A root canal is a procedure which involves removing the inside pulp of your tooth because it has become damaged or infected. During the first appointment, your St. Clair dentist will remove the damaged pulp and clean your tooth’s canals. If you are experiencing pain, this first appointment should relieve your pain and discomfort.
You will need to return for follow-up appointments to ensure that your canals have been thoroughly cleaned and to replace your temporary filling with a permanent one. A crown is often needed to be placed over the affected tooth to prevent re-infection.
The actual root canal procedure is painless due to the use of local anesthetic. However, once this has worn off, you may experience mild pain or discomfort in the few days following your root canal.
Typically the pain is mild enough to be relieved through the use of over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as ibuprofen. Your dentist could also prescribe you stronger medication if you are experiencing more intense pain.
The tenderness should wear off within 3 days of your root canal. If the pain persists for longer than this or is severe, you should contact your dentist right away. For the first 48 hours following a root canal, you should avoid engaging in strenuous activity.
Your mouth will be numb for a few hours following your root canal, so you should take care to avoid biting your mouth. Wait for the local anesthetic to wear off before eating or drinking anything other than water.
On the first day, you should mainly rest and only eat soft foods that aren’t too hot or too cold once the anesthetic has worn off. Take pain medication to relieve pain and tenderness.
Once you can eat again, you should avoid excessively chewy foods and should try your best to chew on the side of your mouth that doesn't have the root canal. You should continue to brush your teeth and floss like normal, but be gentle and careful around the affected tooth.
Avoid flossing around the tooth with the temporary filling, as this poses a risk of it falling out. In addition to taking pain medication, you can gargle with a warm salt-water rinse three times a day to relieve discomfort and ward off infection.
While you may be hungry right after your root canal treatment, it’s important that you wait for the anesthetic to wear off before eating anything. This is because if your mouth is numb, it could be easier for you to damage your mouth without realizing such as accidentally biting your mouth.
When the anesthetic has worn off, you can eat again, but you should stick to soft foods for the first few days. Follow these guidelines when deciding what to eat:
Some examples of suitable foods to eat after a root canal are:
If you follow these aftercare tips following a root canal, you will likely not run into any problems and will have a smooth recovery. However, it is extremely important that you return to the dentist for your following appointments to complete the root canal treatment.
A root canal treatment is not complete until a permanent filling or crown has been placed over the affected tooth to protect it from bacteria and infection. At St. Clair Tooth Co. we will check how your tooth is healing and ensure there are no complications.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, swelling, tooth sensitivity, or discoloration, these are signs that you could need a root canal. Book a consultation with Dr. Carly Cassleman to find out if a root canal could be the right choice for you to save your tooth and avoid the need for extraction.