Once your endodontist performs the root canal treatment on your tooth, it is up to you to follow through with the attention and care it needs to heal. This is what will further ensure the success of the procedure and guard against infection.
Let’s talk about what you can expect after a root canal and the proper post-treatment steps you can take for the recovery process to go smoothly.
Pain After a Root Canal Procedure
Many people are worried about pain after a root canal. But, truth be told, the pain experienced before the procedure is often much worse. Any minor pain or discomfort you feel following the root canal treatment should subside rather quickly.
During the procedure, your dental team will make sure the area is numb using a local anesthetic. As it begins to wear off - usually a couple of hours following your treatment - you may need over-the-counter pain medication to minimize any discomfort. It is not uncommon for the jaw to feel a little sore from remaining open for so long, too.
If you have any swelling, apply a cold compress to the area 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, for the 6-8 hours following.
While you may be left with a little bit of sensitivity, your pain should dissipate within two to four days following the treatment. For some, this could be sooner, for others the area surrounding the tooth could be a little sore for a couple of weeks.
Eating and Drinking After Treatment
Once the local anesthetic wears off, you can eat and drink. However, you will want to avoid drinking with straws and avoid anything that is too hot or too cold as the area can be sensitive.
Stick to soft foods such as smoothies, soups, yogurt, oatmeal, pasta, pancakes, sushi, eggs, tofu, and such for the first couple of days following your root canal procedure. As you begin to heal and feel better, you can reintroduce regular foods back into your diet.
Keep in mind that a temporary filling or crown will be used to seal up your tooth after a root canal. This is not a permanent fix so it needs to be treated with caution. That means eating hard or crunchy foods, such as pretzels, chips, ice, nuts, and so forth on the other side of your mouth is recommended until your tooth is permanently restored.
Tips for Proper Healing
Caring for your tooth after a root canal is relatively easy and shouldn’t cause you too much trouble. Just be sure to take all the precautions to ensure a speedy recovery. Here are a few extra tips for you:
- Avoid exercising, heavy movements, or lifting in days immediately following your root canal. This can increase your pain and reduce your healing.
- Do not smoke. Smoking - and vaping - in the first couple of days after your root canal treatment can also impede your healing.
- Brush and floss normally - just be gentle around the treated tooth. Staying on top of your oral hygiene helps to reduce any chance of infection due to food particles or debris hanging around.
When to Contact Your Dentist
Although you should have a follow-up visit scheduled with your dentist to permanently restore your tooth, if you experience any of the following, you should contact your dentist.
- Swelling has not gone down after 48 hours
- Your bite feels off or a little uncomfortable
- The temporary filling or crown falls out
- You begin experiencing pain as you had before the root canal
Root Canal Treatment at Contemporary Endodontics
If you are experiencing tooth pain or have been told you need a root canal, the team at Contemporary Endodontics is here to help. We know how painful an infected tooth can be - and how important it is to have it addressed as soon as possible.