Root Canal Recovery

Abhijit Naik May 6, 2019
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If you want to know how much time it would take to recover after a root canal, here's some information on it, with reference to various factors affecting the recovery and some measures to speed it up.
Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that is done as a last resort to save the tooth from extraction. Thus, it is only done when the patient has excruciating pain that has its origin in the pulp chamber of the root canal.
In such cases, its symptoms cannot be ignored and need to be attended to, on a priority basis. When the dentist recommends root canal, the immediate question that comes to one's mind is how long will it take to recover.

How Long Does Root Canal Recovery Take?

Root canal treatment is actually a final treatment that is rendered to the patient as a last ditch effort to prevent the possibility of tooth extraction. Thus, while doing the treatment, it is important for both, the dentist and patient, to be very involved in the procedure, so as to ensure that it is a success.
The normal recovery period is around three to four days, provided there are no complications involved. Ideally, the person will―at the most―feel a bit of sensitivity in the tooth, but he should not feel any pain.

Factors Affecting the Recovery Period

Condition of tooth

The condition in which the tooth was indicated for treatment plays a very important part in determining the healing time. If the tooth was greatly carious and had a periapical abscess, then there are chances that it will take considerably longer to recover. 
This is because, in such cases, even the jawbone needs to heal, which takes lot of time. Also, if there was an active infection in the tooth, then there are chances that it will take longer to heal, as the toxins secreted by the pathogens take longer to flush out.

Expertise of Dentist

The way in which the root canal treatment was done also influences the recovery time. If it's done thoroughly, ensuring removal of the carious and diseased portion of the pulp, then there are high chances of a speedy recovery. However, if there is even a bit of infection left behind, then there could be a flare-up at any point, resulting in a reinfection. 
Such complications can lead to an extended recovery period. In such cases, the patient experiences pain after root canal which causes immense discomfort to him.

Aftercare

There are certain important aftercare instructions that need to be religiously followed after a root canal. Ideally, the person should not eat from the side of the treated tooth for a few hours after the procedure. Often the dentist only fills cement after a root canal procedure, rather than placing a silver filling to help the tooth heal. 
This cement has very poor strength and cannot withstand the masticatory forces that it is subjected to. Hence, if the person has a weak tooth structure, it is best to avoid eating from that side, so as to prevent complications like tooth fracture, which could lead to the need of re-treatment.
Furthermore, if the tooth that was treated is very grossly destructed, then it will most probably need a crown. In such cases, it is best to completely avoid chewing from that side of the mouth, as the tooth may easily fracture.

How to Speed up Root Canal Recovery

At times, the recovery phase can be quite discomforting. Here are some simple measures to speed up the recovery:
  • The patient must strictly adhere to all the post-treatment instructions given by the dentist. Any kind of deviation from the instructions could land the patient and the dentist both, in a highly discomfiting, yet avoidable situation.
  • The dentist should try and perform the root canal procedure as thoroughly possible, in as aseptic environment as possible, so as to minimize the possibility of any complications.
  • Sometimes, people tend to be in a hurry and hence, request the dentist to complete the procedure in one sitting. However, the dentist should try and diagnose the case correctly, before doing the procedure in single sitting. Ideally, single-sitting root canals are only recommended for long-standing cases of necrosed pulps. 
Teeth that have an active root canal infection should not be done in a single sitting, as complete drainage of the pus takes time.
Provided the treatment is done properly and post-treatment instructions are followed religiously, one needn't worry too much about the recovery.
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