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Tips for Faster Root Canal Recovery

Is a root canal in your future? Don’t worry–this fairly common dental procedure and typically a relatively fast recovery. Still, it’s important to follow the doctor’s instructions for the fastest recovery possible. If you’re wondering what to do after a root canal, check out these six tips for a faster root canal recovery without pain and inconvenience.


  1. Take prescriptions as directed to minimize pain and prevent infection.

    Your dentist can prescribe painkillers as needed after your root canal. But even more important—if your dentist prescribes antibiotics before or after your root canal due to infection, it is vital to take the full course as directed to prevent complications.

  2. Pay close attention to your pain levels.

    Some pain and swelling post-root canal are normal, but they should begin to subside several days to a week after your procedure. If you experience worsening pain in the days after your root canal or a sudden increase in pain, talk to your dentist immediately. This could be a sign of infection or other complications.  

  3. Clean the area according to instructions.

    Your dentist will provide post-procedure instructions for dental hygiene after your procedure. Be sure to brush and floss with care around the area of your root canal to prevent irritation. 

  4. Avoid hard, chewy foods.

    In the days after your procedure, avoid foods that could irritate or cause pain or dislodge the new permanent (or temporary) crown on the tooth that underwent the root canal.

  5. Rest and recover.

    We recommend patients take the rest of the day off work or school after a root canal to rest and recover. 

Still have questions about your root canal? Read on for some commonly asked questions.

What is a root canal?

A root canal is sort of what it sounds like—a procedure in which your dentist or endodontist will “excavate” the root of your tooth to remove infected or diseased pulp from the inside of the tooth. He or she will then disinfect and treat the root then seal it to prevent further infection.

The pulp that is removed is soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue; so when this gets inflamed due to deep decay or trauma to the tooth, it can cause severe pain and other complications if left untreated.

During a root canal procedure, the dentist or endodontist will first numb the area then drill an opening in the tooth to access the roots. Using tiny instruments called files, the dentist will then carefully remove the infected or damaged pulp from the roots. Once the canals are cleaned, disinfected, and treated, the root will be sealed. The final step is tooth restoration, which is usually done by placing a crown on the damaged tooth. 

With proper care, a tooth treated with a root canal can be a lasting solution to save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted.

Do root canals hurt?

Thanks to the invention of modern anesthetics, the root canal procedure itself is painless (other than the quick prick of the needle that delivers the numbing medicine!). On the contrary, a root canal and any corresponding antibiotic treatment will actually relieve the pain you might be feeling from an infected root or damaged tooth. As with any dental procedure, you may experience soreness and minor pain after the procedure. This should begin to subside quickly in the days following your procedure. If you notice that pain is increasing rapidly or intensely days after your procedure, call your dentist right away, as this could be a sign of complications. 

How do I know I need a root canal?

The only way to know for sure if you need a root canal procedure is to have an appointment with your dentist or endodontist. However, intense pain in the tooth and surrounding areas (or the jaw) is a pretty good sign a root canal may be in your future. Small surface cavities or cracks usually don’t cause severe pain, but when damage or infection reaches the root, things can feel much more painful. 

How long is a root canal recovery?

Root canals usually have a fairly short recovery time. In fact, many people go on about their normal business immediately following the procedure. If this is your first root canal or you have concerns about pain or stress related to the procedure, we recommend taking the day of your procedure off work or school to allow time for rest and recovery. You may feel minor pain and soreness in the days following your procedure, but this should begin to subside quickly. You can speed up your recovery by following the root canal aftercare tips at the beginning of this post. 

Learn more about root canal procedure here, and if you think you may need a root canal or have other related questions, contact the expert team at Smiley Dental!


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