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What To Expect After Root Canal Treatment



The root canal treatment procedure is usually recommended to restore severely damaged or infected teeth. The procedure involves the removal of the damaged or infected tissue (pulp), cleaning and disinfecting the area, and filling and sealing.

How Much Will Your Life Change After Root Canal Treatment?

After successful root canal treatment, it is not unusual for the patient to experience some pain and sensitivity that can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. You may also notice a small bubble in the gum tissue and some roughness around the restored tooth. These symptoms are completely normal, and should subside gradually as your mouth heals.

It is important that you take good care of your teeth and mouth after root canal treatment to avoid any discomfort and hasten your recovery. Below are a few things to expect during the recovery period.

  • Slight discomfort for a couple of days after treatment, though the restored tooth will remain tender to chewing for a little longer. Your mouth may feel sore for about two weeks, owing to the inflammation of the periodontal ligament situated between the tooth and bone. The tenderness should be manageable with medication before it completely disappears in about two weeks.
  • You will likely be given ibuprofen, which is both a pain reliever to help decrease the discomfort, and a strong anti-inflammatory medication to hasten the healing process.
  • The root canal treatment is not complete until a crown is placed on the tooth, which is usually done in a few weeks. Although the restored tooth is strong, you should try to avoid chewing on that tooth (or side of the mouth) until it has been crowned. Completing the treatment will significantly boost the longevity of the restoration.
  • It is best to avoid sticky, hard, and crunchy foods, as they can dislodge the filling material and trap food debris that increases the risk of decay. These foods include carrots, chewing gum, apples, caramels, bread, etc.
  • It is best to avoid driving, operating dangerous machinery, smoking, or drinking alcoholic beverages while taking pain medication. Stronger pain medication may be necessary if ibuprofen does not sufficiently soothe the discomfort.
  • You should schedule a dental visit in six to twelve months after the treatment to assess the progress of the endodontic treatment. Over 90 percent of treatments are successful and don’t require any subsequent procedures. During the visit, the dentist or endodontist will take an x-ray of the current condition of the tooth and compare it to an x-ray of the tooth before the treatment.

You should practice good oral hygiene, which includes regular brushing and flossing and professional cleanings and checkups, after the root canal treatment procedure. This will ensure that you don’t have to lose any more natural teeth, and that your restored tooth lasts as long as your other teeth.

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Dr. Stacey Stein
A graduate from the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto, Dr. Stacy Stein provides personalized care to each patient by explaining the risks and benefits of different treatment options in an honest way, and involves patients in their own care. With a focus on preventative, paediatrics, restorative, prosthodontics, and endodontics, she loves working with patients of all ages.