Scary words: ROOT CANAL

If you’ve ever been told that you need a root canal, you know the sinking feeling in your gut that tells you that you’d rather die. We have all heard root canal horror stories and when we tell our loved ones we need a root canal they wince. But the truth is that as scary as a root canal may seem – many people have good experiences: I did.

I went to the appointment trembling and scarred. I had my whole schedule for the next two days cleared because I was convinced that I would be moaning on the couch wishing that I had gotten hit by a semi rather than seen the dentist. But that is not at all how I felt afterwards, or even during the procedure for that matter.

The procedure took a little longer than other dental things I had done—like fillings and x-rays, but I hardly noticed because I had laughing gas and I was comfortable. When they told me they were done, I literally asked “what, that’s it?!”. I was expecting a near death experience and to feel like death afterwards. I had Novocain, so as I left I was still a little numb and just waiting in my pessimism for the pain killer to wear off.

It wore off and I had loved ones gathered around. Soon, we were ordering pizza and laughing and I basically forgot that I had a root canal earlier. It wasn’t bad. It was actually a positive experience and I felt silly for how dramatic I had been acting. Yet, that wasn’t my fault—people seem to only talk about the bad experiences and we dwell on worst case scenarios in our minds. To anyone that has the same terrified feelings I had, here is my advice:

  • Stop the negative thoughts and negative incoming information.
  • Maximize the “enjoyability” —nitrous and/or conscious sedation therapy is a great move and highly suggested as it will calm any nerves and make the time seem to fly by.
  • Take the rest of the day off after your procedure to relax, rest, or celebrate. Don’t have any obligations that will add stress–even stress from positive things will take its toll.
  • Drink water like a hippo and get as much sleep as you can before and after the root canal.

Now that you have the advice and story of a veteran, I am sure that you will be able to encourage bravery in your own heart and in those loved ones around you.