The pain shouldn’t last forever. In fact, a root canal is meant to help you avoid pain connected to a decaying or fractured tooth. It’s usual to experience mild to moderate pain for a few days after a root canal. Any pain beyond this point may warrant additional cleaning of the canals or other procedures from your dentist.
Initial recovery period
In the past, root canals were extremely painful. This is one reason why people sometimes avoided such actions. Dentists now have pain-relieving measures that can be used to reduce the amount of pain you experience during the process.
Before the procedure begins, your dentist will apply a local anesthetic that minimizes pain. You might still feel pressure during the cleaning, but you shouldn’t be in pain during the actual procedure.
As the local anesthetic wears off after the root canal, you might experience mild pain and sensitivity. This is connected to the cleaning procedure. During the cleaning process, your dentist makes a small opening in the crown of the tooth and cleans out the diseased pulp inside the pulp chamber of the tooth. While uncomfortable, any pain and sensitivity following a root canal should only last a few days.
Root canal pain should reduce over time. If you still experience pain or swelling, you should see your dentist. Most people need one to two sessions for a root canal to be successful. In severe cases, you may require more cleaning sessions. Recurring pain could be an indicator of this.
Your symptoms should ease up if you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications. If they don’t, your doctor may recommend prescription-strength ibuprofen or narcotic pain relievers. These are only taken on a temporary basis.
Once your tooth is totally treated, your dentist may put a crown on top of it. These can be made of metal, porcelain, or gold. The idea here is to stop future damage to an already delicate tooth. Sometimes the pain is a temporary side effect as you get used to a newly placed crown.
Tips for oral health
Good oral health practices can help alleviate pain from a recent root canal. These can also help your new crown last for many years while protecting all your other teeth. Consider the following tips:
- Don’t eat overly hard foods, especially right after a root canal treatment.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Be sure to move the toothbrush in gentle circling motions to clean your teeth without aggravating them. You’ll want to take special care around the tooth with the recent root canal.
- Floss once a day to help prevent future infections.
- Decrease the number of sugary foods and drinks you consume.
- Schedule regular cleanings to help keep your teeth healthy and free of infection.