Need an Emergency Dentist?
Canal Vista Family Dental Logo
Call us: 609-452-8630

What to Expect After a Root Canal Procedure


If you’re planning your first endodontic procedure, you’re probably wondering what to expect after a root canal procedure. Fortunately, having root canal treatment done isn’t anything like the rumors you’ve probably heard! In fact, root canal procedures are everyday treatments that don’t feel a lot different than getting basic dental work done.

Toothache Relief

Having a root canal is the best way to handle toothaches and chronic abscesses. By addressing the source of the pain — coming from the nerve inside of your tooth — you can prevent the sharp aches and throbbing discomfort from coming back. How long does the pain last after a root canal? It should be gone completely!

During endodontic treatment, our root canal dentist is removing the tiny nerve inside of your tooth. At that point, there are no more pain receptors inside of it. Plus, the infected areas are cleaned out and the hollow chamber is completely sealed off, preventing any bacteria from coming back into your tooth and causing another infection.

How Long Does it Take a Root Canal to Heal?

If you’re wondering how long a root canal takes to heal, it’s essentially jump-starting your recovery! The tooth won’t have any sort of sensation to sensitivity or pain after your root canal treatment.

“Can I go to work after a root canal” you ask? Not right away. We’ll need to thoroughly numb up the area around your tooth to complete the procedure, and it can take several hours for the anesthetic to totally wear off. You’ll at least need the rest of the day off from work. If it’s your first time to get a root canal and you’re concerned about the recovery, a good idea is to schedule your procedure for a Friday morning so that you have the entire weekend to re-coop.

Since root canal treatments are meant to ease discomfort, the question of “How can I ease the pain of a root canal?” isn’t as big of a concern as you might have thought it would be. That being said, some mild to moderate soreness is completely common in most people. Usually, the areas that will be stiffer or tender are where the local anesthetic (numbing medication) was injected, because of the small needle that’s used, and in your jaw or TMJ, from having your mouth open for quite a bit of time. To reduce possible jaw soreness, we’ll use a small prop to let you rest your mouth on during the root canal treatment.

Any post-operative soreness can easily be managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever (such as Tylenol or Motrin) and alternating a warm or cool compress on either side of your mouth for sore muscles. Again, any discomfort from the injection or sore muscles is temporary and probably won’t last more than a couple of days after your procedure. And even then, it’s minimal enough that it shouldn’t keep you from going to work or performing normal activities.

What Should I Avoid After a Root Canal?

As with any dental treatment where local anesthetic is involved, you should avoid chewing or eating until the numbing effects have completely worn off. Otherwise you risk possibly biting your cheek or tongue, which could lead to an infection.

If our Princeton dentist has placed a temporary crown over your root canal, take care not to use that side of your mouth for any sticky, chewing, or especially hard foods for a couple of weeks. By that time your permanent crown will be ready to place, and you can start eating normally again. You just don’t want to disrupt the temporary bonding agent in the meantime.

If your jaw is sore from having your mouth open for a couple of hours, there are steps you can take to prevent additional soreness or TMJ pain. For example, eat softer foods and avoid chewing gum for the first few days to give your muscles a chance to relax. Usually any soreness is minimal but knowing what to expect after a root canal can help you be prepared for a typical recovery.

Root Canal Retreatment

Occasionally, some endodontic restorations require a “re-treatment”. This process occurs if a situation such as a cracked root, incomplete root canal, or other source of contamination takes place within the nerve chamber.

What are the symptoms of a failed root canal? Usually some type of ongoing discomfort, recurring dental abscesses, pain when biting down, or a visible darkening that our dentist can see on your X-rays. If you have curved roots with difficult-to-reach areas, be sure to have your dentist keep an eye on them afterward to make sure root canal retreatment isn’t necessary.

In rare situations where a root canal retreatment is required, you may need to see a specialist or endodontist.

Our dentist Dr. Nesrine Bestandji can fully evaluate your situation to determine the next best steps to take.

Alternatives to Root Canal Treatment

Gentle root canal treatments help save your tooth. Without them, you risk the infection spreading to adjacent teeth. Typically, the only root canal alternative is to have your tooth extracted. But creating extra space in your bite can lead to other complications, such as bone loss and crooked teeth. Aesthetically, functionally, and financially, getting a root canal is the best treatment for your smile.

Looking for the Best New Jersey Root Canal Dentist?

At Canal Vista Family Dental, we offer flexible scheduling options and a warm, inviting atmosphere that helps put even the most anxious individuals at ease. Dr. Bestandji’s zeal for quality dentistry means that we treat every patient like they’re a member of our own families.

When it comes to root canal treatment in Princeton, we understand that many people have reservations or worry about what to expect. We’re happy to answer any questions that you have. During your evaluation, we’ll present all appropriate treatment options so that you can select the one that’s best for your smile’s needs. Call our office today to request an exam and endodontic consultation.

Scroll to Top