Dentist Questions Root Canal

How should I deal with the pain of a root canal?

I've had a root canal in the past and now I need one. After my last procedure, it hurt me so much. Are there ways to deal with the pain after the root canal is done?

11 Answers

Two Advil and Two Tylenol (4 tabs.) taken at once and then alternating between Advil and Tylenol every 4 to 6 hours as needed should help get you over this period of discomfort. In today's dentistry most people find that having a root canal done by an endodontist (root canal specialist) is rarely followed with a great deal of discomfort especially when there was no severe infections present.
Most of the time the procedure is not as painful as it used to be. One thing you can do proactively is to take 600 mg of ibuprofen an hour before the procedure.
Make sure your endodontist adjusts the bite and often anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or naproxyn sodium work well, if you can take them. For my patients, I usually suggest 2 Advil immediately after treatment before the anesthetic wears off and then one every 6 hours that day, even if there is no pain. Check with your endodontist for specifics for yourself.
Mild painkillers, Motrin, aspirin, whatever you take for mild pain. Normally it's temporary.

There are different ways to successfully prevent and treat pain. You should express your Christmas concerns with your treating dentist and come up with a plan before you leave the office.

Scott M. Dubowsky, DMD
Every root canal case is different. 600 mg of ibuprofen every 6-8 hours will help a lot. See your dentist if it continues.
It is not unusual to have some discomfort after a root canal. It's completely normal for the tooth to be a little tender to chewing for a week to 10 days after a root canal, and possibly longer if it needs a crown. The best way to deal with the pain is to avoid chewing on the tooth and to take pain medication. If the pain lasts longer than a few weeks, you should return to the dentist who did the root canal and have it checked.
We always give pain meds and antibiotics.
Post-operative pain from root canal treatment can usually be controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers. Your dentist or endodontist should be able to properly recommend the proper regimen to help you after your procedure.

Brett E. Gilbert, D.D.S.
Ibuprofen is the most effective medication used to manage the discomfort experienced by the majority of dental patients. Tylenol is typically of minimal effectiveness but can be helpful when used along with Ibuprofen. If you are unable to take these medications, or they are not helping, you will need to speak with your doctor regarding your specific situation - health, tooth, etc.
The cause of pain and root canals. When caries are not restored, the decay process continues. Some teeth have one root artery, vein and nerve. (Front teeth) Bicuspids have two nerves, arteries and veins. Three or more nerves, arteries and veins are found in molars. For the most part decay expands and you may not feel any pain. As decay gets close to the nerve
chamber you may have pain with hot, sweet and cold. The chamber sends out the nerve, artery and vein grouping to each tooth. Once decay reaches the chamber, bacteria, part of the decaying process now starts to grow. The increase in the number of bacteria along with the toxic chemicals they excrete, starts destroying the nerve, artery and vein in each tooth root. Your tooth may start hurting on its own. We've discussed what is happening with the tooth in your mouth. Now what's going on with the root area is where your problem may be. While your tooth's artery, nerve and vein are being destroyed in the chamber. Dead bacteria and toxins are traveling down your tooth's root(s). Your body knows there is an infection and sends out an army of cells. You may start hurting. You may start to swell. If you were given an antibiotic to treat the infection, the infection may be gone, but the waste products from infection and maybe some still living bacteria are still irritating the tooth root area. There is a membrane surrounding your root area. We call that tooth supporting membrane, the periodontal ligament or PDL. When we bite down, the PDL acts like a trampoline, The springs on the trampoline gives you movement and the spring like action of the PDL adds to the enjoyment of eating. The area below your tooth still has a nerve artery and vein. This area may be irritated from the RCT process and/or the infection. It may take time to settle the inflammation down.