How to Avoid Pain after Root Canal

In learning how to avoid Pain after Root Canal, it is beneficial to understand what is going on with your body so you can logically decide whether your pain after root canal is normal or abnormal.

The most common reason people get a root canal is because tooth decay has found its way past the surface of the tooth into the pulp chamber of the tooth. The tooth decay is full of germs and bacteria and it eats its way to the pulp or soft nerve center of the tooth. When decay germs get ahold of the delicate nerve tissue pain is the response. The germs devour the nerve and then head for the jawbone which is rich in blood plasma and marrow. Pain increases. Swelling and throbbing occur. Inflammation… Soreness… OUCH!!! This pain is what brings people to the dentist in search of relief.  


The dentist performs a root canal procedure on the “Hot Tooth” by numbing the tooth, cleaning, filing, instrumenting, scrubbing, disinfecting, and filling the tooth. That is a lot of activity on such a sore area but is necessary in order to set the stage for your body’s healing process to begin. This also sets the stage for you to have postoperative or post treatment pain after root canal.

Now that we know, in a simplistic way, what has happened to our body and the treatment that was performed to cure the broken area, we are in a better position to see why we have tooth pain after a root canal, but we are also in a better position to decide whether our pain after root canal is normal or not.


Top 5 Pain after Root Canal Symptoms:

  1. Tooth Sensitivity:

Tooth Sensitivity is the most common pain after root canal symptom. For the first week or two following a root canal the tooth may feel sensitive. During the root canal recovery time, this sensitivity is due to all the tissue inflammation that occurred in the tooth and surrounding bone prior to the procedure. This discomfort is easily controlled with Ibuprofen, Tylenol, or Aspirin. We like Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) because it has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Most patients will have relief during their root canal recovery time from this common tooth pain after root canal within 24 hours.

  1. Swelling:

Other root canal symptoms is Swelling. Inflammation due to the abscess and infection of the affected tooth can cause swelling of the surrounding area. Swelling can also be from the instrumentation of the root canal. Inflammation from infection usually starts to subside during the root canal recovery within a day or two. Often, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics for swelling due to infection to relieve this pain after a root canal. Swelling can be localized and feel like puffiness or it can be widespread and extend into the face, lip, or floor of the mouth and neck area. The extent of the swelling needs to be identified and a determination needs to be made if it is a normal occurrence during your root canal recovery time or if requires you to come back for additional treatment.

  1. Heavy Bite or Hyper Occlusion:

This is also a common symptom of tooth pain after root canal. After the root canal procedure a filling or restoration is placed in the tooth. It can be a permanent restoration or a temporary restoration. If this restoration “hits” the opposing teeth first or harder than the other teeth, this can immediately lead to pain after root canal. You would notice that your teeth do not fit together like they did before. Often times, patients assume that it will be O.K. and just try to deal with it; however, this should not be done. If your bite is high or feels funny, you need to contact your dental office for a bite adjustment because leaving it alone will make your tooth hurt and it will not heal normally. This symptom is common and easily treatable and should help the pain after root canal.

  1. Jagged Or Sharp Edges:

This Pain after Root Canal Symptoms is considered minor by dental offices but is a big deal to patients. Jagged edges may be from a temporary filling that is wearing down leaving a sharp edge along the restoration. It can be a filling that has flash or excess material that is grainy or rough. Either way, jagged or sharp edges can cause the patient’s tongue to excessively rub against it creating soreness and tenderness. We consider it a big deal because these areas can drive a person crazy. Fortunately, this pain after root canal symptom has an easy fix.

  1. Cost:

This Pain after Root Canal Symptom can be the worst one of all. With root canal procedures costing up to $1000.00, it can be a real pain in the pocketbook to get one. Even with dental insurance, most people would rather spend their money on something else. Besides, you can buy a lot of floss and toothpaste for $1000.00. Most people come around and decide that once they get a root canal, that it will be their last one. They step up their oral home care a notch and discover that prevention is the key to their health…..and it’s easier on their pocketbooks. This pain after root canal symptom goes away after they pay their credit card company and with luck they will never have to experience it again.

Pain after Root Canal is common. If it’s a little pain or swelling, you are probably within normal circumstances. If it is significant pain or the swelling is increasing, then it is something to be more concerned about. Either way, direct any questions you have to your dentist’s office or dental team. Having a tooth need a Root Canal is hard on your body and hard on you. If you are having any problems or concerns, you should have a dental team that can answer your questions or can see you right away… making your experience as comfortable and simple as possible.

The dentists and team at the offices of Dr. Thomas L. Anderson and Associates bring a friendly and relaxing feel to dentistry, and succeed in making even the highest anxiety of patients feel at ease… even when having a root canal. Call and make an appointment with us today!