmer if it comes out prior to your appointment to install the permanent one.

Brush and floss your teeth as normal. But be careful around the newly treated tooth until you have adjusted to it completely.

Dr. Fulmer will conduct the procedure according to the highest standards in the industry. But he will rely on you to inform him if you have swelling, either inside or outside on your mouth. It may be normal, but he will want to know about it.

He will also want to know if you experience an allergic reaction to any of the medications used in the root canal procedure. You should also inform him if your bite feels uneven or if you continue to experience some of the symptoms that brought you in the first place.

Properly done root canal treatments can relieve your pain and restore your teeth to where you can be confident it will serve you for years into the future. Call Dr. Fulmer to discuss how a root canal treatment might be appropriate for you.