7 Tips for Root Canal Aftercare: Pain Relief & Avoiding Infection.
Dr. Jay Khorsandi, DDS
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Table of Contents
- Common Procedure Aftercare
- Aftercare Steps
- Good Oral Health
Most people experience at least mild or moderate discomfort and pain after getting a root canal.
If pain gets worse or does not go away in a few days, work with your dentist to determine the underlying cause. Otherwise, practice good aftercare at home to avoid infection and manage pain.
Root canals: common procedures that require aftercare.
A root canal can help save a tooth from damage associated with decay. On average, 16.4 million teeth in the United States receive root canal treatment every year.
While the term root canal may seem a little intimidating, as it is often used to describe an excruciating situation, this is a very common procedure with great results for the majority of people who receive it. It is an outpatient procedure that can be performed by an endodontist, using local anesthesia.
Recovery is also fairly rapid. It takes only a few days until pain and swelling subside and you begin to feel normal.
7 steps to take after a root canal to relieve pain and avoid infection.
Beneath the enamel and dentin layers in your teeth is a type of tissue called pulp. The pulp contains nerve endings, blood vessels, and connective tissue to help your tooth grow during its development. If you get a gum infection or break the tooth, the pulp can become infected, leading to the need for a root canal.
Fortunately, this procedure is quick, simple, and comes with an easy recovery. You will experience a little pain and discomfort in the days following it. You can manage this pain at home with some common post-dental procedure recommendations.
Here are steps you can take to treat pain after a root canal and encourage the healing process:
Take Prescribed Medications
Try Over-The-Counter Pain Medications
Use A Saltwater Rinse
Return To Your Regular Oral Hygiene Routine
Avoid Smoking and Drinking Alcohol
Use An Ice Pack
The importance of good oral health after a root canal.
Although root canals are common procedures, you can still expect to experience some discomfort, pain, and fatigue after the procedure. It is still a type of surgery, and your body will need time to heal.
On top of the above recommendations to reduce pain and avoid infection, there are some additional steps you can take to support overall healing.
Avoid exerting yourself for a few days, until the pain subsides. If you regularly jog or practice vinyasa yoga, take a break from your regime for a few days. Anything that shakes your head and jaw or forces blood to rush to the area will cause more pain and discomfort in the long run.
After a couple days, you can begin to engage in gentle exercise. After a week, you can return to your normal exercise regime.
Keep Your Head Elevated
Avoid Chewing In The Area
Stick To Soft Foods
Be sure to avoid sticky, hard, or crunchy foods for some time, at least on the side of your mouth with the root canal, until the filling is covered with a crown.
Covering the tooth with a crown is the final step after getting a root canal procedure. If you damage the underlying filling, you may need to undergo another operation or even lose the tooth altogether.
What Is a Root Canal? American Association of Endodontists (AAE).
Doctor, Why Does My Tooth Still Hurt? And What Can You Do About It? (January-February 2010). Northwest Dentistry.
How to Recover from Oral Surgery. (July 2018). Delta Dental.
Pain Management. American Association of Endodontists (AAE).
How Long Will Pain Last After Root Canal? (January 2020). Medical News Today.
Post Treatment Care. American Association of Endodontists (AAE).