Most people are rather fearful of most dental procedures and they often have questions about treatments like the root canal. If your dentist has just told you that you need a root canal, chances are that you are wondering what to expect and you would like to know if the tooth will hurt and how to care for it after the procedure. You need to talk to your dentist about what to expect during the hours and days after the root canal therapy. The good news is that most people experience very little to no pain or discomfort after a planned root canal procedure. But if you do experience minor issues, this is a look at what might occur:
Slightly painful gum
If you experience any discomfort, it may be because the gums around the tooth may be tender. During the subsequent visits, the dentist may isolate the problem tooth using a tool called the rubber dam. The rubber sheet is held in place using a metal clamp with prongs and they can bruise, pinch or cut the tooth’s gum tissue. Fortunately, the tenderness usually disappears within a day or two.
It is not uncommon for the tooth to feel a bit tender or sensitive following the root canal treatment. If you experience any discomfort, you can use an over-the-counter analgesic to control the pain. You should look for medication like aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) that have anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure that you check the product to confirm that it is fine for you.
Possible tissue inflammation
The discomfort may be caused by tissue inflammation. This is the most common cause of pain after the root canal procedure. The tissue surrounding the tooth’s root can become irritated especially if the dental equipment pokes beyond the root’s tip. The inflammation can also be caused by debris getting into the area. While a good dentist will do their best to reduce the chances of this occurring, it is not always preventable. The OTC medication can help to ease the discomfort.
Another cause of discomfort after a root canal procedure may be due to an infection. Sometimes the therapy procedure triggers activation of bacteria that may be harbored in the teeth resulting in an acute infection. While this is less likely, it is possible especially during emergency procedures. For this situation, the dentist will usually prescribe an antibiotic. A pain reliever or narcotic analgesic can also help to keep the patient comfortable as the infection subsides.
While root canal post-treatment complications are not common, they do occur from time to time. There are cases that necessitate unscheduled dental visits to get necessary treatment. If you experience any form of discomfort, it is important to contact your dentist. While most situations do not require making a dental appointment, you should not put up with any discomfort for a prolonged period. It is important to know that the pain levels will be much higher during emergency visits where the dentist most likely has to deal with inflamed tissue.
It is important to understand the aftercare steps that you should take after the root canal treatment. It is a good idea to exercise caution after the treatment. Favor the tooth and avoid chewing on that side of your mouth until your dentist tells you otherwise. You should take precautions to avoid breaking the new temporary filling when the treatment procedure requires several appointments.
Find out the foods to watch out for after the root canal procedure and steer clear of anything hard or chewy. Make sure that you brush your teeth regularly even though the area might feel sensitive. You should, however, be very careful when flossing and if you feel like you are snagging on the tooth, stop and report the problem to your dentist.