For many people, root canals can sound scary, but with a good understanding of what to expect during the recovery, you'll come out of the procedure knowing how to maintain a healthy smile for years to come.
Understanding The Root Canal Process
If you've been scheduled for a root canal, chances are good that you are preparing yourself for what to expect during the procedure. However, it's equally important that you understand what to expect after the procedure as well so you can adjust and heal quickly without any complications.
Your dentist will work alongside you providing preventive care and maintenance so your teeth can remain healthy and strong. However, despite best efforts, you may still find yourself requiring a root canal procedure if the damage to a tooth's root is too severe to correct with other options. Avoiding a root canal in the first place is preferable. But if one becomes necessary, arm yourself with information to be prepared for the procedure and recovery process.
What to Expect with Recovery
Your dentist will explain what to expect before your procedure. You should anticipate feeling some soreness over the days following your root canal, especially as the local anesthetic wears off. Typically, there will be some discomfort at the site of the root canal, as well as general jaw soreness as a result of having your mouth open for the duration of the procedure.
If you've been provided with pain medication, it may help prevent discomfort while you heal.
While some mild pain or discomfort is normal, it's important to monitor your mouth for any changes and see your dentist immediately if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms. If it's after regular business hours or you're unable to get in for an appointment, you should go to the emergency department of your hospital. The sooner you seek help, the better the chances are that we can resolve the issue and reduce any pain you are feeling before your condition worsens.
Signs & Symptoms
- Moderate-to-severe pain
- Pain or pressure lasting more than a few days
- Persistent or visible swelling (2+ days)
- Rashes, hives, or other allergic reactions to the medication
- Pain medication isn't working
- Losing the temporary crown/filling
For a Quicker Recovery
Recovery time varies from individual to individual, but you can expect most of the pain you were having pre-treatment to quickly fade after a root canal procedure. Generally speaking, within 7 days following the procedure, your mouth should have reduced swelling and minimal to no pain.
To help expedite the recovery process (and prevent secondary issues from happening), you can ensure the best care for your mouth, post-procedure, by following these suggestions.
- Choose foods that won't require a lot of chewing
- Avoid chewing on the tooth until after the permanent crown or filling is placed
- Ensure regular brushing and flossing, as normal
- Take a break from exercising for a few days
- Get enough rest and sleep to help recovery
- Monitor your health and any changes