What to expect after a Root Canal therapy and its possible Complications

When it comes to a root canal, every case is unique. For some, root canal is a completely painless procedure, for others it is extremely excruciating. This is why every patient’s experience after the treatment varies. Here are some of the things that you can expect after the procedure:

  1. First few days after the treatment the tooth might feel slightly sensitive, caused by tissue inflammation occurred during the procedure. The sensitivity will be even more pronounced if there was an infection in the tooth prior to the treatment.
  2. The dentist uses a rubber dam or rubber sheet to absorb the moisture surrounding the tooth while performing the root canal. The rubber dam needs to be held down by clamps, which tend to bruise the gums. This is why the gums around the affected tooth might feel a little tender after the treatment.
  3. Until the permanent filling and the crown have been placed by the dentist, it is highly advised to minimize the use of the affected tooth for chewing. This precaution helps to avoid the possibility of recontamination in the tooth.

You can take over the counter painkillers, like Motrin, ibuprofen or asprin to overcome any lingering tenderness after the procedure. However, if the tenderness increases in intensity rather than decreasing, even after taking the pain medications, it is highly recommended to get in touch with your dentist as soon as possible.

Possible Complications that can occur after a Root Canal Procedure

The root canal is a complicated procedure, but that does not necessarily mean that there will be complications. According to a published research, Tsesis (2008), the incidence rate of a flare-up (pain or swelling) after a root canal procedure is around 8%. For those who fall in the 8%, here are some reasons why complications could occur after the procedure:

  1. The number of infected root canals in the tooth was more than initially expected, leaving them unfiled and unclean.
  2. Overlooked crack in the tooth’s root, leaving it open.
  3. A poorly done filling or crown placement paves the way for the bacteria to re-enter and re-contaminate the tooth.
  4. Over time the tooth sealant breaks down and bacteria infect the tooth, again.

In some cases a retreatment is enough to save the tooth, but sometimes an endodontic surgery is needed. In case of an endodontic surgery, the most common procedure used is the apicoectomy. This procedure is even more painful than a root canal because it requires the gums surrounding the infected bone to be cut to physically remove the infection. Sometimes a root canal of the tooth needs to be removed, creating the need to seal it with a dental filling.

Even though the root canal is a risk free procedure, proper care needs to be taken to prolong the life of the tooth, the dental filling and the crown.