Healthspan Blog

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Root canal fun (and questions)

26th March 2009

I have never had a root canal before. I was told it may take three to four hours. I wish. Five hours, 45 minutes in the chair. I have toxic levels of novacaine and nitrous oxide coarsing through my veins.

I went in for my six-month visit last week. I wasn’t experiencing any pain. I was told I would need two fillings at best and possibly root canal. Once the dentist got in there she said the decay had reached the roots and they were infected. If the roots were infected why didn’t I feel any pain?

Is there any risk with using nitrous oxide for an extended period of time? I had the mask on for a LONG time. Initially they must have had the concentration turned up high because I was starting to go bonkers like I was on drugs (although, I have never done drugs so I have no idea what it feels like). There was someone monitoring the system but she did’t seem to know what she was doing. Someone else walked by and said ‘I think we should turn it down.’

I’m on antibiotics and motrin. My head is pounding right now. Does this sound like a typical root canal experience?

Answer 1: Whoa – 4 hours? I’ve had two and one took about an hour and a half total and the other might have taken 2 max.

The first one I had little or no pain during the actual procedure but had a lot of pain the next few days but they prescribed me vicodin (score!). The second one I had some pain during the procedure and absolutely none afterwards.

Answer 2: Depends who you talk to. Some root canals seem to go a lot smoother than others. I’ve had a few myself and was sore for a few days. Warm tea bags on the area you hurt helped as it served as a healing agent. Try it and feel better!!

Answer 3: I’m guessing a 1st molar & a relatively new general dentist. Tooth # 3/14 can have 4-5 roots to obturate. 5 hrs 45 minutes is not normal-she should have scheduled you for 2 appointments.

Answer 4: WTF kind of dentist did a 5 hour root canal??????? I’m in the field and there is NO WAY it takes that long, even if completely calcified. Here’s a lil something for all you folks who need RCT. Your General dentists are NOT endodontists. IF they choose to do a root canal, it’s usually on a cuspid or incisor. Easy for them, because only one canal. If it’s a molar they should send you to a specialist. General dentists take ONLY a weekend course here or there to learn how to do Root Canals. Endo’s specialize and NEVER EVER take 5 hours. Even if it’s 2 teeth.

As for the N2O on for that long? Maybe a lil nausea might be a side effect, but that would be immediate. Might take longer then 20 mins to wear off. I’m not too sure. I’ve never had a patient on it longer then 45 mins.

IMO, unless you’re a dental phobe, it’s not necessary and just a money maker for the doc. Also, your jaw is gonna be sore for a few days. Avoid using those teeth for about two weeks and use anti-inflammatories and you’ll be OK.

Answer 5: I had to leave disney to find a dentist on a family vacation. Then spent the remaining part of the day riding “Everest” over and over with my kids. You haven’t suffered until you subject a freshly carved up nerve to the G-forces of a roller coaster. I was actively praying for my death.

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