There’s a reason that many people, when faced with a particularly unpleasant task, say “I’d rather have a root canal.”
Root canals used to hurt. A lot. Fortunately, anesthetics and modern dental procedures have greatly reduced the discomfort associated with root canals. Our “comfortable dentistry” approach has made a root canal almost pain free.
How long does it take to recover from a root canal? Usually only a few days, but there will probably be follow-up treatments to restore your tooth. To reduce any discomfort after a root canal procedure, it’s important to follow your post-procedure care advice—it will prevent complications and speed your recovery.
Remember, the Root Canal Is Just Part of the Process
The root canal itself is just the first step in the process to restoring your tooth. Afterward, you’ll still need a permanent crown or filling to complete the fix. A temporary crown or filling protects the tooth in the interim. But don’t worry about this now – we’ll make sure you thoroughly understand the next step before you leave the office during your first visit.
Be Smart Once You Leave the Office
The area around your tooth will likely be extra-sensitive for the first few days after your root canal. Your jaw may also be sore from having to hold your mouth open for a long period. If there’s swelling, use a bag of ice (or frozen peas or corn) wrapped in a towel and hold it to your jaw for short periods to keep the swelling down.
Wait until numbness from the procedure has worn off before eating, so you don’t accidentally bite your cheek or tongue. Avoid hard or hard-to-chew foods (remember—your tooth is only temporarily fixed), and be wary that strenuous exercise may cause your jaw to hurt by diverting blood from the healing process.
If necessary, we’ll prescribe medications or suggest over-the-counter medications to handle any pain. But you’ll still have to be aware that you’re healing—and take it a little bit easy.
Gently brushing and flossing is also important during recovery—you still need to take care of all your teeth, and reduce the bacteria in your mouth to prevent infection.
When to Be Concerned During Recovery
Root canals are successful more than 95% of the time, and after a root canal, your tooth could very well last the rest of your life. In the rare case when a root canal fails, it’s usually because of a crack in the tooth, or that the tooth had more damage than expected.
Contact us immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Visible swelling inside or outside your mouth
- If the symptoms you had before the root canal come back
- Any allergic reaction to medicine
- The temporary crown or filling comes loose
Don’t hesitate to contact us, even if you just have a question about your tooth or treatment.
We’d rather you overreact that under-react, and we’re always delighted to talk to you! Your care is what we do.
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Latest posts by Dr. Wesley Mullins (Knoxville Dentist)
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