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Recovering From a Root Canal: What You Should Know

Posted on 11/10/2016 by Dr. Hallas
An elderly woman about to receive a root canal.
A root canal can help save your tooth and removes any infection that lies underneath, which also prevents it from spreading throughout the body. First, you are given a local anesthetic, which will numb the area.

Then the dentist will drill into the tooth and remove the pulp as well as the root. The empty space is cleaned and disinfected. It is then filled and sealed, most commonly with a crown.

This will help prevent any bacteria from entering as well as strengthen the tooth. While the process is not long, there are some things you should know about the recovery.

There May Be Pain
After the anesthetic wears off, you may experience some soreness or sensitivity, particularly if there was pain or an infection prior to the root canal. Over the counter pain medication is usually enough to manage this discomfort, but you may also be prescribed stronger medications should you need them. If an infection was present at the time of your treatment, you may also be given antibiotics.

A Second Visit is Required
After your root canal, you are usually given a temporary crown, which will help hold your tooth and protect it from contamination, until a permanent one is made for you.

In some instances, you are only given a filling which, immediately following the procedure, is only temporary. One your permanent fixture is ready; you will go back to the dentist to have it cemented in place.

Chew Gently
It is advised that you chew gently, and not on the side of your mouth that has had the root canal, until you have received your permanent crown or filling. This will help to prevent recontamination of the affected tooth.

Oral Hygiene is Important

In order to prevent new infections, it's important to practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss and use mouthwash. You should also visit the dentist regularly for cleanings and exams. The dentist can further help prevent gum disease and tooth decay as well as check for signs that something is amiss before you notice any symptoms.

Times to Call Immediately
Healing should take no more than a few days. You should contact your dentist immediately if:

•  Your pain lasts longer than a few days or gets worse.
•  You have an allergic reaction to any prescribed medications.
•  Your bite feels off.
•  You notice visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth.

A root canal can save your tooth and prevent the spread of infection. As long as you take care after the procedure, you won't have to worry about needing another. Contact our office to see if it's the best option for you.


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