Learning more is never a pain

Often times in life the more you know about something the less fear you’ll have. This theory definitely applies to having a root canal or treatment performed here at Westside. When it comes to preparing you for having a procedure at our clinic, our goal is to equip you with all the info you’ll need to take away any surprises that could lead you to more worry than is necessary.

What exactly is a root canal and how long is the procedure?

Root canals are recommended to clean, shape, and fill the root canal space to eliminate infection or prevent an infection from developing in your teeth.

Teeth that are being root canal treated for the first time will usually be completed in one appointment of 1.5 hours or less. Teeth that are being retreated or have complications will typically require two appointments.

Here’s what you can expect following Root Canal Treatment:

  1. Open & Drain Procedure: This is an initial type of treatment used to reduce pressure created by the infection and to relieve pain. You may be prescribed antibiotics if there is facial swelling noted.
  2. Root Canal Treatment: removal of the nerve and cleaning of the canals occurs during this appointment.
    • If there is a significant infection (canals continue to be moist and cannot be dried) or the tooth is symptomatic (extremely painful) a decision may be made to medicate the canals and to finish the root canal procedure at a 2nd treatment appointment. An antibiotic and/or pain medication may be prescribed.
    • When the tooth is no longer painful and the canals can be dried, we will finish the root canal procedure by filling the canals with a rubber material. Then a temporary filling will be placed.
  3. Referral back to your dentist: for placement of the final filling and possibly a crown.

How to Treat Discomfort:

It’s normal to experience slight discomfort after an Open & Drain procedure or after Root Canal treatment has been initiated. We recommend 400mg of Advil every 4-6 hours as needed. If you experience any Flare-Ups please call us immediately so that the Doctor may speak with you to determine if additional medication is necessary.

Helpful tips to help yourself after surgery

    1. Do not lift or pull lip to examine surgical area, as it may disrupt the surgical area and delay healing.
    2. Following Surgery the affected area will generally bleed lightly for the next 24 hours. When mixed with saliva, it may seem like more than expected oozing. Extra gauze will be provided should the bleeding continue or not seem “light”. If the bleeding continues to be profuse (bright red in color) please call us as soon as possible.
    3. Please finish all prescribed medications as per your dentist’s instruction.
    4. Some swelling and/or bruising is to be expected. To minimize swelling, apply an ICE PACK to the affected area for 4-6 hrs with gentle pressure following surgery (15 minutes on, then 15 minutes off, etc.). Do not use ice pack beyond 6 hours.
    5. Adequate nutrition following surgery is important for healing, including such foods as scrambled eggs, yogurt, pudding, ensure/boost or protein shakes (without straw).

To reduce the risk of post-surgery complications: 

    1. Avoid all strenuous activity for at least 48 hours following surgery.
    2. Eat only foods lukewarm in temperature (not hot) and refrain from eating citrus and foods that are spicy, full of small seeds, crunchy or carbonated in nature, as they may irritate the area.
    3. DO NOT DRINK THROUGH A STRAW OR SMOKE (for the next 24 hrs.) as the suction will affect healing of the surgical area.
    4. DO NOT BRUSH, FLOSS, RINSE or SWISH with water for 24 hrs following surgery. After 24 hours rinse with prescribed Chlorhexidine rinse or warm salt water (1/2 tsp salt in 1c warm water), especially after meals to keep area free of debris and to help with healing.
    5. After 24 hours resume normal brushing, gently brushing in the surgical area.

Pain Management Schedule

To manage discomfort and swelling a combination of Tylenol (Acetaminophen) for pain & Advil (Ibuprofen) for inflammation works very well.
The following schedule of Tylenol & Advil is recommended every two hours after your surgery:

  1. 650 to 1000 mg of Tylenol
  2. 400 to 800 mg of Advil
  3. 650 to 1000 mg of Tylenol
  4. 400 to 800 mg of Advil

Continue this cycle until your pain subsides, however it’s important to note that in a 24 hour period, you MUST NOT EXCEED 4000mg of Tylenol and you MUST NOT EXCEED 3200 mg of Advil.

Any unusual symptoms such as excessive bleeding, swelling or elevated temperature should be reported immediately to our office or to doctor (after hours).

We also recommend that you write our phone number down and have it near you for a minimum of 48 hours following your procedure:

Dr. Shannon Davis

P: 403 457 8400
C: 403 370 4414

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