A root canal is a procedure used to treat a badly infected tooth. Thanks to it, even if the infection is severe, the tooth may be saved, so patients can avoid a permanent extraction.
But say the term "root canal," and most people flinch because it’s associated with lots of pain, some of which can be experienced after the procedure.
If you’re about to get a root canal at Denver Dream Dentistry or anywhere else in the Denver area, here’s what you need to know about the pain felt after a root canal.
What Causes Pain After a Root Canal?
Root canals are done under local anesthesia, so you won’t feel any discomfort during it.
When you leave the dentist’s office, your mouth will still be numb from the anesthetic. But once it wears off, it’s common to feel some pain and swelling.
This can be caused by:
- Post-procedure inflammation: Root canals involve cleaning the inside of the tooth of all the infected tissue, including what lies down the narrow canals. Pain and swelling are common afterward as your body tries to heal the tooth. The symptoms usually only last a few days.
- Lingering infection: If the infection was large, it could have spread to the surrounding tissues like the gums or jawbone. Sometimes, even if the infection hasn’t spread, it can be so severe that root canals need to be performed in two or more sessions. In these cases, you’ll receive antibiotic treatment to help your body fight the infection, but you can continue to feel pain for about a week.
- Failed root canal: If the pain persists for more than a week, it could be a sign the root canal failed and the tooth is still infected.
How to Recover During the Initial Healing Stages
Most patients fully recover from a root canal in about a week.
Some tips that can help you recover include:
- Continue to brush your teeth and floss.
- Avoid hard foods and sugar.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get plenty of rest.
How to Prevent Tooth Pain After a Root Canal
Usually, pain is more intense for the first 3 days after a root canal, after which you should feel some relief.
- Don’t brush directly over the treated tooth.
- Take OTC pain medication like Ibuprofen.
- Hold a cold compress on your cheek.
- Chew on the other side of the mouth and eat softer foods like mashed potatoes.
- Avoid foods or drinks that are too hot or too cold.
Think You Need a Root Canal? Reach out Today
If you’re dealing with a tooth infection and are in a lot of pain, Dr. Benjamin Baranes is ready to help you with professional root canal therapy that will remove your discomfort and restore your oral health.
To get started, schedule an appointment at Denver Dream Dentistry online or call us at (303) 377-9278 today.