Can I Return to Work the Same Day After a Root Canal Treatment?

After a root canal, you might be wondering exactly what your recovery will look like. Every patient is different and each root canal procedure is different. Post-procedure, your endodontist will send you home with instructions on how to care for your newly treated tooth. This list of to-dos will also include when you are able to return to work.

The root canal procedure

The healing period between the end of the procedure and your return to work depends on a number of factors: the pain you are experiencing, the security of your temporary crown, what you eat during this period and how you care for your newly treated tooth.

In the time between your first root canal procedure and the follow-up visit, it is important to follow all guidelines set by your endodontist. Failure to do so might result in complications or irritation. Local anesthesia is used during the root canal treatment, and as this numbing medication begins to wear off, you may feel tenderness in the area for a few days post procedure. Over-the-counter pain medications should help reduce pain, but the endodontist may also prescribe pain medication depending on the severity of pain.

Since the only anesthesia used during the procedure is local, you will be able to drive shortly after the appointment. Many endodontists agree that, yes, you will be able to go back to work right after a root canal. But any endodontist will caution you to not eat solid foods until the numbness has worn off. Sometimes, it can take a few hours before you regain full sensation. The numbness from the root canal can cause you to bite your tongue or cheek while eating without noticing. Try not to use the side your newly treated tooth is on to chew. Give that side and the tooth a break so it can heal properly before the permanent crown is placed.

It is completely normal for a tooth to continue to be sore following a root canal procedure. The tooth and area around it may have some inflammation. Ibuprofen is a great over-the-counter medication that reduces both pain and inflammation.

In most cases, the tooth that was hurting prior to the procedure will feel painless or less painful after the procedure. Although the nerves may be aggravated, this sensitivity will subside within the day so you can return to work. Some form of swelling might also occur. If swelling does occur, it is recommended to take the rest of the day off rather than returning to work.

Post-operative instructions

Make sure to prepare to eat by stocking your pantry with soft foods. Have pain medication on hand in case the area is sensitive. A pack of ice may be held to the area to reduce swelling. If you must return to work, be sure to have ibuprofen on hand in case you have any pain.

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