What To Expect of a Root Canal Procedure

If your dental specialist told you that you need a root canal procedure, you might be wondering what you should be prepared for. Please read our article to find out what to expect from a root canal procedure, from consultation to recovery.


What Is Root Canal Procedure?

Root canal therapy is a procedure typically performed by an endodontist or a general dentist. Its goal is to stop the infection in a tooth with deep decay and save the tooth from extraction. 


What To Expect of a Root Canal Procedure

The steps of the root canal procedure include:

  • Before a root canal procedure, your dentist will take an X-ray or a scan to assess the extent of the decay. 
  • At the beginning of the procedure, your doctor will reach the pulp chamber of the tooth through its crown.
  • The next step is to remove the infected pulp from the chamber and clean the canals.
  • Once the canals are clean and your dentist ensures that no infection remains in the tooth, they will be dried and filled with a biocompatible dental material.
  • In some cases, antibacterial medication might be put into the canals to prevent the reinfection. Also, a temporary filling might be used first and later replaced with a permanent one.
  • In some cases, a dental crown is placed on the tooth after the canals are sealed. This protects and reinforces the tooth weakened by the infection. 
  • A course of antibiotics might be prescribed if the infection is severe. 


Does Root Canal Procedure Hurt?

Most patients do not experience any pain during root canal treatment. The procedure is always done using a local anesthetic that numbs the tooth and the surrounding tissues to block the pain. In some cases, patients feel discomfort or slight pain. However, this pain is most likely less severe than the toothache you might experience because of tooth decay prior to the procedure. In addition, the dose of the anesthetic can often be adjusted if a patient still feels pain.  


Recovery after Root Canal Procedure

After the procedure is completed, your mouth will still feel numb for a couple of hours before the anesthetic wears off. Then, you might expect a moderate drop in pain levels compared to before the procedure. You might experience swelling, mild pain, or tenderness for a couple of days after the procedure. However, gradually, the discomfort will go away, and the tooth will be fully healed within a week. 

The recovery time might vary depending on the patient’s general health, the severity of tooth decay prior to the procedure, and the body’s regenerative capacity. If the pain does not go away after one week, make an appointment with your dentist to ensure the tooth is not reinfected and the seal is not broken. To help the recovery go well, follow the dos and don’ts we list below. 


Dos after the Root Canal Procedure

  • If you experience swelling, try applying cold packs to the side of your face where the procedure was done. Hold the ice pack on your face for 10 to 15 minutes, then take at least a 30-minute break. Also, keep your head alleviated when lying down and at night using an additional pillow. 
  • Take over-the-counter painkillers, such as Ibuprofen, if you experience pain after the procedure. Make sure to never exceed the recommended dose. 
  • Complete the entire course of antibiotics if your doctor prescribes them.
  • Disinfect your mouth with a warm saltwater solution or the disinfectant your dentist suggests.
  • Avoid strenuous activities until your tooth is healed and the swelling is gone.
  • Avoid using tobacco products and drinking alcohol as they slow down the recovery process.


Don’ts after the Root Canal Procedure

  • Do not eat until the anesthetic wears off to avoid biting yourself and causing damage to the recovering tooth by applying too much pressure. 
  • For a couple of days, refrain from chewing on the recovering side of your mouth and avoid eating hard, sticky, or chewy foods. Once the tooth is fully healed, you can start chewing on both sides of your mouth.
  • Do not use a straw for drinking, as the suction created in the mouth can disrupt the healing of the tooth and the surrounding tissue.


Make an Appointment Today

If you need a painless root canal procedure, do not hesitate to contact Dentist Mission Viejo OC today and make an appointment with one of our specialists. We are looking forward to welcoming you to our office. 

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