Root Canal Recovery

What can I expect after a root canal?

02-12-2014 8-23-36 AMSo, you survived the dreaded root canal procedure and were relieved that it was not the nightmare you had imagined!  Judging by the reactions of many of our patients, most are pleasantly surprised at just how routine the treatment is. Some patients are so relaxed they even fall asleep!

We believe that root canal therapy gets it’s bad reputation because of misinformation. It’s understandable why some people tend to remember the excruciating, pre-treatment pain more than the relief provided by the dentist. The discomfort that brought them to the dentist in the first place may have lasted for days and was probably, at times, very difficult to bear. Relief usually begins immediately after receiving dental freezing (anaesthetic), and the treatment is usually very routine with the subsequent healing period often uneventful.

Which part of the overall experience would you be likely to recall? What makes a better story?

It’s excusable when patients find it difficult to disassociate their painful days from the eventual dental relief. This reprieve from pain should mitigate the overall experience, but sometimes it doesn’t.

After Care
This type of dental infection involves the soft tissues in the root canal portion of the tooth and the symptoms can range from painless to annoying discomfort to severe, intolerable pain. Abscesses can go unnoticed and be symptomless, while others are accompanied by facial/neck/gum swelling, earaches, gum boils, even a general feeling of unwellness.

If root canal treatment has been recommended for your tooth, it is important to discuss with your dentist what outcome you can reasonably expect and what “specific-to-you instructions” you should follow.

Healing Period
Although the infected, inside part of the tooth has been removed, there is still a period of continued healing while the body repairs the area surrounding the tooth. In the vast majority of cases, the affected area of the mouth will continue to heal and symptoms will subside. If, in a week’s time, you have not experienced gradual, steady healing call your dentist.

Acute Infections – If left untreated, some infections can spread to surrounding head, neck, nasal and sinus areas that can progress to life-threatening complications. A much more guarded approach is taken during this healing period, and in some severe cases, hospitalization is required.

Following your treatment, you can resume your normal daily activities after the dental anaesthesia has worn off.

Once the anaesthesia wears off, you can eat and drink as usual. It is completely normal  to still feel sensitivity after a root canal, especially when chewing. You may feel more comfortable chewing on the other side of your mouth while the tissues, nerves and ligaments surrounding the root canal tooth recovers.

During the healing period, it is not uncommon to feel some discomfort, but not to the degree of pre-treatment pain. Although there is no longer any nerve within the tooth, the nerves, ligaments and other surrou10-11-2014 2-54-00 PMnding tissues may still be healing. To help you manage any post-treatment tenderness, your dentist may recommend the use of an anti-inflammatory such as Advil or another type of pain reliever if you cannot take NSAIDs.  If your healing is characterized by a degree of pain that is difficult to tolerate, do not hesitate to contact your dentist for further evaluation.

Sometimes, the ligaments that surround the tooth become irritated and swollen and can be sensitive to touch and pressure. Although not uncommon, this added aggravation can cause discomfort during chewing. The dentist can reduce the biting forces on the tooth to lessen the impact you feel while eating.

Not all infected teeth require antibiotics. In an effort to reduce the routine prescribing of antibiotics which can lead to drug-resistant bacteria, your dentist will only prescribe an antibiotic if the circumstances necessitate it.

Additional treatments
In a perfect world, the body always responds favourably to treatment and the outcome is always successful. It is important to appreciate however, that infections of the body can be unpredictable and complications may still occur. In the small, confined areas surrounding the tooth, even relatively minor abscesses can be stubborn. With respect to teeth, our goal is to help you keep your teeth for life and if your tooth is not following a normal healing path, additional therapy can sometimes be recommended including re-treatment or other root end remedies.

Follow Up Treatment
After the root canal is complete, a permanent post and filling will be placed. With the soft tissue now removed, the tooth will tend to dry out and become brittle over time. Brittle teeth can fracture more easily. Your dentist will likely recommend the placement of a metal crown to add protection and strength to your tooth.

