Dental checkup

What Is The Recovery Process Like After A Root Canal?

Published On: June 18, 2021

A root canal is a routine procedure that millions undergo every year. Though it is so common, many people don’t know what happens during the procedure as well as the positive effects it brings to many patient’s lives. 

What Is A Root Canal?

A root canal is an endodontic treatment that removes infected pulp from the inside of a tooth. The pulp contains nerve endings which can create pain if left untreated. The pulp is later replaced with a filling that prevents the same infection from returning.

Who Is A Candidate For A Root Canal?

Anyone who has an infection in the pulp between their tooth is eligible for a root canal. This may happen naturally or result from tooth decay or damage to the tooth. If you have a tooth that constantly feels overly sensitive, you may want to speak to a dentist about a root canal. 

What Happens During A Root Canal?

Before your procedure, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb your gums and provide pain relief. From there, a dental dam will be placed in your mouth to prevent saliva from interfering during the procedure. A typical root canal will follow these steps:

  • First, your dentist will drill a hole in the top of your tooth to expose the infected pulp.
  • After the pulp is exposed, it will be removed from the top to the root. 
  • The area where the pulp was removed will be thoroughly cleaned and shaved down to widen the inner portion of the tooth. 
  • A rubber-like material will be used to close up the original hole created by the drill and ensure that the tooth will not get infected again.
  • A filling will be placed over the tooth for a period of time if you are not able to get a crown put over it. If a crown is available, that may be placed over your tooth instead. 

If your infection was severe and required a more intense or abrasive approach, you may need to wait a few days before the dentist can seal your tooth back up. This is to ensure that any remnants of the infection are removed. 

It is best to pay your dentist a visit as soon as you notice persistent tooth sensitivity so that the infection doesn’t spread and so that your procedure can be a quick one-day experience. 

What Does Recovery Look Like After A Root Canal? 

After a root canal, many people will experience numbness at the site of the infection. There will be some discomfort after the numbness wears off but you can take over-the-counter prescriptions such as Advil to ease the pain. You can resume normal activities on the same day if you would like to. 

Most people are able to fully recover from their root canal within a few days. However, some people may experience complications that can extend their recovery time. Take special care of the area and make sure that you continue to regularly see your dentist after your procedure.