A root canal is an endodontic treatment that removes the infected or inflamed pulp of a tooth. If you have had severe pain in a tooth and the pain does not subside, a root canal can alleviate your discomfort by removing the damaged nerve. The procedure can effectively salvage your tooth, but your dentist may recommend certain precautions prior to your procedure, such as the limiting of alcohol consumption. If you have a root canal scheduled, here are a few reasons not to drink alcohol during the period surrounding the treatment:
Alcohol should not be consumed with antibiotics.
Before your root canal, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to treat an infection associated with your tooth. Some side effects are common when taking antibiotics, such as sleepiness, dizziness and an upset stomach. However, alcohol can increase the intensity of these unsavory responses. Consuming alcohol with certain antibiotics, such as trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim) and metronidazole (Flagyl), may cause more serious reactions, such as increased heart rate, headache and vomiting.
Still, alcohol consumption is not known to impair the effectiveness of most antibiotics. Yet, since it can lower your energy levels and increase recovery time, it may be best to forgo alcoholic drinks until you have completely recovered from your root canal.
Alcohol can make dental anesthesia less effective.
Your dentist will probably use a local anesthetic during your root canal procedure. Alcohol can lower the effectiveness of a local anesthetic. In fact, in patients who abuse alcohol, local anesthetics may reach the bloodstream more quickly and require your dentist to reduce repeated doses in order prevent blood levels from being too high.
Alcohol may have a sedative effect, but it may not be mixed with certain anesthetic drugs. This is especially true if your dentist will be using general sedation during your procedure.
Alcohol should not be mixed with oral sedatives.
Sedation dentistry has become more common to help calm people who have a fear of dental procedures. If you are nervous about your root canal, you may be given an oral sedative, such as Valium or Ativan, to help you remain relaxed throughout your procedure. These medications belong to the "benzodiazepine" family, which reduces your anxiety levels by attaching to brain receptors that lower your response to fear. When combined with alcohol, benzodiazepines can be associated with overdoses and fatalities.
If you are scheduled to have a root canal, follow your dentist's pre-operative instructions. He or she is limiting your alcohol consumption for a reason. If you have questions about the way that drinking alcohol may affect you during your root canal, contact a dentist at a dental office such as Dillon Family Dental PLLC.