If your dentist says you need a root canal procedure, you might have some questions about what to expect. For instance, you may want to know:
- Will I experience discomfort after treatment?
- How severe will my discomfort be?
- How long should the discomfort last?
There are no universal answers to these questions. Every patient’s experience may be somewhat unique. That said, as this guide explains, the pain you might experience after getting a root canal may be much less significant than you expect.
Is Getting a Root Canal Painful?
Patients may fear root canal treatment because they’ve heard it’s painful. That’s not necessarily the case. A study from the University of Adelaide indicates the average patient who undergoes root canal treatment now finds any discomfort it does cause is not noticeably more significant than the discomfort other common dental procedures cause.
Dental technology constantly improves. Often, these improvements boost patient comfort during procedures. While a root canal may have caused major discomfort in the past, this is now much less common.
Pain After Root Canal: How Long it Should Last
Advances in dental care technology and techniques have made it possible to undergo a root canal treatment while experiencing minimal pain. That said, experiencing some degree of discomfort in the aftermath of the procedure may be natural.
A recent study from the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dentistry reveals the following:
- Approximately 40% of patients who receive root canal treatment will experience pain during the first 24 hours following the procedure
- After seven days, only about 11% of patients will still experience discomfort
- Generally, 25% to 40% of root canal patients notice some pain after treatment
That last point is worth considering if you feel anxious about an upcoming root canal procedure. Research shows most patients experience no significant discomfort after a root canal treatment.
Those who do usually experience noticeable pain for the first two days following the procedure. Said pain and discomfort tends to decrease with each hour.
Managing Pain After a Root Canal
Steps you may take to address your discomfort after a root canal procedure include the following:
- Use over-the-counter pain medications
- Stock up on soup and other soft foods ahead of time, so you can avoid eating hard foods that might cause irritation
- Strive to avoid physically-demanding activities for 48 hours or so after your procedure
- Apply an ice pack to the affected area
- Continue brushing and flossing, but do so gently
Avoiding alcohol and tobacco is also wise. Both these substances can cause discomfort after a root canal.
When to See a Dentist About Discomfort After a Root Canal
Although some degree of pain after a root canal may be normal, you should contact your dentist if:
- Your pain is relatively severe and nothing seems to help
- The affected area is swelling noticeably
- You’re running a fever
You should also seek medical attention right away if you experience symptoms like difficulty breathing. These symptoms might be a sign of an allergic reaction.
Worried About Post-Root Canal Pain? Speak With Your Dentist
Again, research suggests any pain you experience both during and after a root canal treatment is likely to be minimal. Your dentist can provide additional suggestions regarding how to guard against discomfort as you recover from the procedure.
You may find that the more you discuss this topic with a dentist, the less anxious you will feel about your treatment. Additionally, depending on the circumstances, a dentist might offer sedation dentistry to help you feel more relaxed during an appointment.
Learn More About the Root Canal Procedure in Monmouth County, NJ
At Champagne Smiles, in Morganville, NJ, we work hard to optimize patient comfort when offering root canal treatment. Learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at 732-972-0918 today to request an appointment.