Some people put off having a root canal because they associate the procedure with a lot of pain. Advances in treatment and the use of anesthetics can help minimize the discomfort of a root canal. There are also root canal aftercare solutions available to help you deal with the tenderness you might feel after having the procedure.
What is a Root Canal?
The soft tissues beneath your enamel, called the pulp, can become inflamed or infected when bacteria make their way into that area. Reasons that you might end up needing a root canal include:
- Having a decaying tooth
- Having multiple dental procedures on one tooth
- Cracking or chipping a tooth
Common signs that can appear when you have issues that may require a root canal procedure include:
- Feeling pain when you bite or chew
- Seeing pimples along your gumline
- Signs of a damaged tooth
- Having sensitivity to anything hot or cold in your mouth
- Tender, swollen gums
- Signs of decay or darkening gums
A root canal procedure typically involves having an endodontist remove any swollen or infected pulp. They also clean and reshape the root canal, then fill in the space before sealing it. You then return to the dentist to have a crown or restoration placed over your tooth, which protects it and restores normal tooth functions.
What Can Cause Discomfort After a Root Canal?
Older root canal techniques could result in a patient feeling pain and discomfort during the procedure. The more modern approach taken by most dentists allows the patient to be more comfortable during the root canal. You may find yourself experiencing some sensitivity a few days after having your procedure. There may also be numbness for up to four hours after the root canal because of the anesthesia.
Most people have no problems returning to school or work immediately after having a root canal. The amount of discomfort you feel can be affected by the complexity of the procedure. You should follow the instructions provided to you by your endodontist during your recovery until you return for a follow-up visit. Not following their advice could lead to complications that increase the amount of pain you experience.
You should immediately contact your dentist if you experience the following issues:
- Heightened levels of pressure or pain that last longer than a few days
- Your crown or filling comes out
- An uneven bite
- Swelling in or outside of your mouth
- A return of symptoms you had before your root canal
What Typical Root Canal Pain Aftercare Solutions are Available?
Your dentist may recommend that you take an over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication or provide you with a prescription pain reliever as a root canal aftercare solution. It is a good idea to stick to the dosage instructions. Let your dentist know if any of your medications are ineffective.
Other good aftercare solutions following a root canal includes rinsing your mouth with lukewarm saltwater and use of ice packs during the first two days. This can help with easing temporary discomfort and reduce swelling during the first few days after your treatment.
Stress management can be another good solution for root canal pain management. Try taking part in activities like yoga or meditation. Going outside for a walk can also help relieve the tension associated with your root canal procedure.
Be careful when you are brushing or flossing around the tooth where you had your root canal. Rough brushing may cause you to pull it out and lead to more pain. You should also avoid biting down on the tooth before having it restored by your endodontist.
Stick to a diet of softer foods that don’t require a lot of chewing. Chewing tough or sticky foods may damage the tooth before you are able to have your permanent crown placed or complete restoration performed. Examples of foods that can be safe after a root canal include:
- Soft vegetables
A New Way in Root Canal Pain Aftercare
At Advanced Endodontics, we strive to better serve our patients with care and wellness. In addition to the standard aftercare solutions, we also offer a new service that can help in managing post-operative discomfort and sensitivity in most cases without the need for over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication. The service is cold laser therapy known as Photobiomodulation or PBM. The pain and swelling after a root canal therapy is due to trauma inflicted upon the treated area and it is our immune system’s response to heal by rapidly creating and flooding the local area with inflammatory cells. The sudden increase often times translates into pain and swelling. PBM helps by (1) improving the lymphatic drainage to help reduce the pressure at the apex of the root tip; (2) promote faster natural healing by igniting the cells to promote healing factors and collagen production; and (3) temporarily block nerve signals to naturally reduce or eliminate pain.
To learn more about Photobiomodulation or PBM, Contact Advanced Endodontics
We believe in educating our patients and the community on the importance of regular dental care. Our patients at Advanced Endodontics receive the highest level of dental care and information in our relaxing and comfortable offices. Central Florida residents needing a root canal can make an appointment at one of our five convenient locations. Contact us at Advanced Endodontics today.