In the United States, 15 million root canals are done in a dentist’s office each year. But how long is root canal recovery, and what can you expect?
If your dentist recently told you that you need a root canal, you likely have a lot of questions about your recovery. In this article, you’ll learn more about why you might need a root canal, root canal recovery time, and tips on making it through.
Why Do You Need a Root Canal?
A root canal is a type of dental treatment needed to remove decay from a tooth. Sometimes, decay and bacteria reach deeply into the roots of the tooth, like the pulp and the nerves, and this causes an infection. To save the tooth, the infection must be removed to prevent it from spreading.
One of the greatest benefits of root canals is that patients can keep their teeth. This is not always the case when the infection is so severe that it needs a tooth extraction.
You may not know that you need a root canal, but certain symptoms indicate a problem. These symptoms are:
- Persistent tooth pain
- Bad breath
- Pain when chewing or speaking
- Sensitivity with certain foods
Not all of these symptoms are signs of a root canal, but if you have dental pain that can’t be explained, you should make an appointment to see your dentist.
Root Canal Procedure
Only your dentist can tell you that you need a root canal. If they detect infection in the tooth, they’ll explain to you that a root canal is the best way to save your tooth. If you need a root canal, here are some things that you can expect.
Your dentist will administer a type of sedation to numb the area. Root canals can be painful, and you’ll want the area to be sedated.
The dentist uses a drill to drill a small hole in the infected tooth. This hole is how the dentist will access the infection to clean it out.
Once the small hole is drilled, the dentist will go in and clean out the infection and the damaged tissue. Nerve ending and blood vessels are cleaned as well.
After the cleaning, it’s important to cover up the hole, as exposed roots may become infected again. The dentist will use a dental filling to fill the hole and possibly cover it with a crown or a false tooth to keep it in place.
While this is the general procedure for a root canal, there are some other factors. For example, root canals may take about a half-hour, but if the damage is severe, they could take longer. Where the infection is in the tooth and how many root canals you need will also play a part in the procedure.
It is possible that some patients need to return for more cleaning. If your dentist recommends you return for cleaning, be sure to keep your appointment so all of the infection can be removed.
Root Canal Recovery Time: What to Expect
After your root canal, you might be wondering how long your recovery will be. Generally speaking, most people recover well within a few days and can even return to their regular diet and activities.
Here are some root canal recovery tips you need to know to make sure your recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
Root canal pain can persist for several days after the procedure. However, this pain should gradually subside as time goes on. If it seems persistent or gets worse, you need to call your dentist.
Your dentist may prescribe over-the-counter medications to manage the pain. Some dentists may prescribe a stronger medication if you’ve had several root canals. You’ll also be given at-home instructions on foods and activities you need to avoid after your recovery.
Another way to manage the pain is to chew your food on the side of your mouth without the root canal. This way, you’ll avoid a direct injury to the root canal, and you won’t experience excess pain.
Besides medication, you can apply a cold compress to the area to help with any swelling or pain.
Above all, you should maintain your oral habits like brushing and flossing after every meal. Brushing minimizes the number of bacteria on your teeth and lowers the risk of needing another root canal or causing the current root canal to become infected again.
Root Canal Recovery Problems
Most people recover from a root canal with no additional problems. They can return to their activities pain-free and without much worry. But sometimes, there are problems after your root canal of which you should be aware.
If you’re eating or chewing and biting seems uncomfortable or abnormal, you should contact your dentist. This could mean that the crown is dispositioned.
Your pain hasn’t diminished. Root canal pain should disappear after a few days or longer, depending on how many root canals you had. If you’re still experiencing pain after a week, contact your dentist.
In very rare cases, you may have contracted an infection. This is why it’s extremely important to choose a dentist who has experience and skill in performing root canals.
Root Canal Recovery for You
While root canals are no picnic, root canal recovery is extremely important so you can go back to your daily life and activities. Be sure to pay attention to your recovery after a root canal and report any unusual pain to your dentist.
Do you have questions about root canals, or do you have unexplained tooth pain? Our team is able to help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation or appointment.