Root Canal Recovery… what can I expect?


Root canal symptoms are just the worst! They consist of severe pain, pressure, and sometimes even facial swelling. Many of our patients worry about what their root canal recovery will be like, because the pain before the procedure had been terrible! We want to provide you with some knowledge on what to expect during a recovery.

It is perfectly normal to experience some tenderness after endodontic therapy (a root canal) in the surrounding area as you begin your root canal recovery. Your body is undergoing a natural healing process. When a tooth is infected and requires a root canal, the periodontal fibers that anchor the tooth to the bone are also irritated and stretched from infection around the roots of the tooth. The trauma of the fibers/ligaments being stretched can also be very painful and will need some time to heal during your root canal recovery. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open for an extended period of time. These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to over-the-counter pain medications.

Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your root canal treatment has been completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, contact your dentist.


Here are some simple, but important steps to follow during your root canal recovery:

  1. Take your antibiotics as prescribed by your dentist:

If the tooth was infected, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help combat the infection. The medication takes at least 24 to 48 hours after the medication regimen has begun. It is important to follow the dentist’s guidelines and to complete the full course of medication.

  1. Relieve pain with anti-inflammatory medication:

Ibuprofen, either over the counter or a stronger dosage prescribed by your dentist, has an anti-inflammatory action that will provide relief during the healing period. These medications will help with your irritated periodontal fibers mentioned above.

  1. Avoid crunchy, hard or tough foods for a few days:

Staying with softer foods and chewing on the opposite side are helpful suggestions to reduce pain.

  1. Have a crown made:

Once your tooth has settled down, the final step is to get a crown placed over the tooth. A tooth that has had a root canal is more brittle. Most of the time, a tooth that needs a root canal had a large area of decay or a large old filling, so little of the original healthy tooth structure remains. Having a crown placed will help restore your tooth to its full function and lessen the possibility of further complications.

If the pain after root canal treatment persists, make sure to contact your dental office. They will get you in to check that the tooth is healing as it should.

The tooth that has had appropriate endodontic treatment followed by a proper restoration can last as long as your natural teeth.

If you are curious about your root canal recovery process or are in need of endodontic treatment, contact us today at one of our three conveniently located dental offices! Our talented dentists and expert team are ready to provide you with excellent care! Contact us at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates to schedule your dental check-up. We have three convenient locations within the Kansas City area, including Lee’s Summit / Independence, the Country Club Plaza and Downtown Kansas City. The gentle dentists and expert team at Thomas L. Anderson and Associates look forward to working with you to achieve proper oral health and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. We look forward to building a relationship with you and your family. Please give us a call today to schedule an appointment.