A root canal procedure used to be very painful, and many people still avoid it due to fears of pain. However, modern dentistry allows patients to undergo the procedure with drastically less discomfort. That said, the first few days after the operation can still be painful. Knowing how to recover from a root canal should make you more comfortable and decrease the risk of any complications.
In a root canal procedure, a dentist removes the diseased pulp from the inside of a decayed/damaged tooth to prevent infection from spreading. A dental drill or a handpiece is then used to gain access to the inside cavity of the tooth. After removing the soft pulp tissue, the dentist uses files to thoroughly clean the root canal. Depending on the level of damage to the tooth, the dentist may apply fillings to mechanically support the tooth structure and protect it from further damage or injury.
Most of the time, a root canal doesn’t end in a single session. Dentists often use a temporary filling initially, preventing saliva, food particles, and bacteria from entering. At a later session, the root canal is permanently filled. If you were given a temporary filling, you need to be careful with the operated tooth. Temporary fillings are not as durable as permanent ones since their role is to provide protection against contaminants until your next appointment. Avoid using the tooth whenever you chew and minimize the consumption of hard and crunchy foods, such as nuts, to avoid dislodging the filling. Continue brushing and flossing near the site, but use gentler methods to prevent any injuries.
Given that pulp contains the blood and nerve supply of the tooth, removal of damaged portions and closure of healthy parts during a root canal means that pain sensations disappear through the procedure. However, the tissue surrounding the tooth may become temporarily irritated from the infection or the procedure itself. It can take some time for the inflammation and pain to subside. As such, you are likely to feel pain for a short while after a root canal.
There is minimal pain during a root canal procedure. As the anesthetic wears off post-procedure, you may begin to feel some pain near the affected tooth. You may also feel sensitivity to any cold or hot foods and drinks. Avoiding foods and drinks with extreme temperatures should help prevent any sensitivity issues. You can also avoid using the side of the mouth with the operated tooth. The pain and discomfort should only last for a few days and subside gradually with each passing day.
Over-the-counter pain medication should be useful in treating the mild pain you will experience. Remember to get permission from your doctor to ensure that any drugs you take won’t interact with any other medication you may be taking for other health issues.
Consult with your dentist if pain persists for more than several days or if it worsens. Bacteria might have breached the filling and entered the tooth cavity, causing another infection. In this case, you may need additional treatment to clear out the infection and fix any tooth problems.
After a root canal, you should practice good dental care to reduce bacteria in your mouth. If you let your oral health slide, bacteria can weaken the attachment of the sealant in your tooth and cause another infection. Brushing after meals, flossing daily, and using antiseptic mouthwash can drastically reduce the risk of bacteria-related complications.
To summarize, a root canal usually has a quick recovery period and few complications. Good oral hygiene and mild analgesics should be enough to make your recovery hassle-free. However, the quality of the procedure itself also impacts its long-term success. Make sure to enlist the services of a high-quality dental office to get the best outcomes.
Located in Plantation, Florida, the dental office of Dr. Ernie Soto serves to give top-notch dental and orthodontic services to patients. Our team combines compassionate care with state-of-the-art techniques to provide you with a functional and beautiful smile. For inquiries, call (954) 368-6264 or request a consultation.