What care should be taken after a root canal?

After a root canal, the tissues need to heal and some discomfort may appear. Find out here the necessary care for after a root canal.

Last update: October 02, 2021

Root canal treatments help reverse pain and infection in a tooth, keeping the tooth in the mouth. To have a better recovery, there are certain cares that should be practiced after a root canal.

There are some symptoms that occur frequently after this type of intervention. Feeling a little pain or discomfort the days after treatment is quite common.

Follow the instructions of the dentist who performed the endodontics and take the necessary care it will make the postoperative less uncomfortable. Read on and find out everything you need to know to recover from a root canal.

What is a root canal?

A root canal or root canal treatment is the dental practice through which problems that occur in the pulp are solved, that is, inside the teeth. It allows to preserve dental elements with inflamed, necrotic or infected pulp, without the need to extract them.

Endodontics consists of removing the damaged pulp tissue and cleaning the internal area of ​​the dental element. The remaining space is filled with special materials that allow the ducts to be sealed.

The origin of pulp lesions can be advanced and deep caries, trauma or pathologies of the tissues that surround the tooth. Poorly made or leaked fillings can also cause nerve damage to the tooth.

The pulp is the soft part of the teeth, where blood vessels and nerve endings meet. It covers the crown and root area of ​​the tooth. When this tissue is damaged, the patient begins to present symptoms and discomfort.

These are some of the signs that indicate the need for a root canal:

  • Sensitivity to cold and heat.
  • Pain: it can be located on the affected tooth or in neighboring areas. The pain can be constant, intermittent, throbbing, when chewing and with different intensities.
  • Discomfort to occlude.
  • Change in the color of the dental crown.
  • Appearance of an abscess or fistula.
  • Swelling in the area

When any of these symptoms appear, the ideal is to consult the dentist as soon as possible. In this way, an immediate solution is sought that prevents the process from progressing and complications appear.

Root canals are performed on permanent teeth and the materials that are used change depending on whether it is adult pieces or young elements that have not completed root formation. In the pieces of milk, the pulp problems are solved with other specific treatments.

How is a root canal done?

Root canal treatments are performed in one or more sessions, depending on the characteristics of the case. Here are the steps required to carry out this procedure:

  1. Anesthesia: the dental element is numbed by applying local anesthesia. This prevents the patient from feeling discomfort while the root canal is being performed.
  2. Isolation of the tooth: With a special rubber the tooth being worked on is isolated from the rest of the mouth.
  3. Access to the pulp space: Using rotary instruments, diseased tissue is removed and a deep opening is made that allows access to the pulp.
  4. Cleaning and shaping the canal: With manual, rotary instruments and disinfectant liquids, the internal walls of the tooth are scraped and washed to remove organic material and conical shape the canals.
  5. Root canal filling: Once the internal space of the tooth is clean, it is dried and filled with a biocompatible material. The most used option is hot gutta-percha, although depending on the case, you can choose between several options. It is introduced until reaching the end of the canals and is completed until occupying the area of ​​the pulp chamber.
  6. Control X-rays: Throughout the process, X-rays are taken to identify the length of the ducts and determine the length to be worked. At the end, a control plate is taken to verify that the material reaches the end of the root without exceeding it.
  7. Reconstruction of the tooth: after endodontics, the lost anatomy and functionality must be restored to the dental element. The cavity that has been made to clean the element is filled with a temporary or definitive material, depending on the clinical case.
A root canal can be performed in a single session or in several, with successive scheduled appointments.

How to prepare for a root canal

Root canal treatment is not a very complex procedure. The patient is locally anesthetized, that is, is conscious but does not feel pain no discomfort in the tooth.

Although the therapy is not painful, it is good to know that it requires a long time in which the mouth must remain open. This can be exhausting for some people.

A good practice is get adequate rest before treatment. This will help to have the strength and energy to collaborate with the mouth opening.

In addition, a good rest allows you to go to the appointment more calmly. Patients with less anxiety have a better reception and duration of anesthesia and feel less pain during procedures.

Another aspect to consider is Eat something before you go to the office for a root canal. After practice, the mouth will be anesthetized, making feeding more difficult.

