It's incredibly common for people to be apprehensive about going to the dentist, especially when they need to have a restorative procedure performed. Most people who have a fear of the dentist are afraid of the pain that can result from dental procedures. Unfortunately, this fear can become a serious problem if it keeps you from getting the treatment you need to be healthy. Root canals are necessary when tooth decay becomes so severe it impacts the inner portion of your tooth. The pulp of your tooth contains nerves that can cause severe pain if they become infected or inflamed. Here are four tips that will help you get through your next root canal when you have a dental phobia.
1. Do your research
Researching the root canal process can help you get comfortable with the procedure. Any medical procedure can seem a lot more frightening than it actually is when you don't know what to expect. Look up root canal treatment online and read what experts have to say about it. You'll learn that during the procedure, your dentist will numb your tooth before drilling into it to clean out your root canals. Once they've removed all the bacteria and decay, they'll fill the spaces with a rubber-like material before sealing your tooth with a dental crown for protection.
2. Ask for anxiety medication
If you're particularly nervous, you may benefit from medication designed to soothe anxiety. Talk to your dentist ahead of time about your options. Almost all dentists offer nitrous oxide, which is a breathable gas that will help you relax during the procedure itself. Patients with greater phobias may benefit from oral anxiolytic medication or even intravenous sedatives.
3. Explain your anxiety to your dentist
Your dentist will be better able to help you when they know about your concerns. Don't be ashamed to discuss your fears with your dentist. Dentists have treated many anxious patients in the past, so your concerns won't be shocking to them. If your dentist knows you're scared, they can walk you through the procedure, explaining everything at each juncture. This can allay your fears. If you need to stop, you can signal your dentist to ask for a break.
4. Remember it won't hurt
Root canals have a stigma of being particularly painful, but this treatment doesn't have to hurt at all. Your dentist will take the time to carefully numb your gums and tooth. They will check to ensure you're fully numb before continuing with the next stage of treatment. If you feel pain at any point, let your dentist know, and they will stop to administer more local anesthetic.