To estimate the recovery time of a root canal, we must first know the process of this treatment:
A root canal (or endodontics) treatment consists of the removal and replacement of the dental pulp with a sealing material to stop an ongoing infection.
The dental pulp contains nerves and blood vessels that can cause sharp pain if they get infected by bacteria leaking into it. These bacteria can leak into the dental pulp from a tooth fracture, unattended tooth decay, etc.
That is why a root canal consists of the removal and replacement of this diseased dental pulp with a sealing dental material that ceases the infection and prevents further damage to the jawbone and surrounding areas of the tooth.
A root canal is a highly reliable dental intervention with over 95% of success rate. However, even with this high success rate, people wonder how long a root canal takes to heal.
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Root Canal Recovery Time
Root canal recovery tends to be different since each tooth is different. However, all root canals can be divided into three main categories:
The tooth is irreversibly inflamed; this gives the patient a burning and painful sensation. These cases usually do not require antibiotics, but painkillers may be prescribed for a few days until the tooth heals.
It takes one day for the numbness (from anesthesia) to wear down, and 3 to 7 seven days for it to completely heal.
The tooth is infected and may present sharp or no pain at all since the tooth is dead from the ongoing infection. This is a more complex case from a just inflamed tooth since it may require some managing of the infection for some time, and then the root canal procedure per se.
That is why this case may require a longer recovery time and the use of antibiotics and painkillers after the treatment. The total recovery time is between one to two weeks after the procedure.
This case involves infection and swelling of the tooth. Therefore, these are the most complicated ones to manage, since they require close management.
These cases are usually met with deep pain by patients since here the infection usually has leaked to soft tissue and even to the jawbone.
However, most cases can be managed with only the root canal and the prescription of antibiotics and painkillers. The total recovery time for these cases is between one to two weeks.
Is pain after Root Canal normal?
Once the dental nerves are removed, there should be no cause of pain, since the nerves are the parts that communicate pain to the brain. Therefore, what is causing pain in an already-treated tooth? We will list the possible causes of pain in a tooth after a root canal:
- The tooth has not been performed as a root canal.
- The root canal was poorly performed and some of the pulp continues to cause problems.
- The treatment is not well sealed and leaks bacteria that can cause infection.
- The tooth is fractured.
Tips for Relieving Pain After a Root Canal
While root canals are often associated with some discomfort, there are several things you can do to manage the pain and promote healing afterward. Here are some quick tips:
- Take your medications as prescribed by your dentist.
- Use a cold compress.
- Stick to soft foods.
- Rinse with warm salt water.
- Elevate your head.
Take prescribed pain medication
At our clinic in Mesa, Arizona, we always advise you to take the medication prescribed by our dentist to help manage any discomfort following the root canal procedure. Take the medication as directed to alleviate pain effectively.
Apply cold compress
Placing a cold compress or ice pack on the affected area can help reduce swelling and numb the area, providing temporary pain relief. Wrap the ice pack in a thin cloth and apply it to the outside of your cheek near the treated tooth for about 15 minutes at a time.
Avoid chewing on the treated tooth
To minimize further irritation or sensitivity, avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the root canal was performed. Stick to soft foods that require minimal chewing until the area has healed.
Rinse with warm salt water
Gently rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater a few times a day can help alleviate discomfort and promote healing. Mix half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish it around your mouth for 30 seconds before spitting it out.
Communicate with your dentist
If you experience persistent or severe pain after a root canal, it’s important to communicate with your dentist. They can assess your situation, determine if any further treatment is needed, and provide additional pain management options if necessary.
Remember, these tips are meant to provide temporary relief, and it’s crucial to consult with your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment of any persistent or worsening pain, or if you have doubts about recovery time for a Root Canal.