Are Root Canals Painful?
October 14, 2021
At your last checkup, did your dentist say you need a root canal? If so, you might be filled with dread about the procedure – especially if you’ve never gotten one before. Many people think that a root canal is painful, but that’s actually far from true. In fact, root canals are designed to relieve pain caused by tooth decay or infection. Are you still not convinced? Read on to find out why you have nothing to fear when undergoing this common procedure and what you can do to ensure a smooth sailing recovery.
How Much Pain Is Normal After a Root Canal?
After root canal treatment, it’s normal to experience mild to moderate pain or soreness in the area. You may notice that the site around the tooth is a bit sore and tender as your body heals. Since the procedure requires you to have your mouth open for a while, you might even have a sore jaw. However, any discomfort you feel following your procedure should be manageable with pain medication and cold compresses. It’s worth noting that your diligence in following aftercare instructions is an essential factor in the amount of pain you might feel. After your root canal treatment, make sure you follow your dentist’s advice to avoid any complications.
When Should You Contact Your Dentist?
Some discomfort is to be expected after a root canal, but how much is too much? Well, if the pain you’re feeling is so severe that it’s interrupting your life, you should contact your dentist right away. It could indicate that a complication has developed, like an infection, tooth crack, or fracture. Ruling out these post-op complications is crucial as they can negatively affect the healing process.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek dental attention as soon as possible:
- Severe or excruciating pain
- An uneven bite (when you bite down, the treated tooth feels “high”)
Tips to Reduce Post-Operative Soreness
Once the anesthesia wears off, you might experience some soreness or tenderness in the area. Luckily, this discomfort is temporary and should gradually fade over the next few days.
In the meantime, here are some ways you can relieve your discomfort:
- Take prescribed or over-the-counter pain medication as directed
- Use a cold compress to reduce swelling and minimize discomfort
- Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth that underwent surgery
- Stick to a soft-food diet in the days following your procedure
- Practice good oral hygiene (brush twice a day, floss daily, rinse with antiseptic mouthwash)
As you can see, there’s nothing to fear when it comes to root canal treatment. But remember – if you’re feeling unusual or extreme pain following your procedure, contact your dentist right away. They’ll examine your tooth and get you back on track to feeling your very best!
About the Author
Dr. Monica M. Mattson is passionate about helping all her patients achieve their happiest, healthiest smiles. After graduating from Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine, she completed a prestigious General Practice Residency in Dentistry at the Naval Hospital of Camp Pendleton, CA. If you need a root canal, Dr. Mattson and her team will do everything possible to ensure you’re completely comfortable throughout your procedure. To make an appointment, visit her website or call (443) 394-2273.
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