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What to Know About Root Canal Post Pain: An Aftercare Guide

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When people are discussing things they’re dreading, oftentimes they’ll say it sounds “as fun as a root canal.” Root canals have gotten a reputation as being awful, painful ordeals that no one wants to go through. So if your dentist has recently told you you have to have a root canal, you may be nervous, to say the least.

The good news is that root canal post pain has changed significantly in the last few years, and the procedure is now almost pain-free. Read on to learn more about post root canal pain relief and what to expect after your procedure.

What Is a Root Canal?

Before we dive into the specifics of root canal recovery pain, let’s talk some about what the procedure entails. When a tooth begins to decay, the inner core of it can decay away, leaving a cavity that is vulnerable to infection. In some cases, the inner pulp in the root of the tooth may become infected and may require treatment.

A root canal removes any infected pulp in the root of your tooth and thoroughly cleans the area. This prevents the infection from becoming worse and damaging any more of the surrounding tissue. In most cases, root canals can be done in just one or two visits, depending on your personal situation.

During the Procedure 

Before they begin the procedure, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic that will keep you from feeling any pain while they work. You may feel the occasional pinch or pressure, but you should not feel acute pain. If you do start to feel pain, let your dentist know so they can take care of you before they proceed.

Although root canals have a bad reputation, modern dental advances have made them no more painful than a routine filling. In most cases, the procedure will last between thirty minutes and an hour, depending on the complexity of the situation. If your dentist recommends a filling or crown, you may have to go back for a second appointment. 

Immediately After 

Once your root canal is done, you’ll be able to leave the dentist’s office and continue with your day. Many people go back to school or work, and since you don’t receive a general anesthetic, you should be fine to drive yourself home. However, it may be a good idea to have someone come with you to the appointment in case you don’t feel up to driving. 

Within about four hours after your appointment, your local anesthetic will start to wear off. At this point, you may start to feel some pain, and the area around that tooth will likely be sensitive. This pain should be manageable with over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

In the Following Days

You should expect to be somewhat sore during the next three days or so following your root canal. This procedure does go deep into your tooth and gets close to the nerves there. You’ll have some sensitivity in the area, and it’s not uncommon for there to be some swelling around the root canal site.

Post Root Canal Pain Relief

There are several root canal post pain solutions you can use to relieve your pain after a root canal. For one thing, avoid eating any hard foods for the few days after your procedure, especially on the affected tooth. These foods can be more demanding for your teeth and may cause more pain in the days following a root canal. 

You can also practice some stress-relieving activities to help manage your pain during the time after your procedure. Meditation, yoga, and tai chi can all help to take focus off your pain and keep it more manageable. Warm or cool compresses on the area may also help, as will quitting smoking and vaping.

When to Seek Help

While some pain is normal after a root canal, you should not be in excruciating pain. You should be able to keep your pain under control with over-the-counter painkillers taken in the recommended doses. In some rare cases, however, you may experience more intense pain or other complications. 

If your pain gets worse or isn’t controlled by over-the-counter medications, call your dentist and ask them for advice. They may prescribe you stronger ibuprofen or narcotics to be taken temporarily. You should also call your dentist if your pain lasts longer than three days or if your swelling gets worse.

Root Canal After Care

After your root canal procedure, there are a few things you can do to ensure you have the best result possible. In addition to avoiding hard foods for the first few days, be sure to brush your teeth carefully twice a day. Brush in small circles on each tooth, being careful around the site of the root canal.

During the week or so after your root canal, do your best to avoid sugary foods and drinks, and floss every day. This is also good advice for keeping your teeth healthy even long after you’re healed up from your root canal. And, of course, be sure to get your teeth cleaned and checked regularly to make sure they stay healthy

Learn More About Root Canal Post Pain 

Root canals have changed a lot in the last several years, and today, they aren’t the agonizing ordeal they once were. In fact, your post root canal pain relief should be as simple as taking some over-the-counter medications and meditating. After about three days, you should be back to normal and smiling your brightest! 

If you’d like to learn more about the root canal service, please check out additional resources here. We are a team that strides for excellence and compassionate care for our clients. Find a location near you today and start smiling your best smile today.

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