Home / General / At the Root Of the Matter: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Root Canal After Care
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If you’re gearing up for a root canal, you can rest assured knowing that 97% of these procedures are successful. The 3% of root canal procedures that aren’t successful are typically due to a failure on the patient’s end.

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More specifically, most people see complications if they don’t follow their root canal after care plan. When your procedure is over, your dentist or dental hygienist will go over some instructions to take home. These cover things like how to deal with pain and what to do before you come in for your next follow up.

These guidelines are absolutely vital if you want your newly healthy tooth to stay that way. That’s why we’re bringing you this guide to everything you need to know about caring for your teeth post-root canal.

Are you wondering what kind of foods you can and can’t eat? How about if it’s really true that you should avoid smoking? Keep reading to discover the answers to these questions and so many more!

Root Canal After Care for Pain

A root canal is a procedure in which your dentist drills a hole in your tooth or teeth. They use this hole to access the tooth’s pulp. The pulp is removed, and the hole is cleaned before your dentist fills it and seals the tooth.

After your procedure, you’ll likely deal with tenderness in the area of the removed pulp. You may also experience a sore jaw from holding your mouth open for so long during the procedure. While neither of these issues will cause severe pain, you will experience some discomfort after the original anesthesia wears off.

For this reason, your dentist will probably recommend using over-the-counter (OTC) medication. You can also rinse with salt water for an at-home remedy. In cases of more significant pain, you may receive a prescription for stronger pain medication.

When to Contact Your Dentist

Some pain is normal after your procedure. However, this pain should mainly be located in the region where the root canal was performed. If the painful sensation extends to other parts of your mouth, becomes severe, or lasts longer than a few days post-root canal, it’s time to head into your local dentist’s office.

Other symptoms that indicate a problem with your root canal include:

Swelling outside your mouth that’s clearly visibleAn abnormally uneven biteThe entire filling or temporary crown falls out

You should also contact your dentist if the same symptoms you felt pre-root canal return. This may be a sign of another damaged tooth. Or it might indicate that the original root canal was ineffective, and another type of endodontic surgery is needed.

What to Eat After Your Root Canal

During your root canal, your dentist will put you under anesthesia. That means you’ll still experience numbness in your mouth. Wait for this to wear off completely before you eat anything, or else you might bite your cheek or tongue.

Also, avoid chewing with the tooth your dentist just operated on. This can cause damage, especially if you’re eating something hard or sticky. Things like candy or hard fruit can pull out the filling in your tooth.

Instead, choose soft foods and try to chew on the opposite side of the mouth when possible. Here are some great foods to eat while you’re recovering from your root canal procedure:

OatmealVegetable soupMeatloafScrambled eggs or an omeletBananasAvocadosTofuPasta

Another thing to keep in mind is temperature. Your tooth may be extra sensitive during recovery. That means hot and cold foods may bother you more than usual. Eat your food at room temperature for the best results.

What Not to Eat Post-Root Canal

Here’s what not to eat after a root canal:

TaffyGumCandyIce cubesHot soup or cold smoothies

More Root Canal After Care Tips

Brushing and flossing are just as important after your root canal as ever before. So, too, is going in for your twice-yearly dental cleanings. Improved oral hygiene decreases the likelihood of needing another root canal in the future.

Part of your root canal after care is that you have to attend regular follow-ups after your procedure. Your dentist will continue to check for complications and assure your tooth is healing properly. Yet you aren’t finished.

You’ll have to go in for one final check-in with your dentist after all your follow-ups are done. This is because you’ll need to get a permanent crown set in place. This is the last step in fully restoring the tooth.

Smoking After a Root Canal

So, you may be wondering: is smoking after a root canal okay? Most dentists do not recommend smoking after a root canal. That’s because smoking post-root canal can actually increase the likelihood of complications.

According to the American Association of Endodontists, smokers are two times as likely to need root canals as compared to non-smokers. What’s more, that risk increases as do the number of years you’ve been a smoker.

To avoid expensive root canals in the future, and reduce the chance of complications with your current root canal, avoid smoking for as long as possible after your procedure.

Root Canal Dentist in Chattanooga, TN

As long as you follow these root canal after care guidelines, your restored tooth will last you as long as all your other teeth. And if you keep up with your oral hygiene and attend regular dental cleanings, you’ll have a better, brighter smile in no time.

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Are you looking for a root canal dentist in Chattanooga? Shallow Ford Family Dental is here to help with all your oral needs.