More often than not, when your dentist tells you that it’s time for a root canal, you spend a lot more time thinking about the time leading up to and during the procedure than you do thinking about what to do afterward. This isn’t a bad thing — After all, the thought of an impending surgery is a lot more intimidating for many than the thought of recovering from one. As such, you may end up not knowing what to expect after a root canal until it’s already been done.
Thankfully, if you find yourself post-root canal wondering what kind of after care you need, the following sections will tell you exactly what you need to know.
From what to expect to how to recover to what you can eat to how you can prevent infection, this is how to care for your mouth after a root canal.
Why Get a Root Canal in the First Place?
Root canals can mean the difference between saving your tooth and losing it for good. Whether the tooth is damaged, diseased, or broken, a root canal is a common dental procedure responsible for recovering millions of teeth each year. Better yet, it’s a fairly painless thing that yields excellent results: a good root canal can bring back the patient’s ability to chew, to bite, to have sensation in the teeth, to have a natural appearance to their smile, and even the ability to protect the surrounding teeth from further damage or infection.
Of course, saying a root canal is fairly painless does not mean that you can go back to biting and chewing with force immediately after your dentist appointment. There are some things you should expect after your root canal that will help during your recovery process.
What to Expect After a Root Canal
If you’re experiencing symptoms like chipped or cracked teeth, extreme hot or cold sensitivity in your teeth, sharp pain when biting or chewing, the development of pimples or swelling on the gums, or deep, dark decay in the teeth or the gums, then your dentist is probably going to opt for a root canal. You know that this procedure will help you regain function in the symptomatic teeth, but you might not know what comes next.
First and foremost, you should know that your tooth (or teeth) will be numb for a few hours at the very least. Many can go straight back to work or school when the root canal is done, but you might want to refrain from eating or drinking until that numbness in the mouth goes away (otherwise you might end up biting your tongue or your cheek or biting down too hard on your tooth).
Root Canal Recovery
In the days and weeks that follow your root canal, there are some things you need to know to ensure you’re recovering correctly. Mainly, you should know that you’ll likely experience some sensitivity for several days, which comes from the inflammation in the tissue that typically follows dental work. Throughout the root canal recovery process, you can deal with that inflammation with over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen, which will help reduce a lot of that swelling and also help you manage pain, as well. Once that inflammation goes down, you’re essentially in the clear.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can ignore the fact that you had a root canal done. There’s still a few things to be aware of to ensure that you fully recover from the procedure.
Eating After Root Canal
As far as root canal recovery is concerned, the best piece of advice for eating after root canal procedures is to avoid chewing or biting with the tooth until the procedure is completely finished. Typically, root canals involve temporary fillings or crowns being placed on the tooth while a permanent filling or crown is made to better fit your mouth — these temporary fixes are not nearly as durable or sturdy as the final product, and as such, you need to avoid doing very much work with that tooth whenever you can. Opt for soft foods like yogurt, eggs, oatmeal, and smoothies, for the time being, just to be safe.
Once the permanent crown is placed, you’ll likely experience more inflammation, and then you’ll be good to go. (Of course, it’s still a good idea to take extra special care of that root canal and avoid doing things like chewing on jawbreakers and biting down on rock candy with that crown.)
Root Canal After Care
Taking the time to follow these tips and tricks can be the difference between a healthy, clean crown and a damaged, infected mess that will only result in more extensive work in the long run. When all is said and done, this starts and ends with proper oral hygiene. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing your teeth at least once a day, using mouthwash regularly, wearing things like mouth guards if you grind your teeth or play sports, and seeing your dentist at least once every six months (or however often your dental insurance allows).
Care for Your Mouth with Elementa Silver
In order to take care of your mouth after a root canal, oral hygiene is key. Combining the power of Nano Silver with the proven benefits of calcium, xylitol, natural flavor, and water, Elementa Silver toothpaste and mouthwash help ensure your mouth will be cared for after a root canal and beyond.
Check out the Elementa Silver shop to view the full line of products.