The thought of having a root canal treatment can be scary. Many people may be afraid to have a root canal because they usually expect excessive pain and discomforts during and after the procedure. Well, the root canal procedure itself is painless. During the procedure a local anesthetic is usually used to numb the tooth and the surrounding area, ensuring that the procedure is painless. It’s safe to say that sensitivity and discomforts around the treated tooth is normal following a root canal. It can be quite disappointing to experience severe pain after root canal, but it should only last a maximum of three to five days.
Why the pain when the tooth’s nerves are removed?
Naturally, the root canals is the part of the teeth that contain nerves and blood vessels. The specific purpose of these living parts of the teeth is keeping the tooth alive and also for sensing heat, cold, and other stimuli. Total removal of the nerves in an infected tooth is a standard procedure to treat tooth pain caused by decay or infection in the tooth pulp. When the tooth’s nerves are removed completely, you are not supposed to feel any pain from the tooth.
Although, the treated tooth will no longer be sensitive and cause pain. But the pain after the treatment is usually caused by sensitive area around the treated tooth. It is possible that during the procedure, a dental instrument used to clean out the root canal might injure the sensitive surrounding tissue. It’s also possible for a tooth to become infected even after having a root canal treatment. All this can lead to severe tooth pain and discomforts which can last for more than 3 days, few months or years after the procedure. Whatever the cause may be, if this happens to you, you should not hesitate to see your dentist.
How long should the pain last after root canal?
The discomfort typically starts within a few hours after your root canal appointment. Most patients do experience sensitivity and discomforts around the treated tooth from 24 hours after the procedure. Normally, the discomforts and pain after a root canal treatment should go away within a few days. Although it may persist for several hours up to a maximum of seven days. Within this period of time, the severity of the pain will decrease gradually, over time.
According to a study, 140 patients were monitored during the day (24 hours post – op ) following the completion of their (two -visit) root canal therapy. After the study it was shown that – 57 % reported no discomfort after their work . For those who did, 22 % reported mild , 19 % moderate , 1% intense, and 1 . 4% unbearable pain. (1)
So, ensure to see your dentist promptly if you experience severe pain after root canal treatment. If the pain is as a result of infected or damage tissue, the dentist can prevent any infection from getting worse, forming an abscess, or spreading throughout the tooth root system. Luckily, there are effective medications and home remedies to relieve tooth pain associated with root canal treatment.
Ways to take care of tooth pain after root canal
1. Medications: certain medications such as Ibuprofen is an effective tooth pain reliever. Suitable over-the-counter pain relievers should be enough to relieve the severe pain after a root canal. Normally, after the procedure the dentist or endodontist is likely to recommended some pain relief medications. But, this type of medications do come with special instructions, ensure to follow instructions carefully and call the endodontist if the pain medication is not working.
2. Follow a good oral care routine: try as much as possible to avoid those things that triggers the pain. Practicing good oral hygiene with regular brushing and flossing is very important for preventing infections. If you notice increased tooth sensitivity after a root canal, not all oral care products will be suitable for you. Use those oral care products that are specifically designed for sensitive teeth. (2)
3. Try some antibiotics: in most cases, the discomfort a person notices after undergoing a root canal treatment is primarily due to tissue inflammation without the complication of active infection. Sometimes, bacteria may still mingle in the bone and the tissues around the root, it could remain inflamed and painful. You can try some antibiotics or effective home remedies to relieve tooth pain.
4. Aoid chewing on hard foods: It is necessary that you should avoid chewing or biting down on the affected tooth until the final restoration process has been completed. This is very important, because the temporary fillings are delicate and are more likely to break and cause more damages. Also, chewing on hard foods such as ice, even after the final restoration can cause the teeth to break.