What To Expect Before and After a Root Canal

What To Expect Before and After a Root Canal

Root canal treatment is one of the most profound dental treatments. It can be overwhelming, but rest assured that over 15 million teeth are treated yearly with a root canal in the USA. The main aim of the root canal is to preserve the natural tooth structure. You will understand the root canal treatment comprehensively in the next few minutes.

So, without further ado, let’s discuss what to expect before and after a root canal treatment.

What To Expect Before and After a Root Canal?

Before root canal treatment, your tooth may be extremely painful and sensitive to hot and cold food and beverages. Even a posture change might trigger throbbing pain. After a root canal, you can expect mild discomfort, which can be dealt with painkillers. Pain, sensitivity, and pre-procedure complaints will be resolved after a root canal. 

However, to understand what to expect before and after a root canal, let’s sequentially go through the details. 

What is a Root Canal Treatment?

A root canal is a dental treatment in which the infected pulp (living tissue of the tooth) is removed, and then the empty canals are sealed with appropriate fillings and medicine. This restorative dental procedure aims to preserve the natural tooth structure. A tooth’s pulp is a hub of blood vessels, nerves and a source of nutrition. 

Infected pulp is the cause of pain and tooth sensitivity. Once it is removed, the patient feels much better and relieved. The same tooth can survive for long enough to perform regular oral functions.

What to Expect Before a Root Canal Treatment?

Before a root canal treatment, the tooth is infected and causes pain. It can present with the following symptoms:


Understanding the before and after a root canal is essential for any patient going for the treatment.

What To Expect During Root Canal?

The patient can expect a comfortable and pain-free treatment during the root canal. The procedure of a root canal proceeds as follows:

Clinical History

A detailed history is taken from the patient. This step is usually completed on the previous appointment. The history usually comprises questions like:

  • What is your age?
  • Have you ever had a dental treatment before? If yes, then please state the details.
  • Questions about past and current health issues like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac diseases, asthma, etc.
  • Which medications are you taking currently?
  • How long has the pain been bothering you?
  • When did it start?
  • What aggravates the pain?
  • What helps with eliminating the pain?

In addition to the above questions, root canal-related queries of patients are also catered.

Detailed Examination

A detailed dental examination may include an X-ray, which is usually taken before your root canal so that the size and shape of the root can be seen. Moreover, the possibility of spreading the infection to the surrounding bone can be checked. This can be done at your previous appointment or just before the treatment.

Counseling the Patient

A root canal treatment can often scare dental patients. Therefore, a dentist must counsel and relax the patient by sharing facts. It is essential to inform the patient that root canal treatment is not painful. Adequate numbing is done to prevent any painful sensations. The discomfort felt after the treatment is also controlled with painkillers.

Numbing Procedure

At your root canal appointment, you receive local anesthesia, which blocks painful sensations around your tooth and the surrounding area. In addition, a small sheet of rubber called a dental dam is placed around a tooth to keep it dry, clean, and saliva-free(bacteria-free) during a root canal. 

Removal of Pulp

When your tooth is numb, the dentist creates a small opening in the infected tooth using specially-made instruments called root canal files. After that, a pulpectomy is done, which refers to removing the infected pulp, diseased tissue, and any bacteria from the tooth. The area is thoroughly cleaned to get rid of any debris.

Filling of the Root Canal

Then, your dentist fills the root canals with a material like gutta percha that seals them. If the damage or infection is massive, you will get a temporary filling or dental crown to cover that hole. When you return for the next appointment, your dentist may place a permanent filling. Later on, a crown can be placed in follow-up appointments. 

Before and after a root canal, dental hygiene plays an essential role, and its importance must be conveyed till the next appointment. 

How Will I Feel After a Root Canal?

You will feel comfortable and pain-free after the root canal. The gum around your tooth and your tooth should stay numb for a few hours. Despite the numbing procedure, the dentist may advise taking painkillers after it. So, following all the guidelines is essential. 

It is advisable to avoid solid food as you may injure your lip or cheek while the numbing is still active. An attendant should accompany you who can drive you home. 

What you need to do after a root canal is just as important as what you shouldn’t do. Following your root canal, make sure to do the following:

  • Brush and floss regularly
  • Don’t delay visits to the dentist in case of any recurrent pain, swelling, redness, cavities, etc.
  • Don’t miss follow-up appointments.
  • Get a crown procedure as scheduled by the dentist.
  • Rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water.


Thanks to modern technology, root canal procedures have become convenient. As you have understood what to expect before and after a root canal, don’t delay your pain-free procedure anymore!

Dr. Arthur Yeh & Associates ensures pain-free, comfortable root canal surgery in Montclair, NJ. Therefore, if you are looking for someone to guide you through all the dos and don’ts before and after a root canal in Montclair, NJ, book your appointment today!