What to Expect Before and After Your Root Canal

We all experience dental problems and complications that require professional and skilled dental intervention. One such dental procedure, called root canal therapy, prevents teeth from needing to be pulled because of infection or deterioration. 

People who have undergone prior root canal procedures and those who cannot get a root canal due to other medical issues can usually choose to get a root canal to treat their tooth/teeth correctly. If you are going through dental issues, here is all you need to know regarding what to expect before, during, and after a root canal procedure.

In This Article:

  1. What are Root Canals?
  2. Symptoms That Indicate You Need a Root Canal
  3. What to Expect Before Your Root Canal?
  4. What to Expect During Your Root Canal?
  5. What To Expect After A Root Canal?
  6. How to Prepare for Your Root Canal?
  7. What Are The Complications After a Root Canal?
  8. What is the Recovery Period After Root Canal?
  9. What to Avoid After a Root Canal?
  10. Can You Eat Before A Root Canal?
  11. Can You Eat After A Root Canal?
    1. What Can You Eat After A Root Canal
  12. Not a root canal, but just a dental filling?
  13. Conclusion

What are Root Canals?

It’s critical to first have a fundamental understanding of the structure and function of teeth to comprehend root canals. The root canal treatment is performed in a hollow space known as the root canal system or root structure. 

Blood veins, connective tissues, nerves, and occasionally even tooth pulp tissue are located in this area, the living center at the heart of the tooth. When root canal therapy is required, this region is infected and decays due to the root’s contact with dangerous bacteria. In most cases, this infection may invade nearby bone or blood vessels via the blood vessels or root system.

Surgery is used during root canal procedures to altogether remove the infection. The root structure is then sealed back up with a protected filling after being cleaned and sanitized to eradicate any disease or decay that may be present.

Symptoms That Indicate You Need a Root Canal

Any symptoms listed below may indicate that you require root canal therapy. The following are typical and the most common signs that a patient needs a root canal:

  • Pain that doesn’t go away: If you experience ongoing tooth pain, you probably require this treatment. The condition may tear your tooth’s bone apart. You might also experience pain in your cheek, jaw, or other teeth.
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold: Pain while consuming cold or warm food or beverages is a symptom that requires medical attention.
  • Tooth stain: A pulp infection can result in discoloration of the tooth.
  • Swollen gums: Swollen gums close to a hurting tooth may indicate a problem that has to be treated.
  • A broken or cracked tooth: If your tooth has been chipped or cracked, bacteria may lodge there and cause an infection.

Are you in severe pain, experiencing a fever, or can’t eat anymore? Then it’s very likely that you are in need of an emergency root canal. Please call your dentist in Edina, MN, and come visit us so we can help you.

What to Expect Before Your Root Canal?

Your dentist will examine your teeth before determining if you need a root canal. There is likely a cavity if there is a toothache. Fillings can be used in such cases to treat some cavities. These cavities are frequently shallow to moderately deep. Still, they are usually enough as saving the tooth only requires cleaning and restoring the cleared-out portion with composite or metal. 

Your dentist will advise a root canal if the cavity is too severe for this treatment. They’ll schedule another appointment for you so you have time to get ready. You check in as usual on the day of the appointment. Your dentist will discuss your alternatives for sedation and pain relief. While some dentists may recommend nitrous oxide or local anesthetics, others might authorize total sedation. After this goes into effect, they will begin your root canal treatment.

What to Expect During Your Root Canal?

Whereas most root canals only require one visit, some require more visits. Remember this and discuss your options with your dentist. The root canal operation will start once your dentist has given you sedation or numbing medication. 

The dentist will employ a rubber dam to separate the teeth, keep the area dry, and safeguard the rest of your mouth. After that, they drill out the tooth’s interior, similar to a filling. The pulp in your tooth is dense. The infected pulp and tooth debris are then removed using files to prevent further damage to your teeth and gums. They next use water or sodium hypochlorite to remove the material.

Your dentist might inject medication inside the tooth before filling and sealing it if your root canal proves complicated. Before you receive the permanent filling, they will insert a temporary one to prevent further damage.

If your root canal is completed in a single appointment, it will be filled and sealed the same day, allowing you to resume normal activities and usage of your tooth without discomfort. Your dentist may place a crown or a crown and post if your tooth requires additional restoration. By doing so, the tooth is shielded from further harm.

What To Expect After A Root Canal?

You’ll have to recover following the completion of your root canal procedure. Your tooth and the gums around it will probably be numb for a few hours. Although there are a few cures for numbness, it’s best to wait it out. It’s a good idea to avoid solid food while you’re numb. 

If you can’t feel anything, burning your lips or biting your cheeks is simple, even when your tooth is stable. You could transport yourself home if you weren’t medicated with anything other than laughing gas. If you’re concerned, ask someone to drive you if you’re going.