Of course, there are inherent risks that are involved with any surgical treatment, but attending to symptoms immediately is still the best ways to help reduce the likelihood that your root canal tooth will be fraught with future complications and aggravations. Maintaining regular check-ups will allow your dentist to monitor the healing of your root canal treated tooth and follow-up immediately if problems arise.

24-03-2014 3-46-49 PMRoot canal therapy has gotten a bad rap over the years. Certainly, there are teeth that are very hyper-sensitive during treatment and there are also cases where dental care was neglected to the point that a usually very routine root canal therapy becomes a much more complicated matter. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of regular dental visits. Early intervention can help you avoid root canal treatment. Dentists are trained to spot suspicious activity in your mouth early so that problems do not progress to the point of pain nor cause a relatively simple procedure to become an emergency.

If it has been a while since you’ve had a dental check-up, there’s no better time than now to book an appointment. We see many people who have not been to the dentist in a long time. We’re here to help – not to judge! At Your Smile Dental Care, our team of trained professionals have helped thousands of patients SMILE again! Call us today!

02-12-2014 8-57-17 AM

Yours in Better Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team

15 thoughts on “Root Canal Recovery”

  1. I have always heard that root canals are incredibly painful and something that you don’t want to get done. I have an infection in the roots of one of my teeth, so I was told that I probably need a root canal done. However, I have been a bit hesitant about going through the procedure because I have heard that the recovery process doesn’t always go very well. After reading this article, it seems like there can be a few things that you can do to take care of the pain. I think that the best thing is to talk to the dentist and learn more about signs of infections and how you can prevent them to start out with.


  2. I’ve been feeling pretty nervous about getting my second root canal. I agree with your point to make regular dental appointments to prevent any serious problems with your teeth. It seems like had I kept going to the dentist, I wouldn’t need a root canal in the first place. I’m sure that if I take better care of my teeth from now on I shouldn’t need anymore root canals. Thanks for the information!


  3. I have been having a lot of issues with one of my molars in the back and I’m pretty sure that a root canal is the only solution. I have been looking for a dentist here in Maple Ridge to see what is going on but I am pretty scared if a root canal is the answer. I’m glad to know that they aren’t as bad as people say and I will definitely use your tips in the recovery process. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I just got a root canal and you’re right, it really wasn’t as bad as I had thought! Thanks for sharing some information on what to expect after the procedure. I think next time I’ll pay heed to your advice about more regular dental visits to help prevent things like this in the future!


  5. I like what you said about attending to symptoms immediately. My sister had a toothache, but avoided the dentist. Later she had to have an emergency appointment, because her tooth abscessed and started causing severe pain. Now, if I have any tooth pain I immediately take care of it.


  6. It’s been 6 months i had a root canal treatment and i was so worried that if i feel tooth disorder after the treatment, though i didn’t feel any pain after i got it done but my fear of pain always led me to feel the pain, there was no pain but i continuously felt disorder, it’s been about 2 months everything seems normal.


  7. I just had a root canal last week on my front tooth no less.. It wasn’t painful at all, they froze it with some sort of gel. Then they put almost a filing material on top as I couldn’t afford a crown, it is sensitive and I can’t bite anything without wincing from the pain, I’m hopeful that the healing time won’t be much longer.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I had a root canal done May 24 2016 at my local Dentist office they put a temporary crown on it been messing with my other tooth it feels like other tooth next to it feel strange it could just be healing it’s aggravating but I went had dentist look at it they said it not the eye tooth it’s temporary crown and root canal still healing they decide the eye tooth had plague but they getting me schedule to put to sleep and clean put permanent crown on already paid for and take sliver ones out put white there and they going to look at eye tooth more carefully when out. U going have some discomfort but if inflection after still possible they say it takes 6 months by my Dent


  9. The information you have deliver here is really useful to make my knowledge good. Thanks for your heavenly post. It is truly supportive for us and I have accumulated some essential data from this blog.


  10. Found your blog. Its really nice on Dental tips. I appreciate your article. Its important to get good quality dentist for recover your dental problem. So thanks for sharing all that important information.


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