How to Mentally Prepare for a Root Canal

Here, we present some tips on how you can mentally prepare for a root canal so that the treatment is as smooth, and comfortable, as possible.

Probably no other dental procedure creates so much fear and anxiety in patients as the thought that they’re due to have root canal treatment to save a tooth that otherwise might have to be extracted. All sorts of horror stories abound about having root canals done, and they’re usually focused on torturous experiences at the dentist that leave the patient howling in pain.

Mostly, however, they’re wildly exaggerated and owe their origins to the relatively more dark days of dentistry in times past, when neither the equipment nor the care was what it is now. Good, modern dentistry is all about putting the patient first and making sure they’re at ease and as comfortable as possible at all times — this is our guiding principle here at The James Clinic.

But even though modern dentistry strives to ensure that patients don’t go through any unnecessary discomfort, a root canal can sometimes be a lengthy procedure and at times there may be brief periods of pain. Therefore, it’s important that you’re mentally prepared for your root canal treatment. Here’s what we advise.

Tips on How to Mentally Prepare for a Root Canal

Talk about It

Fear of the unknown is what leads a lot of people to become incredibly anxious as an important dental appointment nears. It’s important to talk to your dentist about any procedure, and especially so with root canals, because it can take a while and sometimes be quite tricky. If you don’t know exactly what a root canal is, don’t be afraid to ask — we always encourage our patients to ask about our procedures in detail so that they’re fully in the know.

Essentially, what a root canal is, by the way, is a procedure in which the infected pulp inside the root of a tooth is replaced with a rubber-like material and then the opening is sealed with a type of cement. And because the area around it will be injected with a local anaesthetic beforehand, there shouldn’t be any pain, and you’d experience the same amount of discomfort as if you were having a filling — which is to say, little or none. Having the facts before you have a root canal, direct from your dentist, will put you even more at ease.

Agree on a Pain Signal

Before your root canal treatment begins, tell your dentist you would like to have a pain signal so that in the event you suddenly experience pain and would like them to stop but can’t speak because of so many instruments in your mouth, you can signal you want them to stop and have a break. It can be something as simple as just raising your hand, and it will go a long way towards reassuring you that you won’t have to endure anything you don’t want to, or at least have an element of control over the procedure.

Keep Your Mind Occupied

Obviously, it can be difficult, or nearly impossible, to relax when you’re having a root canal done. But keeping your mind busy can certainly help to keep it off what’s happening in your mouth. Try various visualisation techniques to make your mind wander and give you a feeling of calm and relaxation. It could be something you want to do or are planning — like an upcoming sun holiday with the family. Visualise what you’ll be doing, whether it’s lying on the beach, swimming in the sea or anything else you typically do on holiday. Another good way to distract yourself from what’s going on in the dentist’s chair is to recall a happy and pleasurable period in your mind, such as a win at a sports event, for example, a nice run through the forest or someone interesting you met recently.

Before you know it, your root canal will be over and you’ll wonder where the time went.

For all your general dentistry needs, including root canal treatment carried out by expert, friendly and understanding dentists, contact The James Clinic and make an appointment at one of Ireland’s leading dental practices.