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Cause of Biting Pain After Root Canal - Justin Dental and Braces

What is the Cause of Biting Pain After Root Canal?

So you bravely faced a root canal, a procedure designed to save your tooth from a nasty infection. Now, you’re (hopefully) pain-free and ready to get back to life. But wait! When you try to bite down, a sharp pang shoots through your tooth. What gives? Relax; this biting pain after a root canal is a fairly common occurrence. While the root canal itself removes the infected nerve, the surrounding tissues can still be inflamed and tender. This inflammation can take some time to subside, leading to discomfort when you chew. But fear not! This blog will delve into the why and how behind biting pain after a root canal. We’ll explore the most likely culprits, from temporary irritation to more complex issues. 

Understanding the Root Cause of Biting Pain

It’s understandable to experience some discomfort after a root canal procedure. The good news is that this tenderness typically subsides within a few days. However, if you’re experiencing sharp pain, especially when biting down, there could be a few underlying reasons:

  • Inflammation: The tissues around the tooth can become inflamed after the procedure, causing discomfort. This is usually temporary and should resolve on its own.
  • High Filling: Sometimes, the temporary filling placed after the root canal can be high. This can cause the tooth to bear more force than usual when you bite down, leading to pain.
  • Incomplete Cleaning: In rare cases, the canals within the tooth might not be completely cleaned of infection during the root canal. This can lead to persistent pain.
  • Fractured Tooth: If the tooth was already cracked or fractured before the root canal treatment, the procedure itself could worsen the crack. This can cause significant pain, especially when biting down.

Tips for Managing Pain After a Root Canal

Getting a root canal done can be a relief, but it’s normal to experience some discomfort afterward. Don’t worry; here are some effective strategies to manage that biting pain and get you back to enjoying your favorite foods:

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Grab medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, readily available over the counter. These medications work by reducing inflammation in the tissues surrounding the treated tooth, a major culprit behind post-root canal discomfort. Always follow the recommended dosage and frequency instructions on the label or as directed by your dentist. Taking too much medication can have negative side effects.

Cold Compress Therapy

Apply a cold compress, wrapped in a thin towel, to the outside of your cheek near the treated tooth. The cold temperature constricts blood vessels, reducing swelling and inflammation that can cause pain. Use the cold compress for 20-minute intervals with 20-minute breaks in between to prevent skin irritation.

Soft Food Diet

For a few days after your root canal, choose soft foods that require minimal chewing. This minimizes pressure on the treated tooth, allowing it to heal comfortably. Opt for yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes, soups, smoothies, or scrambled eggs. These soft foods will satisfy your hunger without irritating the treated tooth.

Gentle Oral Hygiene

Brushing and flossing are still crucial to prevent infection after a root canal. Be gentle when brushing around the treated tooth, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste. Instead of forcing the floss between teeth, gently guide it around the treated tooth to remove plaque without causing further discomfort.

Elevation for Reduced Swelling

If you experience facial swelling, elevate your head at night with extra pillows. This helps reduce pressure and fluid buildup in the face, minimizing swelling and associated discomfort.

Pain Relief Rinse

Consider using a soothing rinse made with warm salt water (half a teaspoon of table salt dissolved in a cup of warm water). Swish gently for 30 seconds several times a day. The warm salt water can help reduce inflammation and promote healing of the tissues around the treated tooth.

When to Call Your Dentist: Don’t Suffer in Silence!

Regular dental checkups are crucial for maintaining good oral health, but there are times when you should immediately start your next scheduled appointment. Ignoring dental problems can lead to worsening issues and potentially more complex (and expensive) treatments down the line. Here are some key signs that it’s time to call your dentist and seek professional attention:

Persistent Pain

Following certain procedures like a root canal, some mild discomfort is expected for a few days. However, if the pain is severe and doesn’t subside within a reasonable timeframe (usually 2-3 days) with over-the-counter pain relievers, it’s best to contact your dentist. This could indicate an infection or other complication that needs to be addressed.

Relentless Swelling

Some swelling after dental work is normal, but it should start to improve within a day or two. If the swelling worsens, spreads to other areas of your face, or doesn’t go away, contact your dentist right away. Significant swelling can be a sign of an infection and requires prompt medical attention.

Fever or Chills

A fever is your body’s natural response to fight infection. If you experience a fever or chills along with dental pain or swelling, it’s a strong signal that an infection is present. Early intervention with antibiotics can help prevent the infection from spreading.

Bad Taste or Pus

A persistent bad taste in your mouth, particularly a metallic or salty taste, can indicate an infection or dental abscess. If you notice visible pus around the tooth (white or yellow drainage), this is a clear sign of an abscess and requires immediate dental attention.

Biting pain after a root canal might be a temporary nuisance, but it shouldn’t derail your recovery. By understanding the common causes and following these tips, you can manage the discomfort and ensure a smooth healing process. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to reach out to your dentist if the pain worsens or persists – they’re there to help you navigate a successful root canal journey!

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