Root Canal Recovery: What To Expect After The Treatment

An endodontic procedure is typically performed to save the natural tooth. It can be done to treat severe tooth decay or tooth infection. Endodontic treatment is the best option because it helps maintain the health of your teeth and gums.

Many people are scared to have a root canal done, but it is usually not as bad as many think. There are some things you should do before and after the procedure that can facilitate your recovery. Moreover, root canal recovery can take anywhere from a few days to weeks, depending on the complexity of the dental process done.

Thus, choosing an experienced dentist is essential. The team will provide you with the highest level of professional care and advise you on how to best take care of yourself after this procedure.

This post will explore what you can expect after undergoing successful root canal treatment and how to take care of yourself during the proper healing process.

What to Expect After the Root Canal Treatment

Multiple factors can influence the aftercare following an endodontic procedure. While there’s no one size fits all post-procedure aftercare routine, your dental expert should be able to provide enough guidance that you know what to do and when. As such, the endodontist’s instructions are vital, so make sure you follow them carefully. 

Wait for the anaesthesia to wear off before eating anything, and it’s best not to use the teeth that have been treated until they are completely restored, or else it could induce more damage. Also, brush and floss your teeth regularly and keep a good oral hygiene routine to maintain your dental health. As for pain management, your dentist will advise you to take the prescribed pain medications for a couple of days. By following these instructions, you should be able to avoid any post-dental treatment pitfalls.

The mild pain and soreness associated with root canal recovery should not last for long. However, if it lasts longer than expected or experiences the following symptoms, contact your dentist immediately.

  • If the pain or pressure doesn’t fade after two days
  • Swelling in the area surrounding the treated teeth
  • If you experience an allergic reaction to your prescribed medication,
  • If your temporary crown loosens or the permanent filling falls out of place,
  • Uneven bite
  • The same symptoms you experienced before you underwent root canal therapy.

Learn More: Root Canal Procedure: What I Need To Know

How to Manage Pain After Root Canal:

You’ll be able to resume your normal activities in a few days after a root canal treatment, as long as everything goes well. Usually, you won’t feel pain right after the procedure; however, if your tooth is sensitive or swollen for at least several days afterwards, taking ibuprofen and paracetamol can help relieve the pain.

It is best to avoid eating anything until the numbness disappears. Since your teeth are still sensitive, it is best to avoid chewing on anything hard that could harm or further damage the soft tissue in your mouth. It will allow your mouth to heal correctly after the procedure and help you get back into a routine with minor discomfort in your treated tooth.

Furthermore, root canal treatments have a high success rate, but if you’re still in agonising pain after taking some painkillers, consult your dentist to find out what’s wrong and get it fixed as soon as possible.

What Can I Eat After Root Canal Treatment?

You might have a little appetite after the endodontic procedure. It is vital to eat soft foods and avoid hard and sticky foods because they will hurt more than usual. Also, chew on the opposite side of the treated tooth and eat slowly to avoid putting stress in your mouth.

Below is a list of foods to eat that are safe after the dental procedure:

  • Dairy: yoghurt and soft cheeses
  • Pureed vegetables or fruits
  • Smoothies and fruit shakes.
  • Soft fruits: bananas, mangoes, peaches, papaya, and avocado
  • Mashed potatoes or baked sweet potatoes?
  • Legumes like beans, lentils, and split peas
  • Grains like couscous, quinoa, pasta, and oatmeal
  • Hummus
  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Pudding 
  • Nut butter
  • Pancakes

What Can I Not Eat After Root Canal Treatment?

After the endodontic treatment, it is recommended not to eat hard foods or chew a lot so as not to jeopardise the integrity of the dental filling.

Additionally, some degree of tooth sensitivity is expected following the placement of a permanent crown. Therefore, you must refrain from chewing with your dental crown for a few hours or even the entire day.

In general, you’ll want to avoid hot food and beverages, as well as hard and chewy foods, until the numbness has gone away or sensitivity has disappeared, as they can aggravate your mouth and cause extreme pain.

