Getting Through a Root Canal Procedure

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Root canals can be essential for maintaining a healthy smile and preserving the integrity and structure of your teeth. Chances are that you’ve been well versed about what to expect during the root canal procedure. Unfortunately, some patients understand very little of what to expect during the recovery process.

How Long Does a Root Canal Take to Complete?

Your endodontist can perform a simple root canal procedure in 30 to 60 minutes in one appointment. More complicated root canals may take 90 minutes in one appointment. Some root canal procedures may take two or even three visits.

Root Canal Recovery Time

What you may not realize is that your tooth will continue the healing process after the procedure is complete. A root canal removes the damage, but healing takes a little additional time.

Your mouth may be sore, especially in the area where the root canal was performed, for a few days following the procedure. You should not be concerned unless the tenderness lasts a week or longer or if you develop a fever.

Tooth Pain After Root Canal Treatment

Once the numbing agents used by your dentist begin to wear off, you may experience mild to moderate facial or Jaw pain. There are things you can do that will help to promote healing of the tooth and surrounding area as well as reducing your overall discomfort of mouth pain, such as:

  • Follow the guidelines your dentist provided you with for the recovery period.

  • Take over-the-counter pain medications or prescribed medications, if necessary, to stay ahead of the pain.

  • Avoid chewing on the tooth until all remaining tenderness subsides.

  • Abstain from eating hard, crunchy, or chewy foods that might induce pain.

  • Continue practicing good oral health care, such as brushing, flossing, rinsing, etc.

  • Have a crown placed on the tooth as quickly as possible.

These practices will help you prevent potential complications or accidentally causing yourself unnecessary pain.

Recommended Foods to Eat after a Root Canal

The good news is that you can eat again after the root canal procedure. Let the tenderness of your mouth and your own hunger dictate what you decide to eat unless instructed otherwise by your dentist.

For the most part, soft foods are a safe bet for the first few days following the procedure. As your mouth recovers and heals, you’ll be able to move on to some of your favorite foods even if they are a little chewier or crunchier in nature.

Failed Root Canal Symptoms

If you experience the following symptoms after a root canal, the American Association of Endodontists recommends contacting your endodontist immediately:

  • Visible swelling inside or outside your mouth.

  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction to the medications.

  • The loss of a temporary crown or filling.

  • Severe pain that lasts more than a few days.

  • An uneven bite.

  • The return of symptoms you experienced before the root canal.

Many people,  though, never need to follow this step and have no need to follow up with their endodontists until it is time for the next step in the treatment process – most likely related to the fitting or placement of the crown.

Most are also scared of root canals. They have been unjustly maligned in pulp fiction and horror stories. Once the procedure is over, you’ll likely see that your fears were unfounded and even the recovery process itself offers little more than moderate discomfort. While there is always the possibility of complications with any medical or dental procedures, seeking prompt care when they do arise can minimize any pain you may experience and your recovery time.


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