A root canal is a common dental procedure wherein damaged or infected tissue from inside the tooth is removed. The procedure is performed when the tooth’s pulp (the soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue) becomes damaged or infected. This can happen because of decay, an injury to the tooth, or other factors.

Once the damaged or infected pulp is removed, the tooth is sealed off to prevent further damage or infection. Root canals are typically performed by dentists or endodontists (specialists who focus on the treatment of the tooth’s pulp).

Root canals are done by emergency dentists to save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. By removing the damaged or infected pulp and sealing off the tooth, the tooth can be preserved. This is important because it helps maintain your smile’s function and integrity.

Root canals are typically performed under local anesthesia, numbing the tooth’s area. It is quite a common dental procedure, but the process can be excruciating without anesthesia, which is typical for procedures of this nature.

Anesthesia is a medication that is applied to numb a specific area of the body. It is often used during medical procedures to help minimize pain and discomfort. However, it is essential to note that anesthesia eventually wears off after several hours, and the area where it was used may be sore for a few days afterward. If you are experiencing pain after a root canal, there are various ways to manage it and how to seek help if necessary:

Follow Post-Op Instructions from Your Dentist

First and foremost, it is essential to follow any post-operative instructions that your dentist or oral surgeon has given you. This may include taking over-the-counter pain medication, avoiding certain foods or beverages, and practicing good oral hygiene. You might also be instructed to get some rest for a few days and avoid certain activities. If you are still in pain after following these instructions, you can contact your dentist or oral surgeon for further guidance.

Try Proven Home Remedies

There are also a few home remedies that may help to ease the pain. These include applying a cold compress to the affected area, rinsing your mouth with salt water, and eating soft, bland foods.

However, if the pain is severe and unbearable, you should see a dentist. They can determine the cause of the pain and recommend the best course of treatment.

Avoid Hard and Sticky Food

When you get a root canal, make sure to avoid these:

  • Hard candy
  • Ice
  •  Nuts
  • Raw carrots
  • Apples and pears (sliced)
  • Caramel
  • Gum
  • Licorice
  • Taffy

If you eat hard or sticky foods, brush your teeth thoroughly afterward to remove any food particles.

Take OTC Medication for the Pain

Many different types of over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be used to help relieve pain. Some of the most common pain relievers include acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen.

  • Acetaminophen is a pain reliever often used to treat headaches, muscle aches, and pain from arthritis. 
  • Ibuprofen is a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory properties. 
  • Naproxen is a pain reliever that is also an anti-inflammatory medication. 

All these are available in both prescription and OTC forms.

As with any medication, you must read the label carefully and follow the directions. OTC medications can have side effects, so it is important to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any OTC medication, especially if you have a medical condition.


If you are still feeling pain after trying these methods, you must contact your emergency dentist or oral surgeon. They will be able to determine the true cause of the pain and recommend the best course of treatment.

Dental First is a trusted emergency dental clinic in Troy offering complete dental services. Schedule your dental appointment today!