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My Second Root Canal experience



Junior member
Apr 26, 2016
Hello Everyone! :)

I have posted here a few times to alleviate my anxiety about the plethora of dental procedures I have been forced to endure the last three years, but I've yet to really post a ~success story. Not because there haven't been any (all of my experiences have been successful and positive), but out of laziness. So I'm here to talk about my second root canal experience which took place yesterday, in hopes to help out anyone else who might have stumbled upon a similar experience.

First things first - I knew exactly what I was getting into - I'd done this before, but never had I been to an endodontist. My general dentist did my first RCT back in 2014, and it has not bothered me at all since then. Nonetheless, being myself, I found ways to make myself anxious about it this go round. I was referred to an endodontist because the tooth in question (#18 - I'm American, FYI, I know the tooth numbering is different around the world) is a more complex tooth and the specialist has a really cool operating microscope that increases the chances of a successful RCT. Some of the things I was worried about were: getting numb (I have a problem getting numb at first - my first RCT I felt some of the drilling and had to be shot directly in the nerve - it wasn't that bad but I was paranoid of it happening again. Additionally, my dentist is AMAZING and I never feel any pain when shots are given. I wasn't sure the endo would have this superpower), the dental dam (I am latex allergic; they gave me non-latex dam. I had never had one before), and using a bite block. Something I am not a fan of is not being able to breathe through my mouth as I am a notorious mouthbreather... and I usually struggle to swallow during dental work so I depend upon the assistant to suction the hell out of me.

I sat down in the dental chair and was introduced to the endodontist- Dr. Wallin Myers (Knoxville, TN) - who was very kind. He shook my hand, told me how the procedure works, what he would be doing, and got an x-ray of the tooth. He then had me lay back and proceeded to numb me up. I didn't feel the needle enter me at all at any point. I told him my past experiences, that sometimes I'm a bit harder to numb up, and my dentist says I may have a weird anatomy where I have an extra nerve in my jaw that needs blocking. So he gave me I think 4 or 5 shots, with the final one being extremely deep below the problematic tooth. He then left me to numb in the chair for 10-15 minutes. I texted my mom (who was in the waiting room) with an update. When he returned, I was supremely numb, and he told me he was going to add a little more. Again, I felt nothing, and I was laid back once again. I did taste a bit of bitter anesthetic and I swallowed a little, but no ill effects came of it - I had my mouth rinsed and all was well.

Then came the dental dam fitting. This being my first experience with it, I was nervous. Honestly, I felt nothing as the assistant fit it over my tooth, even though she warned I may experience some pressure. With the dam fitted, I had to tell myself that everything was alright, I could breathe and swallow. I have anxiety disorders that thankfully I've had 20+ years of experience with, so I'm experienced in relaxing myself. The bite block was put in and drilling began.

The filing, drilling, and irrigating took about 45-55 minutes for my tooth. Apparently, the tooth had 3 canals and was a bit complex for the endodontist, but with his microscope he was confident he'd gotten everything done and cleaned out. I just focused on the music playing in the office, swallowing spit as it pooled in my throat, and breathing deeply and comfortably. I keep my eyes closed during dental work so that I don't psych myself out if I see anything spooky looking coming at me - I highly advise doing that if you are like me and fear needles. I've actually hit a doctor when he came at me with a needle. I'm good if I can't see it - but if I see it, it's not going inside of me, period. Anyway- once all that was done, he put something in my tooth and left me for 10 minutes to make sure all was disinfected. He took the block out so I could breathe and relax my jaw. I sent my mom and friends in a group chat a dental dam selfie that was probably the most unflattering photo of me of all time.

Then he came back and worked on filling the canals with gutta percha, then put a temporary seal and filling on the tooth. Another x-ray was taken, and he showed me before and after and explained the process and how things went. He told me he would send my dentist the x-rays and to make an appointment for my restoration. In the mean time, my tooth could be sensitive if I bit down on it, and to take ibuprofen if that was the case. I told him how great he was (he was wonderful!!!) and how impressed I was with how he treated me and how fast he was. He told me I was a great patient for sitting still and letting him do his work. We shook hands and I went to check out.

The numbing agent took 30-40 minutes after the procedure to wear off, which was incredibly quick! I was relieved I could eat! In the past, I've had so many different numbing agents and nerve blocks that I would be numb for 8-12 hours. I was so happy I got unnumb so fast. I drove with my mom over to my dentist (next door, really) and they added my restoration to my upcoming appointment for my final cavity filling!!! I only have 2 crowns and 1 filling left before I am completely done with pricey dental work.

All in all, I rate the experience as pretty damn good. I had no pain during or after the procedure. I felt comfortable and well taken care of. My anxiety has diminished and I'm left with pride and excitement at taking care of my body and my mouth. To those who are experiencing anxiety: It's going to be okay. I promise. It's totally okay and valid to be afraid, but take solace in the fact that all will be well. Your pain will go away and the treatment is not a big deal at all! If you can, I recommend an endodontist as they seriously specialize in RCT and do it all the time. All the best!
Thank you so much for sharing your experience!! You should be extremely proud of yourself, I know I am after reading your story! :respect: I'm so glad to hear that everything went well and was a positive experience for you. Wishing you well for the rest of your dental journey, I'm sure that everything will go smoothly and you'll be able to come on here and share your story so we can celebrate you finishing your treatment! :)

Once again, well done!!!! :jump: