Recovery Following Root Canal Treatment

The period of time following treatment should be used to maximum effect, says Wickford dentist Dr Krupa Thakrar.

We have discussed before, the reasons why patients should not fear having a root canal procedure at the Cygnet Dental Practice. Although it is invasive, it is a long standing, and usually successful, method for restoring a tooth where the root canals have been infected.

This is done by removing the top of the tooth, extracting the infected material and cleaning out the hollow canals. Gutta percha is then used to fill the cavities, and, in most cases, a dental crown will then be attached to give the tooth both additional strength and a natural appearance.

In a nutshell, that is the procedure that is used to save the tooth. Equally important though is what happens after the procedure has been completed.

What should you expect?

Because many patients are in some pain when they need to have this treatment, there can be an expectation that, once the anaesthetic wears off, they will still feel some discomfort, even if not as bad as before. This simply shouldn’t happen though, as part of the procedure involves the removal of infected nerve tissue, meaning that the tooth is in effect, a ‘dead’ one that feels no sensation.

You may experience a little tenderness in the surrounding area but this should not be too significant and should soon go of its own accord. You may wish to take some suitable painkillers afterwards though, if you are especially sensitive to discomfort. If you are still in discomfort, a week or so following the treatment, please contact our Wickford practice to have it checked. In the highly unlikely event that you are in significant pain following the procedure, please call us as soon as possible.

Recovering

Although most dental treatments are considered to be relatively ‘routine’, the reality is that undergoing any procedure can be traumatic for our body to some degree. Our advice to patients is to always try to be kind to yourself after treatment as this will help your recovery and hopefully make it quicker too. Whilst a small filling may require no real recovery time, others, such as extractions or endodontic treatments may affect you more significantly. Whilst there is no essential need to take time off work, providing that you look after your treated tooth or extraction site as instructed, we still recommend that you do so if you can.

Taking a day or even half a day off, allows you to rest and recover following treatment which can also aid more rapid healing.

Be careful what you eat

Once the local anaesthetic wears off, you will eventually feel the need to eat something. With root canal procedures, it is especially important that you take care with what you eat. Your treated tooth is lacking in nerves and this means that it can be difficult to gauge just how hard you are biting onto something. Although strong enough for everyday use, a tooth treated in this way is not quite as strong as a healthy tooth and applying too much pressure could, potentially, cause it to fracture.

Over time, you will gradually become aware of what foods you can and can’t bite down on with the treated tooth. Rather than risk damage though, we suggest that you start off by eating softer foods so that you don’t accidentally harm the newly treated tooth.  This will also make it more comfortable until your mouth has fully recovered from the treatment.

Ongoing care

Providing that you look after it well, a tooth treated in this way can have many more years of life. It is important that you remember to both brush and floss around it though. Although you won’t get toothache if you don’t (remembering that the nerves of the tooth have been removed), other issues such as gum disease are ever present and you should, therefore, treat the tooth as you would your other teeth when it comes to keeping it clean.

Common sense tells us that regular check ups at the Cygnet Dental Practice are also necessary, not just for this tooth, but for your oral health in general. These should be carried out every six months.

If you are nervous about having a root canal procedure, do please talk to us about it. We are sure that an explanation about what happens during the treatment will help to set your mind at rest. You can contact our Wickford dental practice by calling us on 01268 733078.

Dr Krupa Thakrar is a dentist at the Cygnet Dental Practice – GDC 228030