A root canal is a dental procedure done in order to save a tooth that has become decayed or infected. While some discomfort is possible after a root canal, newer materials, better magnification and advanced tools and techniques have led to better treatment outcomes and less discomfort. Dr. Susan Wood of the Phoenix Endodontic Group recently shared some tips designed to make your post-treatment recovery period as pleasant as possible.
- Know what to expect: Often, on the first day after a root canal procedure, you may experience some minor gum discomfort stemming from the rubber dam used to isolate the tooth undergoing the procedure. Also, the tooth being treated may itself be a little sensitive. In both cases, this discomfort can usually be easily controlled with an over-the-counter analgesic.
- Post-treatment considerations: It can be useful (not to mention reassuring) to understand how the healing process typically unfolds after a root canal A study conducted in 2008 noted that only about 8 percent of patients experienced a “flare-up” after their root canal, which was defined as development of discomfort or swelling after a scheduled root canal appointment that necessitated an unscheduled dental visit for attention.
- Know how to care for your teeth post-treatment: Eat gently and avoid crunchy foods until your tooth is completely rebuilt (more on that in a moment). Continue to brush and floss, but not so vigorously that the root canal’s temporary filling is compromised.
- Communicate with your endodontist: Contact your endodontist right away if you develop any of the following symptoms: a visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth; an allergic reaction to medication that involves a rash, hives or itching; a return of the original symptoms in the tooth; or if your bite feels uneven.
A root canal is just the first step in saving your tooth. Discuss with your endodontist which final restoration option will be used, and make sure you’re clear about the timeline for returning to finish your treatment.
Dr. Wood says, “Your endodontist is your partner in minimizing your discomfort after your root canal, and in ensuring your treatment is ultimately successful.”