While root canals may sound frightening, with an understanding of what to expect during the recovery period, you'll walk away from the procedure with the knowledge necessary to maintain a healthy smile for years to come.
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 without complications.
Root Canal Recovery Process
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
Before your procedure, your dentist will explain what to expect. Expect some soreness in the days following your root canal, particularly as the local anesthetic wears off. Typically, there will be some discomfort at the root canal site, as well as general jaw soreness from keeping your mouth open throughout the procedure.
If you've been provided with pain medication, it may help prevent discomfort while you heal.
While some mild discomfort or pain is to be expected, it is critical to monitor your mouth for changes and to see your dentist immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms. If it is after regular business hours or you are unable to schedule an appointment, you should proceed to your hospital's emergency department. The sooner you seek assistance, the more likely we will be able to resolve the issue and alleviate any pain you are experiencing 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
Although recovery times vary by individual, you can anticipate that the majority of the pain you were experiencing before treatment will quickly subside following a root canal procedure. Within seven days of the procedure, your mouth should have reduced swelling and little 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