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Before Your Root Canal: 6 Things You Need to Know

A root canal is a ubiquitous dental procedure that saves millions of teeth annually. It aims to repair and save a damaged or infected tooth instead of removing it.

The procedure involves shedding off the damaged area of the tooth, cleaning and sanitizing it, and then filling and sealing it. While the thought of a root canal can be daunting, knowing what to expect can help ease your nerves.

If you're scheduled for a root canal with a dentist in Ann Arbor, here are six things you need to know.

1. Understand the Root Canal Procedure

A root canal is prescribed and performed by a dentist when the tooth's roots become infected or inflamed due to decay, a crack in the tooth, or trauma. During the procedure, your dentist will strip off the infected nerve and pulp, clean the inside of the tooth, and seal it.

This helps prevent further infection and saves your natural tooth. In most cases, a dental crown will be placed over the treated tooth to protect it and restore its function.

2. Know the Signs of a Root Canal Infection

If you're enduring any of the following symptoms, you may need a root canal:

  • Severe toothache when chewing or applying pressure
  • Prolonged sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • Darkening or discoloration of the tooth
  • Swelling and tenderness in the surrounding gum tissue
  • A persistent pimple on the gums

If you're enduring any of these symptoms, it's essential to consult with a dentist in Ann Arbor to determine if a root canal is necessary.

3. Prepare for Your Appointment

Before your root canal appointment, there are a few things you can do to prepare:

  • Discuss your medical history and any medications you're taking with your dentist, as some medications may affect your treatment.
  • Eat a light meal a few prior to your appointment, as you may not be able to eat or drink for several hours after the procedure.
  • Ingest an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, before your appointment to help reduce inflammation and discomfort during the procedure.
  • If public transportation is unavailable, have a friend or family member drive you home after the procedure, especially if you'll be under sedation or anesthesia.

4. Expect Some Discomfort After the Procedure

It's normal to experience discomfort, swelling, or sensitivity after a root canal, especially during the first few days. Your dentist will likely instruct you to buy and take pain medication to help manage your discomfort.

You can also use an ice pack to diminish swelling and inflammation. Be sure to avoid biting down on the treated tooth until it has fully healed, and follow any post-operative instructions from your dentist.

5. Be Aware of Potential Complications

While root canal procedures are generally successful, complications can sometimes occur, such as:

  • Infection: The infection can persist or return if bacteria remain in the tooth after the procedure.
  • Undetected canal: Some teeth have more than one canal, and if one is missed, the infection may continue.
  • Tooth fracture: If the tooth isn't properly restored with a crown or filling, it can crack or fracture, leading to further problems.

If you experience unbearable pain, swelling, or fever after your root canal, contact your dentist in Ann Arbor immediately, as these could be signs of a complication.

6. Practice Proper Dental Hygiene

Practicing good dental hygiene is essential to help prevent future root canal infections. This includes:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride-enriched toothpaste
  • Flossing daily
  • Using an antiseptic mouthwash
  • Scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings

By caring for your teeth and gums, you can help ensure the health and longevity of your root canal treatment.


A root canal can save your damaged or infected tooth, preserving your natural smile and preventing further dental issues. Understanding the procedure, knowing the signs of infection, preparing for your appointment, and practicing proper dental hygiene can help ensure a successful treatment and a healthy, pain-free smile. If you need a root canal, consult a dentist in Ann Arbor to discuss your options and develop a treatment plan.

Looking for a skilled and compassionate dentist in Ann Arbor to perform your root canal? Look no further than Dental House MI! Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards a healthy, beautiful smile.

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Watch this video to learn how Dental House provides a safe environment for patients and staff during treatment. We also offer important information on how to keep yourself and others safe in the dental office.

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Ann Arbor Dentist Office
Hours : Mon to Thur 9am - 6pm, Fri & Sat 9am - 3pm
Address : 4860 Washtenaw Ave D, Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Waterford Dentist Office
Hours : Mon to Fri 9am - 6pm, Sat 9am - 3pm
Address : 5979 Highland Rd, Waterford Twp, MI 48327
West Bloomfield Dentist Office
Hours : Monday, Wednesday to Friday 9am - 6pm
Address : 6595 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield, MI 48322
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