A root canal is performed in the dental office when you may have an infection in a tooth and the dentist uses a root canal procedure to treat the inside of the tooth. Most of the time pain after root canal isn’t common and root canal headaches are even less common. But when root canal headaches happen you may not associate the actual headache with the procedure you experienced.
Your dentist will thoroughly clean the area, drill through to the tooth pulp area after it is thoroughly numbed. The actual canals are measured using x-ray or electromagnetic imaging after some pulp has been removed. The dentist will use this measurement to clean the entire canal and enough filling material is used to fill the canal. The canal is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and then filled with a flexible plastic product. A temporary filling is placed on top of that and then a week or two later, after the dentist is assured there is no further infection, a permanent crown will be placed.
The amount of time this takes will depend upon several things such as how many teeth need to be taken care of and the number of canals that need to be located, cleaned and sealed. Your dentist may break this procedure up into two appointments if they feel the infection warrants this extra step. Your dentist will have a better idea of how long an individual appointment might take but a ballpark figure is between 30 and 60 minutes.
Usually pain after root canal is little to none. You may feel some discomfort for the first 24 hours and it’s common for the tooth to be tender for the first night. If you have a question or a concern about the amount of pain you might be experiencing or if it is much more than what the dentist told you to anticipate you should call them back and inform them of the situation.
Sensitivity after a root canal can often be minimized by using over the counter medications such as ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) to decrease the discomfort. Before taking any medication after a procedure you should check with your dentist to be sure it doesn’t interact with another medication that the dentist administered during the procedure.
A root canal headache is persistent and painful. It is caused by infection that remains or starts in the root canal area and is close to the nerve. Your endodontist can help the pain by using antibiotics and analgesics. The antibiotics will help cure the infection and the analgesics will help to numb the pain and take away the headache while the antibiotics are working.
There may be a couple of hazards to root canal procedures but the outcomes are generally positive. With the improved procedures and methods dentists are better able to find and clean out the canals leaving no side effects, pain, root canal headaches, or infection.
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