Recovery after Root Canal Therapy

November 1, 2018 — by Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky
Tags: Root Canal Therapy

A diagram of root canal treatmentRoot canal therapy is an endodontic procedure used to remove infected tissue from within the tooth in an effort to save the tooth from extraction.

When facing root canal therapy, many patients wonder what to expect during the recovery process. During consultations, Dr. Nathaniel Podilsky helps prepare patients for treatment by thoroughly explaining root canal therapy and the recovery process.

If you live in or around Edmonton, AB and would like more information about root canal therapy, we welcome you to schedule a consultation.

How Long Is Recovery After Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy is a relatively simple procedure in which a small hole is made in the tooth in order to access and remove the infected root, nerve, and pulp tissues from within the tooth.

Recovery after root canal therapy can take about a week, but most patients will feel back to normal much sooner. With that said, patients may resume their normal activities as soon as the anesthetic used during treatment wears off.

Pain during Recovery

Some patients may feel some degree of pain after root canal therapy. Sometimes, the pain is not from the procedure itself but from swelling or inflammation that was present at the time of infection.

The tissues and ligaments around the tooth may also be tender from the root canal infection and treatment. However, patients should not expect to be in as much pain as they were prior to root canal therapy.

Most post-treatment discomfort can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication as recommended by your dentist. Generally, these include medications with ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

Another way to reduce pain after root canal therapy is to avoid chewing on the treated tooth for several days, or until it is no longer sore. Keeping pressure off of the tooth can help the surrounding tissues heal and reduce overall discomfort faster. 

Take Medications as Prescribed

If advised to take pain medications during recovery, taking them as recommended can help stay on top of pain and prevent discomfort.

Sometimes, antibiotics are prescribed after root canal therapy, especially when root canal infections are severe and have spread to the surrounding tissues. If antibiotics are prescribed, it is important to take them as indicated and to use the full prescription. When antibiotics are not taken as prescribed, the infection is more likely to come back.

Eating during Recovery

Patients may eat and drink as usual after root canal therapy. However, it is recommended to wait until the anesthesia used during treatment wears off to avoid biting your tongue or cheek.

Although there are generally no food restrictions after root canal therapy, patients may find it most comfortable to stick to soft foods and avoid hard, crunchy foods during the first day or so of recovery as the tissues around the tooth may be tender.

Also, avoiding chewing on the treated tooth can further help patients stay comfortable as they recover.

Practice Proper Oral Hygiene during and after Recovery

During and after recovery, it is essential to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing the teeth for at least two minutes twice a day and flossing along each side of each tooth at least once a day.

Patients may brush and floss as normal immediately following root canal therapy. Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay and additional root canal infections. Regularly brushing and flossing is one of the best ways to protect the smile.

Schedule an Appointment

If you have questions about root canal therapy recovery, or would like to learn more about the dental treatments that may be right for you, please call (780) 428-6846 to schedule an appointment.