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What to Expect During and After a Root Canal

by | Feb 22, 2018 | Uncategorized

Sometimes a tooth becomes infected or decays to the root causing pain and sensitivity in the root canal.  This is when root canal therapy is needed to clean out the infection or decay and fill it in.  Some people get anxious because they are worried about pain and the healing process.  The article below should ease some of your nerves because it explains what you can expect if you have to undergo this treatment.  We perform a lot of root canals at Thomas Dental, so if you have further questions don’t be afraid to ask us!  Visit our page with more information, too:


How long will pain last after root canal?

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Most people associate having a root canal with a lot of pain and discomfort. However, while most people can expect some discomfort during and after a root canal procedure, excessive pain is not normal.

Modern technology and the use of anesthetics make this procedure quick, safe, typically pain-free, and an excellent way to help save the natural tooth.

However, to avoid needing root canal treatment, anyone who has a toothache should see a dentist promptly to prevent any infection from getting worse, forming an abscess, or spreading throughout the tooth root system.

Fast facts on pain after a root canal:

  • A root canal will treat the diseased tissue (pulp) while preserving the rest of the tooth.
  • A person will be given anesthetic before the procedure, so it is usually no more painful than a typical dental filling.
  • If a root canal fails, redoing it can fix the problem.

How much pain is normal?

Most people report feeling a little sensitive or tender for a few days after having a root canal.

There are several reasons for this:

  • The tissue around the gums remains swollen or inflamed: Even though the dentist has removed the nerve root from the tooth, there are still small nerves in the ligaments and tissue surrounding the tooth. When this area is inflamed, such as after a dental procedure, these nerve endings can also register discomfort.
  • Instrument damage: It is possible that a dental instrument used to clean out the root canal inadvertently damaged the sensitive surrounding tissue.
  • High temporary filling: This is when the dentist put in the temporary filling and they did not smooth it down enough. If the filling is even just a little higher than the surrounding tooth, it can cause the mouth to bite harder on that spot, which would make the tooth sore.

In most cases, the sensitivity and discomfort associated with a root canal should go away within a few days.

If it does not get better, or if the pain is severe or unrelieved by home measures, it is important to call the endodontist or dentist for an evaluation.

Can a root canal fail?

Fortunately, most root canals are successful. However, some root canal treatments are unsuccessful, and a person can experience more pain. There are many reasons why this happens:

  • the restoration begins to leak
  • poor oral or dental hygiene
  • breakdown of the tooth or sealing material over time
  • presence of an extra canal in the tooth that the endodontist cannot see
  • an obstruction such as a curved root canal that prevents complete cleaning of the canal
  • vertical cracks in the tooth
  • dentist or endodontist error

If the cause of the pain is due to a missed canal, the endodontist will need to open the tooth, remove the filling and try to find the canal.

If the tooth has a vertical fracture, the dentist would likely have to remove the tooth.

If a person experiences persistent inflammation or infection after a root canal, they may require a surgical procedure called a root-end resection.

Managing root canal pain at home

Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers should be sufficient to relieve the pain after a root canal. When using medications, make sure to follow instructions carefully and call the endodontist if the pain medication is not working.

It is important to avoid chewing or biting down on the affected tooth until the final restoration has been completed. The temporary filling is delicate and may break as a result. Also, practicing good oral hygiene with regular brushing and flossing should continue.
Call our Phoenix, AZ, dental office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.


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Source: Medical News Today