How long it takes to recover from a root canal varies from patient to patient, and depends on:

  • The state of the tooth and the nerve prior to performing the root canal; and
  • What if any infection is present before or after the treatment.

The good news is that the root canal procedure itself is virtually painless, and afterwards there will not be any sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks because the nerve tissue that was previously triggering this discomfort was removed.

It is however, normal to feel tenderness or pain after the procedure. Sensitivity after a root canal can be mild to severe depending on the person and the state of the tooth prior to the treatment. These variations also cause the root canal recovery time to vary, which is typically anywhere from 2 to 3 days for most patients, or to 2 or 3 weeks for the more complicated cases. Longer recovery times are often due to an infection that was present before or occurred after the treatment.

The pain experienced after a root canal is due to the pressure placed on the surrounding tissues and ligaments during the procedure. It is possible that the discomfort you feel will worsen when you are chewing or biting down. To help eliminate this pain we typically recommend over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine such as Ibuprofen, eating soft foods and taking antibiotics if an infection is present.

You should contact your endodontist or dentist immediately if after the root canal you still feel:

  • Persistent sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks
  • If you only feel pain upon biting down
  • If you develop a fever
  • If the pain suddenly and dramatically increases
  • If you do not feel fully recovered after 2 to 3 weeks

If you are looking for an endodontist in the Richmond, Virginia area, or if you have questions about root canals, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help.

About the Author

Dr. Harris has been a practicing dentist since 2005. In 2012, he received his Master’s of Science in Dentistry and a certificate in Endodontics. He founded East Coast Endodontics shortly after receiving his master’s degree. He also currently holds a part-time position as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the Endodontics department at Virginia Commonwealth University. View his full bio.