Patients should not eat the following after a root canal treatment:

  • Crunchy foods: tortilla chips, carrots, corn on the cob or apples
  • Chewy foods: steak, gum, crusty bread, or candy (caramels, taffy)
  • Hard foods: nuts or ice
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol to reduce the risk of bleeding.
  • Avoid extremely hot food, as it could increase tooth sensitivity.
  • Avoid hot and spicy food since it can cause discomfort or sensitivity.

How Long Is the Recovery Time of Root Canal Surgery?

After undergoing a root canal treatment, it may take a few days to weeks until the total recovery is complete. There is often a slight discomfort following root canal therapy, but this should go away on its own, provided you practise good dental hygiene. Furthermore, it will not take you long before you go back to your regular eating habits. However, if the severe pain persists longer than three days, you should see your dentist for a follow-up.

Learn More: Common Signs I Need a Root Canal Treatment

Can I Smoke after the Root Canal Treatment?

After undergoing a root canal procedure, eating right and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help relieve post-root canal pain and prevent oral health conditions.

You should probably avoid smoking for a while to allow your body the chance to recover. Smoking will adversely affect that quick recovery process. There is no doubt that smoking has many harmful effects on your well-being, including dental health. Moreover, the patient should refrain from smoking for a period of time after the procedure since their mouth is numb and sensitive.

Possible Complications after the Root Canal Treatment

The endodontist removes the infected pulp, including the nerves and blood vessels, then seals it to prevent bacteria from getting inside the teeth during the procedure. Despite the high success rate of this treatment, complications can occur during or after it’s done, and dentists cannot anticipate many possible side effects ahead of time. Luckily, these are typically manageable and don’t often happen, as your dentist will have taken precautions for most things they could have come up against when performing this type of treatment on you.

Listed below are some possible complications:


A root canal treatment removes infected tissue or dead tissue inside an infected tooth. If not done correctly, it can lead to reinfection. There are various reasons for this, including exposure from a fracture and an improper cleaning process. The quality of the filler used impacts whether or not your tooth will become infected again in the future.

If a bacterial infection occurs again, a dentist will need to assess the tooth to determine if he can repair it or if a tooth extraction is the only treatment option. This decision largely depends on what caused the infection.

Fractured Root

The removal of nerves from the tooth root can leave it vulnerable to fractures since it becomes fragile as it is deprived of nutrients and oxygen. A fractured tooth at the root or crown can happen before, during, or after treatment. Depending on the severity of your fracture, the dental professional will recommend whether he can fix it or if they need to extract the tooth. Usually, fractures that happen post-root canal are a result of teeth grinding and biting on hard substances.

Missed Root Canal

The tooth’s root is a complicated network, so sometimes it’s hard to get all of them. Suppose there are any grooves in the canal chamber or it is crooked. In that case, you may have difficulty getting rid of bacteria and dead nerve tissue on those roots for good during the root canal procedure. Hence, the bacteria left in the roots may lead to some problems with your teeth.

Final Thoughts

Root canal recovery can be a pretty unpleasant process for some people. While there is no magic cure for it, there are some things you can do to make the process as painless and comfortable as possible. Moreover, let’s suppose you are proactive about your post-treatment care and follow the instructions of your dentist or dental team. In that case, it should not take long to heal entirely and put back that beautiful smile on your face. We hope this blog has helped inform you about what to expect during a root canal procedure and how to make sure that you get back on track with life quickly after the treatment is complete.

If you are suffering from tooth pain, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a dental appointment for a consultation and examination of your teeth. Our team is ready and waiting to help make the process as comfortable as possible.

Avatar photo

Peel Dental Studio

Dr. Bailey formerly served on the Australian Dental Association as President, Vice President Treasurer and Country Councillor. He was on the Australian Dental Association Federal Council and has always been keen to give back to the profession that has been his life. He has tutored student dentists at the Oral Health Centre in Perth.