What to Expect After a Root Canal

After the root canal treatment is complete, the mouth will remain anesthetized for a time. As sensitivity returns, some discomfort and even pain may be felt.

Sensitivity in the area where the intervention was performed is normal. It is due to the work carried out and the tissue recovery process. However, the pain should decrease and disappear after a few days.

The dentist will indicate taking anti-inflammatories as part of the care for after a root canal. In the event of a dental infection, he will also prescribe antibiotics.

It is important to take the medication in the manner recommended by the professional so that the postoperative period is more comfortable and the treatment successful.

In case that the pain is more and more intense or does not calm with the medication, it will be necessary to go to the dentist. You should also return to the dentist if the area near the tooth or the face begins to swell.

Many times, root canals need a few more sessions to finish removing the pulp remains from all the canals. Other times it is necessary to use some special medication inside the tooth.

Postoperative controls are necessary to evaluate the body's response to treatment and the success of the therapy. In some cases, X-rays will be necessary to observe tissue recovery, especially when there have been previous infections.

While the tooth is filled with a temporary material, avoid chewing very hard food. Once a reasonable time has passed without symptoms, the dentist will indicate the final reconstruction of the tooth.

Depending on the amount of tooth tissue lost, fillings, inlays or crowns will be necessary. In this way, the tooth is returned to its normal shape and appearance so that it can fulfill its functions in the mouth.

Care to be taken after a root canal

There are certain cares that must be taken after having a root canal. These practices help the tissues heal better and the postoperative is less discomforting.

Here are some aspects to take into account to promote the success of the treatment and a calm postoperative period:

  • Do not chew while the mouth is anesthetized: This prevents injuries from accidentally traumatizing the area.
  • Don't bite down on hard, sticky food, or gum until the tooth treated with definitive materials is rebuilt. It is even convenient to chew on the opposite side to try to reduce the use of that tooth until the final repair is made.
  • Be careful with dental floss: While the tooth is filled with temporary material, care must be taken not to remove the filling when flossing. Regardless, it is important not to interrupt dental hygiene.
  • Using the medication as directed by the dentist: taking the remedies indicated by the dentist in the indicated way allows a better recovery and less postoperative sensitivity.
  • Maintain dental hygiene with daily brushing and flossing to avoid the accumulation of bacterial plaque. In this way, the tooth is prevented from getting sick again.
  • Consider the possibility of subsequent cosmetic treatments: When losing vitality, after a root canal the tooth can change color. Dental procedures such as whitening, veneers or crowns may be necessary to give the tooth a better appearance.
  • Go to dental check-ups: Visiting the dentist frequently and keeping scheduled appointments helps maintain treatment and take care of the rest of your mouth.
Post-endodontic controls must be completed so that the professional detects any inconvenience early.

When to call the dentist

Despite having taken the necessary care after a root canal, complications often appear. Ideally, go to the dentist if any of the following situations arise:

  • There is constant pain that does not calm with medication.
  • The tooth feels tight or throbbing.
  • There are chronic pain.
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods occurs.
  • The gum or face swells.
  • A fistula or pimple with pus appears on the gum.
  • The tooth does not occlude normally.
  • The dental element moves.
  • It is not possible to floss.
  • The prescribed medication causes side effects, such as allergy, itching, rashes or discomfort.

The professional will evaluate each particular case and take the necessary measures to resolve the situation.

It is best to prevent

A root canal can cause mild pain in the days following the procedure. In any case, the discomfort disappears on their own as tissues recover.

Putting into practice the necessary care for after a root canal helps to make the postoperative more comfortable and calm. However, sometimes the symptoms continue and it is necessary for the dentist to intervene again.

Root canals are conservative dental treatments. They allow to solve situations of pain or infection in the teeth, preventing teeth from being extracted. But there is a possibility that they will fail.

If the teeth do not get sick, this type of intervention is not necessary. So the best recommendation is always prevention with proper oral care.

Taking care of oral health can not only avoid the need for these types of treatments. Too will help you have a healthy mouth and a pretty smile.