Help! I’m Worried My Root Canal Recovery Will Hurt

September 12, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — wdcchicago @ 4:23 pm
Woman with brown hair getting a root canal done by a dentist wearing blue gloves

While no one wants to have a toothache that leads to an emergency visit to your dentist, it’s not uncommon. If you suddenly find yourself with a horrible toothache, it could be that your tooth has decay or infection and will require a root canal. Many patients in these cases worry about pain during and after the procedure, but try to set your mind at ease. Thankfully, it’s been reported that it actually doesn’t hurt any more than getting a cavity filled. That’s great news if you’ve been feeling anxious!

Now, you can set your concern aside and instead focus on what happens after your root canal. After all, taking care of yourself is essential so that the affected tooth can heal effectively. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect during recovery!

Immediately Following the Procedure

Immediately following your root canal, you’ll probably feel:

  • Numb. It’ll take a few hours for the local anesthetic to wear off of your mouth. Don’t eat anything you need to chew or drink hot fluids. Your senses are dulled and it’s hard to tell if something is burning you or if you’re biting too hard.
  • Discomfort. You’ll likely feel tender and sore around the treated tooth immediately after. You may experience swelling or a slightly bruised sensation. This is usually manageable with over-the-counter pain medications, like ibuprofen.

You’re encouraged to gently brush and floss your teeth like usual at the end of the day- just be careful around the sore spot.

The Upcoming Few Days

After a few days, most of your symptoms should have subsided. Remember, though, that your tooth is still healing so it’s important to:

  • Take prescribed medications. If you were given antibiotics, take them as directed to avoid infection. If you still feel aching, it’s fine to continue taking ibuprofen or other pain medication as instructed.
  • Eat softer foods. You’ll want to avoid biting down hard on the tooth that had the root canal. Stick with things that are easy to eat and swallow.
  • Keep up your oral hygiene routine. Be careful to brush and floss gently, especially around the treated tooth.

It usually only takes a few days before patients feel back to normal.

What to Look Out For

Some things to look out for could be signs that you’re not healing as intended or a complication has developed. If you experience these, it’s time to call your dentist:

  • Fever
  • Malaise (a general sense of feeling unwell)
  • Bad taste in your mouth
  • Extreme swelling
  • Uneven bite
  • Increasing pain levels
  • Difficulty breathing or hives (an allergic reaction to some medications)

These are uncommon symptoms and are indicative of infection or other cause for concern. Your dentist will be able to assess your condition to get your recovery back on track.

Now that you know what to expect both during and after your root canal, you can see that there’s nothing to worry about! Any after-effects you feel should be mild and are typically quite manageable. In fact, now that infected materials have been removed from your tooth, you’re probably in less pain than you were to begin with. What a relief!

About the Author

Dr. Peter Hammes received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Illinois-Chicago then began his active-duty Navy career. He then completed a one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency that included special education and training in oral surgery and endodontics (the branch of dentistry that focuses on the internal pulp and roots of a tooth). With additional weekend hours and extended evening hours, you can schedule your root canal when it’s most convenient for your schedule. If you’d like to make an appointment you’re welcome to request one on our website or call (312) 624-8070.