Navigating Pain After Root Canal: Causes and Relief Tips

May 08, 2024 | 1 min read

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Pain after a root canal, often due to inflammation or infection, is common during healing. According to Delta Dental, 3 to 6 percent of people treated with a root canal experience what they classify as "severe pain" in the days following the procedure. 

Understanding the causes of pain, its duration, and effective home treatments can help manage this discomfort.

Causes of Pain After Root Canal

A root canal is a dental procedure designed to treat infection in the pulp of a tooth. This treatment can save the tooth and prevent further complications.

Pain after a root canal can be due to:

  • Inflammation in the area surrounding the treated tooth.
  • Infection that persists or develops after the procedure.
  • The natural healing process causing temporary discomfort.
  • Sensitivity in the tissues around the treated tooth.

Complications such as residual infection, a cracked tooth, or an incomplete procedure can cause pain. 

Another possibility is an allergic reaction to the materials used.

If pain is severe or persistent, it may indicate a problem. Observing symptoms like swelling, fever, or a bad taste in the mouth can help identify the cause.

How Long is Pain After Root Canal?

Pain after a root canal usually lasts a few days. It should gradually decrease as the tooth and surrounding tissue heal.

Factors that influence the length of recovery time:

  • Severity of the initial infection.
  • Complexity of the root canal procedure.
  • Overall health and healing capacity of the patient.

Some people may experience pain for a shorter or longer time depending on their pain tolerance and healing response.

If the pain lasts longer than a week or becomes more intense, consult your dentist. They may need to re-evaluate the treated tooth for any issues.

How to Stop Throbbing Pain After Root Canal?

Common home remedies for managing root canal pain:

  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of your cheek near the affected area.
  • Rinse your mouth with warm salt water to reduce inflammation and pain.

Follow any medication advice given by your dentist to manage pain effectively.

Recommended lifestyle changes to manage pain:

  • Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where the procedure was done.
  • Stick to soft foods and avoid very hot or cold items.

When to seek professional dental help:

  • If the throbbing pain is severe and doesn't improve after a few days.
  • If you experience swelling, fever, or an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
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