Modern root canal procedures are not the horrible ordeals they are portrayed to be on TV. Local anesthesia makes receiving a root canal only about as uncomfortable as receiving a dental filling, and it can spare you the unbearable pain of a toothache and the tooth loss that will eventually result from it. While root canals carry all these benefits, you can still expect a few days of mild discomfort after receiving one. Here’s what you can expect during recovery as well as a few ways to keep you comfortable while you’re still healing.
Immediately After Your Root Canal
As a result of the local anesthetic, your mouth may feel a little numb immediately after you receive a root canal. Since the numbing agent only works around the area where it is applied, you should be completely capable of driving back to your home, work, or school afterward. You may begin to feel some mild discomfort as this local anesthetic wears off.
It is safe to resume eating and drinking after this numbness wears off a few hours later. You should take care to avoid eating hard or chewy foods while you are still healing, as this can stress the tooth that was treated. Keep in mind that it is best not to bite or chew using the treated tooth until your dentist has placed a permanent crown on it. Remember to keep up with brushing and flossing during the healing process.
The Days Following Your Root Canal
The tooth that received the root canal may feel sore the day after the procedure. You will probably find that it feels different or rather uncomfortable when you bite or chew with it. These symptoms are to be expected and should fade with time, and they should be completely gone after only a few days. While the tooth will probably feel different for a few weeks after the procedure, it should not give you severe or increasing pain. If it does, contact your dentist.
Over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen should be able to address mild or moderate discomfort patients may feel after a root canal. You may want to take it even if you feel no pain to stay ahead of any discomfort in your tooth. If you are prescribed antibiotics, be sure to finish the whole course of medicine even if you no longer feel any symptoms. Failing to complete a course of antibiotics can result in bacteria developing resistance to the medication.
You should contact your dentist if you experience worsening or recurring pain or swelling, or if you develop symptoms such as:
- Lingering bad taste in your mouth
- An uneven bite
- Loss of a temporary filling
- Allergic reactions such as hives, itching, or difficulty breathing
Even if a root canal can cause some mild discomfort, it is far better than suffering with advanced tooth decay. If you develop any unexpected complications, contacting your dentist can get you the help you need.
About the Practice
Dental Wellness of Lexington delivers courteous and high-quality care in a clean and comfortable environment in Lexington, KY. Led by Drs. Anthony Feck, Maxie Combs, Carol Wilson, and Amita Patel, the staff provides efficient and friendly service using the latest dental techniques and technology. Areas of expertise include general, cosmetic, emergency, and restorative dentistry such as root canals. For more information on recovering from a root canal, contact the office online or dial (859) 223-4644.