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What To Expect When You Recover From A Root Canal

If you have an abscessed tooth, your dentist may recommend a root canal to clean out the infection. In these cases, a root canal is often the only alternative to pulling a bad tooth. Since you want to save your natural teeth for as long as you can, it's usually best to undergo the root canal procedure. Although root canals have a reputation for being painful to endure, the dentist completely numbs the area first, so they really aren't any more painful than any other dental treatment. You might have some discomfort when the anesthetic wears off, but it shouldn't be too bad. Here's what you can expect when the procedure is over.


Your mouth will still be numb when you go home from the dentist's office because it takes a few hours for the anesthetic to wear off. During this time, you want to avoid chewing on anything because you could bite your tongue or gum and not even know it.

Once the numbness wears off, you may have soreness in the area that was treated. Some of this pain is caused by inflammation left over from your abscessed tooth, and part of it is the result of the surgery on your gums. Your dentist may send you home with a small supply of pain medication, or you may be instructed to use over-the-counter pain relievers. You may not need to use any pain medication at all.


You'll be able to resume your normal activities by the next day, including eating and chewing. However, you want to avoid chewing on the treated tooth until all the dental work is complete. You may be sent home with a temporary crown on your tooth. It won't be as secure as a permanent crown, so be careful about biting down on that side of your mouth. You may want to avoid hard foods such as carrots and crushed ice until your damaged tooth is completely rebuilt and strong again.


While you need to be gentle with your tooth when it comes to eating, it's not necessary to take special precautions with oral hygiene. Instead, you should continue to brush and floss on your regular schedule, so you protect the health of your other teeth. Your dentist may even encourage you to be more aggressive with your oral health, because developing an abscess could be an indication you weren't keeping your teeth free of plaque and bacteria.

Recovering from a root canal is usually quick and easy. So if you develop problems such as severe pain or swelling, it's a sign of infection or other complication, and you need to call your dentist right away.