While you’re suffering from a tooth in need of a root canal, root canals are suffering from an unjustifiably horrible reputation. Just hearing the words root canal sends a shiver down some people’s spines. But why? What have root canals done to deserve such infamy? Both the procedure and the recovery involved are temporary and completely tolerable. Although they aren’t pain-free, they certainly shouldn’t be dreaded or denounced. If you’re wondering what to expect after a root canal, scroll down for the honest, unembellished truth.
What to Expect After a Root Canal
Most people agree that having root canal therapy is no more painful than getting a filling. After the simple procedure, you will experience some or all of the following:
The anesthetic that makes root canal therapy more comfortable will not fade right away. For a few hours following the procedure, your mouth and lips will remain numb. This may be frustrating, but it will pass. Be patient.
TENDERNESS, PAIN, & SENSITIVITY
Nearly all patients experience tenderness in the treated area in the days following root canal therapy. Sensitivity is common as well due to tissue inflammation, and don’t be surprised if you have some throbbing pain. The tenderness and pain should fade within a day or two, but if you like, you can take over-the-counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen to lessen your discomfort.
Because root canal treatments are finished with a filling or crown, no one will know that you’ve had a root canal. Your crown or filling will mimic the appearance of your healthy, natural teeth in color, shape, and texture.
Now that the infected or damaged pulp has been removed, your tooth’s condition should improve dramatically. After the initial side effects fade, your tooth should feel pain-free and healthy.
GUIDELINES FROM YOUR DENTIST
In addition to the side effects and benefits listed above, you should also expect to receive a list of instructions from your dentist regarding your post-treatment care. Common guidelines include the following:
• Try not to eat until the numbness fades.
• Until the treated tooth has been restored with a filling/crown, do not chew or bite with it.
• If your temporary filling or crown comes out between appointments, call your dentist.
• Contact your dentist if you experience visible swelling or an allergic reaction.
• If your bite feels uneven, contact your dentist to have it corrected.
• Brush and floss as usual.
Nearly all root canal procedures are successful (an estimated 95%), but if you notice your pre-treatment symptoms returning, contact your dentist to ensure that the tooth has been fully and successfully repaired. In some unfortunate (but rare) cases, due to infection, a second procedure will be necessary to save the tooth.
If hearing about root canals makes you shudder, we hope that learning about the mild and temporary aftereffects has reduced your anxiety. Although root canals have a bad reputation, in fact, they are a wonderful solution to a very painful infection.