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Is Root Canal Painful? What to Expect After the Procedure

Is Root Canal Painful? What to Expect After the Procedure

Has your dentist recommended that you undergo a root canal treatment? There’s no need to feel anxious about this. Modern technology and anesthetics make the root canal procedure safe, quick, pain-free, and an effective way to save your natural teeth.

Typically, a patient needs a root canal treatment when there is infection or inflammation in the roots of a tooth. During the procedure, the dentist will remove the pulp inside your tooth then clean, disinfect, and shape the root canals, then place a filling to seal the void.

Why does the tooth pulp need to be removed?

Illustration of healthy tooth

When your tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp gets damaged, as it breaks down, bacteria start to multiply within the pulp chamber. Bacteria and other fragments may cause an infection or an abscessed tooth.

On top of an abscess, an infection in a root canal may cause:

  • Bone loss
  • Inflammation with the potential to spread to other areas of your head, face, or neck
  • Drainage problems spreading outward from the tooth root

While most people can expect some discomfort after the treatment, the pain shouldn’t last forever. According to NOA’s dental experts, here’s what you can expect after your root canal treatment.

Discomfort and Pain

Root canal pain is normal after the procedure, but it should disappear within a few days.

Most people will feel a little bit sensitive or tender after the treatment. The possible reasons for this are:

  • Swollen or inflamed tissue around gums – Even if the dentist removed the nerve root from your tooth, small nerves in the ligaments and tissue surrounding your tooth may still be present. Once this area gets inflamed after a dental procedure, nerve endings may cause discomfort.
  • High temporary filling – When a dentist puts in a temporary filling and didn’t smooth it down enough, it could cause your mouth to bite harder than usual on that spot. This can make your tooth feel sore, especially if the filling is higher than the surrounding teeth.
  • Instrument – The dental instrument used to clean your root canal may have accidentally damaged the sensitive surrounding tissue.

Be on the Lookout

You may experience a somewhat different sensation from your treated tooth for some time. But if your discomfort lasts for a long time and doesn’t get better, consider it abnormal.

Do contact your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Hives, rash, or itching due to an allergic reaction
  • Severe pain or pressure lasting longer than usual
  • Visible swelling inside or outside the mouth
  • Bite feels uneven

Pain Management at Home

After your treatment, your dentist will prescribe pain relievers to help ease your discomfort. However, when taking medications, ensure that you follow your dentist’s instructions religiously and contact him if the medication isn’t working.

Check with your dentist before taking any medications to make sure they don’t react with any supplements or prescriptions that you already take.

Beyond taking medications, there are other things you can do to help manage the pain after your root canal treatment. Here are some examples:

  • Avoid biting or chewing down on the affected tooth up until the final restoration gets complete. This way, you can avoid breaking the delicate temporary filling as a result.
  • Continue to practice good oral hygiene with regular brushing and flossing.
  • Avoid eating crunchy or hard foods until your pain improves.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Join in stress-relieving activities like meditation or yoga as a pain management method to help take your focus off the pain.

Root Canal Crown

After root canal work, your dentist may apply permanent fillings to protect your treated teeth from bacteria and strengthen them in the process. For most root canal procedures, fitting dental crowns over filled teeth is crucial due to the high risk of fracture.

Another great advantage of crowns is that they cover the whole visible portion of your affected tooth above your gum line to give you the appearance and function of a natural tooth.

A crown is usually the finishing touch after a root canal treatment, but it isn’t really necessary in every case. For instance, patients with reasonably strong teeth may not need dental crowns at all. Let your dentist help you determine which is the best option for restoring your tooth after your root canal procedure.

Know what’s normal and what’s not

A root canal procedure is meant to help you prevent a decaying or fractured tooth from getting worse. It’s normal to feel mild to moderate pain for several days after the treatment, but any pain beyond this point should warrant a call to your dentist.

Your dentist should inform you ahead of what to expect following a root canal treatment so that you come prepared. Once you fully recover from the procedure, let our experienced team at NOA Dental help you keep up with routine dental exams as well as teeth cleanings for optimum oral health.

The best way to avoid root canal treatment is to see a dentist promptly so that you can prevent infection from forming an abscess, getting worse, and spreading throughout the entire root system.