A root canal is a dental procedure that removes inflamed or infected pulp from inside your tooth. Each tooth has pulp, which contains hundreds of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissues which if infected and left untreated can result in your tooth needing to be completely removed or even worse, an infection getting into your bloodstream and spreading to other parts of your body.
Once the root is removed and reinforced, most of the pain should subside. If you experience pain after your procedure, it's likely from inflammation of the gums around your tooth or the tooth itself. While such pain typically subsides in a few days, sometimes it can be very frustrating for patients. Here are a few suggestions to help you relieve any pain or discomfort that you may experience following a root canal.
Pain killers (prescribed and/or over the counter)
Most dentists will prescribe you a few days worth of painkillers to help with any residual pain you may experience after your procedure. Patients should note that a prescription is not always guaranteed, but despite this, over the counter ibuprofen will also do the trick. Ibuprofen relieves the pain and reduces the swelling of your gums, much like painkillers, without the drowsy effect that the stronger medications can cause. Always be sure to follow the strict guidelines for the frequency of use for ibuprofen and prescribed pain killers. If the medication is not providing you with any relief, speak to your dentist.
Salt water & cold compresses
Salt water has restorative healing properties that reduce swelling, infections, and act as a soothing agent for open wounds. Gargling with salt water when you experience discomfort can quickly ease the pain and result in a faster recovery time for your tooth. Your pain should begin to subside and you'll be need to rinse with salt water less and less, as your tooth heals.
Cold compresses also help with reducing swelling of your gums and cheek if you notice swelling there as well. Wrapping or holding a bag of ice to your cheek to the area will provide immediate relief, and the more you ice, the faster your swelling will go down and your tooth may recover sooner. Your tooth will likely be very sensitive to extreme levels of hot and cold, so avoid sucking on ice as a replacement to icing the outside of your face.
Always remember that after your procedure, avoid chewing or grinding your teeth on the side of your mouth where you got your root canal. This can cause you more pain as your tooth is very tender. In extreme cases, it has resulted in cracking the filling or crown on the tooth. Damaging your root canal will result in another trip to the dentist.
For more information, contact a practice like The Happy Tooth Kurri Kurri.