You might feel some stiffness for a few days and some sensitivity for a few months. You have irritated gums and are becoming accustomed to the feeling of a filled tooth. However, this pain is insignificant compared to the agony of an infection. To preserve the rest of your teeth and ensure you don’t have to experience this again, keep up with your regular dental checkups and oral healthcare regimen.

The actions you should do after receiving a root canal are just as crucial as the activities you should refrain from doing. This can guarantee a full root canal recovery and a durable medical solution. Even though modern technology has made root canal procedures less challenging and painful than they formerly were, no patient wants to undergo the procedure again if feasible. Following your root canal, make sure to do the following:

  • Maintain regular brushing and flossing.
  • Consume soft foods such as yogurts, warm soups, oats, and the majority of fruits.
  • Keep an eye out for any swelling or unusual pain.
  • If you have any concerns or questions about aftercare, call your doctor.

You might also expect a root canal retreatment. Find out these 5 serious reasons why redo a root canal.

How to Prepare for Your Root Canal?

Research is the first stage in preparedness, so you’re there already! You may do several things to prepare for your visit after this. Make sure you have a restful night’s sleep beforehand. This will aid in healing and reduce your anxiety. Worrying all night will only make you angrier as the operation is about to begin.

You should eat beforehand your root canal if you are not sedated because you won’t be able to eat for a few hours afterward. Before your consultation, remember to wash your teeth. And lastly, arrive early for your appointment.

What Are The Complications After a Root Canal?

Root canal complications might include sensitivity, pain, swelling, infection, and treatment failure. The discomfort and swelling could occasionally be horrible. Other body parts may contract the illness. Following a root canal, practicing proper oral hygiene, and visiting your dentist for routine examinations and cleanings are essential. 

The first step is to consider your alternatives and educate yourself on the many therapy options that are accessible to you. Ask questions to understand what to anticipate before and after your therapy.

What is the Recovery Period After Root Canal?

After a root canal, recovery will take around a week. After a root canal, most patients have discomfort and swelling, which should subside in a few days. You can use painkillers sold over the counter to treat the discomfort. 

Following a root canal, some people may have sensitivity to heat and cold, although this should pass within a few weeks. You can prevent many issues if you maintain appropriate dental hygiene after the treatment. Follow any specific advice, such as brushing and flossing twice daily and avoiding crunchy or hard foods.

What to Avoid After a Root Canal?

After receiving a root canal, it’s crucial to refrain from eating certain things or engaging in specific activities since they could cause issues and undermine the procedure. Following a root canal is crucial to prevent future infection; by doing so, you can increase your chances of a successful outcome.

The following is a partial list of activities you should avoid following a root canal procedure:

  • Consume crunchy, brittle, or hard foods.
  • Chew on the treated area directly.
  • Consume chewy foods, such as gum or candies.
  • Smoke
  • Ingest alcohol
  • Consume hot meals and beverages
  • Eat spicy food

Can You Eat Before A Root Canal?

The short answer is yes. Before you get a root canal, it’s advisable to take any medicine you usually take and have a meal (like breakfast or lunch) first. This is because your mouth might feel numb after the procedure, making it hard to eat.. By taking your medicine and having a meal beforehand, you can make sure your body has the energy and medicine it needs.

After the procedure, you might have to wait a few hours before eating or drinking anything. But it’s important to have a meal once the numbness goes away. This can help you feel better and give you the energy you need to recover. Always listen to your dentist or endodontist’s advice about what to do before and after your root canal.

Can You Eat After A Root Canal?

Yes, but your dentist will probably tell you to wait to eat until your teeth and gums are no longer numb. Most of the time, it takes a 30min to one hour, which is enough time for your temporary filling to harden properly.

What Can You Eat After A Root Canal

If you’re wondering what foods to eat after root canal therapy, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out these tasty, easy-to-eat foods that can make you feel better and help you heal:

  • Healthy breakfast: Smoothie, pancakes, omelette or yogurt.
  • Satisfying meal: Macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, mashed potatoes or shredded-meat.
  • Snack: Soft cheeses, sorbet, peanut butter or ripe fruits
  • Luke-warm soup: Cooked vegetables, broth-based or blended soups
  • Grains: Pasta, oatmeal, or cream of wheat

Not a root canal, but just a dental filling?

We share information on dental fillings on our blog too. Check these out if you need a dental filling instead of a root canal:

A Step-by-step guide on the dental filling procedure

Aftercare of a dental filling


A Root canal is an effective treatment to cure your infected, lost or damaged tooth. However, a few essential things to consider you should be aware of to have a painless and stress-free root canal procedure. Knowing what to expect before and after your root canal can help you be well-prepared for the procedure to avoid any medical complications. If you are looking for credible and reliable Dental assistance, feel free to contact our experts at Mint Dental in Edina, MN, to have the most professional services in town.