Pain After Root Canal: What You Can Do to Ease Discomfort

Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Pain After Root Canal: What You Can Do to Ease Discomfort

Pain after root canal: It’s what many people think about when faced with having their infected tooth repaired. In fact, if the thought of a root canal makes you cringe in fear, you’re not alone. According to the American Association of Endodontics, nearly 67% of Americans are concerned about the pain associated with a root canal.

The truth, however, is that when it comes to a root canal, the procedure ultimately helps relieve tooth pain. Before having a root canal, the affected tooth often causes an individual to feel uncomfortable and even miserable due to pain.

At Penn Dental Family Practice, our endodontists are skilled and practiced in performing routine root canals. We strive to help our patients feel as comfortable as possible before, during, and after a root canal procedure.

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Saving Your Tooth: Four Steps of a Root Canal

 A young woman with dark brown hair and eyes sits comfortably in dental chair, not feeling pain after root canal. A root canal is necessary when the pulp (the blood or nerve supply) of the tooth becomes infected or injured. Usually, the most severe pain occurs before the root canal because of this infection. Symptoms that indicate the need for a root canal can include:

  • Significant pain that occurs when chewing or biting
  • Persistent sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Visible bumps or “pimples” on the gums
  • Cracked or chipped tooth
  • Tender and/or swollen gums
  • Dark-colored gums (due to decay)

Although root canals largely get a bad rap, the procedure actually saves your tooth, preventing it from having to be extracted. And, with modern techniques and anesthetics, root canals are no more painful than a routine filling.

Two dental specialists in personal protective equipment provide root canal treatment for a male patient. A root canal is an endodontic treatment designed to preserve the life of the tooth. When performing a root canal, a dentist or endodontist :

  1. Removes the infected and damaged portion of the tooth pulp
  2. Cleans and shapes the inside of the root canal
  3. Uses a filling material for the vacated area and seals the space
  4. Places a crown (or another type of restoration) on the treated tooth for protection

Once treated, the tooth structure is restored and able to function normally.

If Pain After Root Canal Treatment Occurs: What You Can Do

After your root canal treatment, you might experience some tenderness or sensitivity. This discomfort can last for up to a few days after your procedure. It’s rare, however, to experience prolonged sensitivity after a root canal. But, if you do continue to feel pain, here are a few tips to help relieve discomfort:

  • A group of student dentist wearing facemask, face shields and gloves performs talk about a root canal to a female patient.Call your endodontist if you continue to experience pain after your procedure.
  • Apply an ice pack to soothe and calm the pain.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen to help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
  • Try a saltwater gargle. Saltwater can help fight infection after root canals and ease the pain. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, and gargle two to three times a day.
  • Sleep with elevated pillows. Elevating your head prevents your gums and nerves from throbbing.

Advantages of Consulting With an Experienced Endodontist

An endodontist is a root canal specialist. Endodontists receive an additional two to three years of specialized training (after dental school) specific to root canal and other dental nerve damage.

At Penn Dental Family Practice, our endodontists are highly skilled in utilizing the latest technologies to diagnose and treat patients. To minimize pain after a root canal procedure, schedule an appointment with an endodontist as soon as your dentist recognizes your need for a root canal.

If you’re still concerned about pain after root canal procedures or need an experienced endodontist, contact Penn Dental today!