Can You Drive After a Root Canal?

A root canal is a common procedure needed to treat an infected tooth. If a cavity is left unchecked, the hole gets bigger and allows bacteria to enter inside the tooth, eventually making its way down the canals.

By this point, patients can experience a lot of pain, swelling, and discomfort. Luckily, that will all end as soon as the procedure gets started, as the dentist will provide an anesthetic to make sure you don’t feel pain and discomfort during your root canal.

But the question begs: will you be able to drive yourself home after the procedure? Keep reading to find out the answer!

Is It Safe to Drive After a Root Canal?

Usually, before a root canal procedure is begun, the dentist will numb the tooth with an injection of a local anesthetic.

This will make sure you don’t feel any more pain or discomfort throughout the procedure. Then, the dentist will clean the inside of the tooth and remove all the infected tissue and add a filling or dental crown to restore the tooth.

The effects of the anesthetic usually last for a few hours, but it normally should not impair your driving abilities. It’s only meant to numb the area and not affect your judgment or reflexes.

As a result, under normal circumstances, you should have no issues driving yourself home after a root canal.

Things to Consider Before Getting Behind the Wheel

Sometimes, it may not be such a great idea to drive yourself home after a root canal in Oak Park. For instance, if the anesthetic wears off, you may experience a bit of pain, which could be distracting enough to make it dangerous to drive.

Another case where you should not drive yourself home is if you received a sedative instead of a local anesthetic.

Sedatives are used to help the patient feel calm and relaxed during their procedure. They are usually needed in cases where people suffer from dental anxiety, have a disability that prevents them from lying still in the chair, or need an extensive procedure.

The type of sedative that may be used for a root canal can include:

  • Laughing gas - A mild sedative that is easily expelled from your system once the procedure is done. You may be able to drive yourself home;
  • Oral conscious sedation - Taken as pills shortly before the procedure. Their effects can last even a full day after you take them, so it’s not recommended to drive after the root canal;
  • IV sedation - Used to deliver a constant supply of sedatives during lengthy procedures. Like with oral conscious sedation, you will not be able to drive yourself home.

If you're dealing with a tooth infection and may need a root canal, Dr. Wesley Wise can help.

Book an appointment at Wesley C. Wise, DDS & Assoc., LTD online or call us at (708) 524-0330.