Dentists perform hundreds of root canal procedures every year and are hit with the same question: How long does root canal pain last? While the answer to the question remains unchanged, let’s discuss the duration, possibilities, and major reasons behind persistent pain after a root canal.

What’s the Answer to “How Long Does Root Canal Pain Last?”

Understanding the step-by-step root canal procedure is important to interpret why the tooth hurts after the anesthesia wears off. It’s a short and simple process where the tooth is drilled to access the infected pulp. Once the pulp is visible, the cleaning process starts where the infected region is cleaned efficiently to remove any traces of bacteria. The cleaning often leaves the nerves of the cleaned and surrounding areas sensitive. As a result, pain after a root canal is common and not a cause of concern.

Coming back to the question of interest, typical root canal pain should last around 24–72 hours once the anesthesia wears off. However, if the pain continues for a long time after the specified duration window, it’s best to talk to a dentist to rule out any potential complications.

How to Deal with Pain After a Root Canal?

Everyone has a different pain threshold; some may feel minimal pain and stay unbothered; however, for others, the minimal pain may be a lot to take. Dealing with pain after a root canal shouldn’t be tough. It’s important to follow the directions instructed by the oral professional. Here’s a list of things to do when dealing with pain after a root canal.

  1. Over-the-counter pain killers: The dentist will prescribe an OTC pain killer to manage the pain sensations after the action of anesthesia ends. Following the regimen provided is crucial to allow quick healing and minimize the agony. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and Tylenol are some of the many pain killers available.
  2. Home remedies: Not all root canal patients are fond of medications. Some prefer the old-school remedies passed down from their ancestors. Cold compress, cloves oil, salt-water, peppermint oil, garlic, etc., are proven anti-dotes for toothache.
  1. Pillow elevation: One of the many proven ways to manage toothache is pillow elevation. Place your head in an elevated position on a pillow to subside the pain sensations. The elevation reduces swelling and stops blood from accumulating. Try it for yourself and see the effectiveness.
  1.  Orajel: People have extensively used Orajel to numb pain sensations. The principal drug in the gel is benzocaine, known for its numbing effect as a local anesthetic.

Are Root Canals Supposed to Be Painful?

While we’re discussing how long does root canal pain last, it’s important to address the misconceptions regarding the procedure as well. Many speculations revolve around root canal therapy which makes an individual doubt the procedure. The foremost misconception is that root canals are painful.

Root canals are only painful if they’re done unprofessionally. Apart from that, the procedure is smooth and painless as the entire zone is numbed by local anesthesia before starting with the course of action. It’s a safe and effective procedure with minimal pain involved. Therefore, relax and don’t be afraid to proceed with the process.

What Are the Dos and Don’ts of the Procedure?

Sticking to the guidelines provided b the dentist is crucial to minimizing the risks and ensuring a quick recovery. 

The Do’s include:

  1. Many people stop brushing for a few days after a root canal surgery as they fear the filling may come out. It’s essential to brush and floss regularly, even after a root canal.
  2. Visit the dentist’s office punctually for routine check-ups. The dentist will analyze the condition of the teeth subject to root canal and check other teeth for any possible infection or cavities.
  3. Take the prescribed medications accordingly and follow a soft food diet immediately after the procedure.

The Donts include:

  1. Don’t eat anything until the anesthesia has worn off completely.
  2. Try to avoid smoking and drinking for the next few days following root canal surgery.
  3. Do not try to talk a lot unless the anesthesia wears off, as doing so increases the prospect of biting on the cheek or tongue.

It’s important to stick to the do’s and stay away from the dont’s to avoid any long-term pain after a root canal. Remember, prevention is better than cure; the journey towards recovery depends upon your ways.

Related Articles:

Why Do I Have Pain After My Root Canal?

Can Front Teeth Have a Root Canal?

What If the Pain Persists for a Long Time?

Continuous pain after the communicated time frame can be worrying. A variety of reasons can contribute to toothache long after a root canal, such as:

  1. Failed root canal: One major sign indicating an improper root canal surgery includes prolonged pain. Inadequate removal of the infected pulp or a loose crown can contribute to the failure of the procedure.

2. Re-infection due to seal failure: A filler is used to seal the area after a tooth is disinfected and cleaned. In some cases, the seal can crack or come off, giving bacteria a chance to re-colonize the previously treated region.

3. Infection of the bone: The dentist can perform a successful root canal without any possibility of a mistake or potential complications. However, if the infection had spread to the bone before the procedure, the pulp removal is not enough. In some cases, the infected bone causes endless pain.

4. Improper root canal: A tooth can have numerous canals, and any infected missed canal may cause a recurrent infection again. Therefore, initiating pain.


How long does root canal pain last? — The question has existed ever since the inception of the root canal procedure. It’s vital to talk to the dentist before the procedure to remove any doubts and remain stress-free before the process is completed. Persistent pain is not normal; if the pain exceeds 1–2 weeks, the main reason must be addressed immediately to tackle the problem. Last but not least, always prioritize oral health and do not make any compromises.

Also Read: How to Remove Tartar from Teeth Without Dentist?