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Root Canal Side Effects: What You Need To Know

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A root canal is a procedure that treats a tooth that is infected or significantly decayed. During a root canal, the dentist will remove infected matter from the tooth's pulp chamber and clean and seal the root canal to prevent additional infection. While a root canal is a relatively common and safe procedure, like any dental treatment, it does come with some potential side effects. Here is what you need to know:


It is normal to experience some pain or discomfort following a root canal procedure. The area around the tooth may be tender or sore, and the patient may experience some mild to moderate pain for several days after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medication can help manage the discomfort.


Swelling of the face or gums is another common side effect of a root canal. This swelling usually goes away on its own within a few days, but if it persists or becomes severe, it may be a sign of an infection.


The tooth that has undergone a root canal may be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, pressure, or touch. This sensitivity usually subsides within a few days or weeks after the procedure, but in some cases, it may last for several months. 


While a root canal is designed to remove and prevent infection, there is still a small risk of infection following the procedure. Signs of infection include persistent pain, swelling, or discharge from the area around the tooth.


In some cases, the anesthetic used during the root canal procedure can cause numbness or tingling in the lips, tongue, or cheeks. This numbness usually wears off within a few hours, but in rare cases, it may persist for several days.

Tooth Fracture

The removal of the infected tissue from the tooth's pulp chamber can weaken the tooth, making it more prone to fractures or cracks. If this occurs, the tooth may require additional treatment, such as a crown or a dental implant.


In rare cases, the tooth that has undergone a root canal may become discolored. This is usually due to the removal of the tooth's blood supply during the procedure. If this occurs, the dentist may recommend tooth whitening or other cosmetic treatments.

These side effects are usually mild and temporary, and most patients recover fully within a few days or weeks after the procedure. If you experience any persistent or severe symptoms following a root canal, it is important to contact your dentist immediately to prevent further complications. Your dentist can help you manage any side effects and ensure that your recovery is as comfortable and smooth as possible.