Tips for Relieving Pain After a Root Canal

19 Mar

Modern techniques may be able to make a root canal a far less unpleasant experience, but that doesn’t mean that they will be fully pain-free. You may experience swelling and discomfort in the few days after a root canal. While some people might be able to make it through without the aid of any pain-relieving products or techniques, others find it to be a lot easier if they have a little help.

 If you’re looking for some suggestions to help you to deal with the pain and discomfort of a root canal, check out the following tips. 


Elevating your head as much as possible after the procedure is vital to minimizing pain and discomfort. Lying down will allow blood to rush to the area of the wound, which can intensify pain and swelling, so sit upright when you’re awake and double your pillows when it’s time for bed. 


Orajel is a topical numbing agent that can help to temporarily block the pain in the area of your procedure. It’s available over the counter in most drug stores. You simply apply the gel directly to the site of your root canal, where it creates a numbing effect that can last anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours, depending on the strength of the product. 

Anti-Inflammatory Medication

Some of the discomforts in your mouth is the result of the swelling caused by the procedure and the infection that facilitated the procedure. 

Anti-inflammatory medication can bring the swelling down to reduce that discomfort, while also relieving pain. Something as simple as over-the-counter ibuprofen can potentially do the trick, but there are also prescription-strength pain relievers that your dentist may be able to provide if ibuprofen is not enough. 

Salt Water Rinse

You may not like the idea of gargling salt water, especially after you’ve received a root canal, but it is far better than the potential alternative, which is a painful infection in your tooth or gums. 

A saltwater rinse can help to clean your mouth out and prevent bacteria from finding its way to the sensitive wound site, where it can cause an infection.    

Avoid Hard and Crunchy Foods

With the wound in your mouth still fresh and tender, you shouldn’t eat anything that might irritate it and lead to further pain or a slower healing process. In fact, you should avoid eating altogether while your mouth is still numb from the procedure or you might accidentally hurt yourself. 

When you are ready to eat, be sure to go for soft foods such as fruit, pudding, eggs, ice cream, and soup for at least a few days. Liquids like smoothies and drinkable yogurts are an even better option. 

Ice Pack or Cold Compress

Cooling the site of your procedure will help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. A reusable sports ice pack is ideal, but a cold washcloth or a bag of ice will also do the trick. Just hold it to your cheek for 5 minutes at a time, with a 10 to 15-minute break in between rounds.

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