How long does root canal pain last?

Lifestyle | 8 Oct |

A root canal is a dental procedure that can get rid of the infection in a tooth. As the procedure involves deep cleaning, it is normal to experience some pain following on from the procedure. Looking after your mouth, eating the right foods, and listening to your dentist’s advice will mean root canal pain does not last long. Below we look at how long root canal pain may last for.

During the Procedure

Contrary to popular belief, a root canal is not supposed to hurt. While the treatment can be uncomfortable, experiencing severe pain while the dentist is carrying out your root canal is not normal. A good dentist knows how to carry out this procedure with minimal pain for their patients. You may feel some discomfort while the procedure is going ahead, as you will have to keep your mouth open for around an hour.

The procedure should not be painful as dentists will use a numbing medication, known as anesthetic. This will be injected into the gums around the area of the tooth, meaning you should not be able to feel much. The dentist will check the anesthetic has worked effectively before starting the procedure. Stop your dentist and let them know if you feel the anesthetic wearing off faster than it should be or if you start to experience pain.

After the Procedure

After you have had your root canal, the anesthetic will take a few hours to wear off. During this time, your mouth will remain numb. This means you won’t feel any pain immediately. As the anesthetic wears off gradually, you may start to feel aching or mild pain in the area. This should only last for a few days after treatment. If you get any severe pain, this may be due to a complication and you must speak with your dentist straight away.

How to Relieve Pain

Aftercare is essential to relieve pain after a root canal. Root canal pain should only last a few days and, with treatment, you should be able to go ahead with your normal life, including going to work. Over-the-counter medications are effective enough to get rid of pain after your root canal. Tylenol should be used for pain and ibuprofen can reduce swelling. Make sure these medications do not interact with anything you are already taking.

What to Eat and Drink

If you want your pain to only last a few days, you must stick to soft foods, that are easy to chew. This gives the site time to heal, which can help with pain, swelling, and general discomfort. Do not eat anything spicy, or anything too hot, as burning the area could lead to pain and permanent damage. Good foods to eat include mashed potato, smoothies, and yogurt.

You will be able to reintroduce harder, chewier foods into your diet as the pain subsides and the area heals. If it is still painful to eat after a few days, speak to your dentist. It is vital you eat as regularly as you normally would as your body needs food in order to heal the procedure site. You should try not to eat a lot of high-sugar foods or drink sugary drinks, as this could increase the chance of decay and infection.

Dental Hygiene

When caring for your mouth after a root canal, you must maintain good dental hygiene, as this will promote healing. Although it may be painful to brush your teeth, you must continue to brush twice daily, as you normally would. Avoid using an electric toothbrush, as this could cause damage and further pain. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently when going around the area that is sore.

Your dentist may also advise you to rinse your mouth with saltwater. This can help with pain, as well as help to get rid of any bacteria in the mouth. Regular dental hygiene is essential to stop reinfection. If it hurts a lot while you are brushing, it may be that you are brushing too hard.

The Outlook for Pain After a Root Canal Treatment

Most root canal pain will go away within a few days. If it does not, you should speak to your dentist as they may need to have another look at the area to check it hasn’t got reinfected. With the use of painkillers, good dental hygiene, and consuming the right foods, the outlook for pain after your root canal is good. Most people experience only mild pain and are able to continue with their usual activities, such as working.

Root canal pain will not last long and with great aftercare, you should be able to eat and drink normally again within a few days. Be sure not to rush the process, and if you experience any severe pain after your root canal, be sure to contact your dentist.

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