Root canal treatment is a dental procedure that is done, as a last resort to save the tooth from extraction. Thus, it is only done when the patient has excruciating pain that has its origin in the pulp chamber of the root canal. In such cases, the root canal symptoms cannot be ignored and need to be attended to, on a priority basis. However, once treatment is over, many people often wonder about the healing time. So given below is a comprehensive explanation of the normal recovery period, along with the factors influencing it and measures to speed up the recovery time.
How Much is Root Canal Recovery Time?
Root canal treatment is actually a final treatment that is rendered to the patient as a last ditch effort to prevent the possibility of tooth extraction procedure. Thus, while doing root canal treatment, it is important for both, the dentist and the patient, to be very involved in the procedure so as to ensure that it is a success. The normal recovery period is around three to four days, provided there are no complications involved. Ideally, the person will, at the most, feel a bit of sensitivity in the tooth but he should not feel any pain.
Factors Affecting Recovery
Lack of knowledge about treatment and the recovery period that follows makes many people cringe, upon experiencing slightest possible delay, in recovery time. In such circumstances, being aware of the factors influencing recovery period can be of some help for the patient.
Condition of tooth
The condition in which the tooth was indicated for treatment plays a very important part in determining the healing time. If the tooth was greatly carious and had a periapical abscess, then there are chances that the recovery time will increase considerably. This is because, in such cases, even the jawbone needs to heal, which takes lot of time. Also, if there was an active infection in the tooth, then there are chances that it will take longer to heal because the toxins secreted by the pathogens take longer to flush out.
Expertise of Dentist
The way in which the root canal treatment was done will also, greatly influence the recovery time of the tooth. If the root canal procedure is done thoroughly, ensuring removal of the carious and diseased portion of the pulp, then there are high chances of a speedy recovery. However, if there is even a bit of infection left behind, then there could be a flare-up at any point, resulting in a reinfection, which is one of the most important root canal complications that can lead to an extended root canal recovery period. In such cases, the patient experiences root canal pain after procedure, which causes immense discomfort to him.
Immediately, after a procedure, there are certain important aftercare instructions that need to be religiously followed. Ideally, the person should not eat from the side of the treated tooth for, at least, a few hours after the procedure. Also, often the dentist only fills cement after a procedure, rather than placing a silver filling to help the tooth heal, and this cement has very poor strength and cannot withstand the masticatory forces that it is subjected to. Hence, if the person has a weak tooth structure, it is best to avoid eating from that side, so as to prevent complications like tooth fracture, which could lead to the need of re-treatment. Furthermore, if the tooth that was treated is very grossly destructed, then it will most probably need a crown after the root canal procedure. In such cases, it is best to completely, avoid chewing from that side of the mouth, as the tooth may easily fracture.
How to Speed up Recovery
At times, root canal recovery phase can be quite discomforting. This being said, here are some simple measures which can be initiated to speed up the recovery process.
* The patient must strictly, adhere to all the post treatment instructions given by the dentist. Any kind of deviation from the instructions could land the patient and the dentist both, in a highly discomfiting yet, avoidable situation.
* The dentist should try and perform the treatment, as thoroughly and in as aseptic an environment as possible, so as to minimize the possibility of any root canal problems.
* Sometimes, people tend to be in a hurry and hence, request the dentist to complete the root canal procedure in one sitting. However, the dentist should try and diagnose the case correctly, before doing the procedure in single sitting. Ideally, one sitting root canals are only recommended for long standing cases of necrosed pulps etc. Teeth that have an active infection should not be done in one sitting, as complete drainage of the pus takes time.
Thus, as explained above there are many different factors that influence the recovery period. However, provided the treatment is done properly and the post treatment instructions are followed religiously, one needn’t worry too much about the recovery period.