Top of the page
A root canal is done to repair a tooth that is badly decayed or infected. During a root canal, a dentist or endodontist removes the pulp from the centre of a tooth, cleans, disinfects, and fills the pulp cavity. The procedure may take more than 1 appointment. You will get medicine so you should feel comfortable during the entire procedure. A root canal can relieve toothache, stop infection, and promote healing.
After a root canal, your lips and gums may be numb (frozen) for a few hours until the anesthetic (numbing medicine) wears off. Later you may have some pain. You can treat it with pain medicines, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or a stronger prescription painkiller. The pain usually lasts only a day or two.
If your dentist prescribes antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You'll need to take the full course of antibiotics.
Avoid chewing with the tooth until the crown or filling is in place and the tooth feels better.
A root canal is needed when tooth decay is likely to cause permanent damage to the pulp or has already done so.
A root canal removes the pulp inside the tooth and replaces it with filling material. It can work well to treat or prevent an infection.
When someone has an infected tooth, bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause infections in other parts of the body. Because of this, some people may be at more risk when having dental procedures such as a root canal. Before your procedure, talk to your dentist or endodontist about every health condition you have and all the medicines you take (including over-the-counter and herbal medicines). This is important for your safety, to prevent problems, and for a quick recovery.
Adaptation Date: 2/24/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. All rights reserved. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.