A root canal is a procedure that removes damaged pulp from inside of a tooth, helping you to keep your natural teeth in place. Your dentist or endodontist can perform this procedure in the office, and he or she will likely give you some after-care instructions to help ease discomfort and tend to your oral health in the days after your root canal. If you are unsure about what to expect after the procedure is complete, here are a few tips you can use to care for yourself and your teeth.
Caring For Pain And Swelling
After the root canal is complete, you may experience some pain and swelling. Discuss your pain management options with your dentist before the procedure so you know what you can take. In some cases, an over-the-counter pain reliever may be the best option. However, some patients may require prescription pain medication to help ease discomfort. Be sure to discuss your complete medical history, including any medications you take, with your dentist. This will help to prevent potential drug interactions and give you the best possible choice for managing your pain.
Avoid Using The Tooth
As much as possible, avoid using the tooth that has been treated. Chew on the other side, if possible, or stick to a diet consisting of soft foods and plenty of fluids after the procedure. This temporary diet change can help to provide comfort while also minimizing the risks of damage to the root canal site. If you have a temporary filling in place until your dentist can complete your dental work, you'll want to continue to avoid using the tooth until the rest of the restoration process is complete.
Purchase A Soft-Bristled Toothbrush
You should continue to brush and floss your teeth every day, including the tooth being treated, to maintain your oral health. However, you may find that your gums are sensitive from the procedure. Consider purchasing a soft-bristled toothbrush to provide a bit more comfort when brushing. You may also want to consider switching to a toothpaste designed for people with sensitive teeth and gums. Ask your dentist about different options to help take some of the discomfort out of daily oral care while you heal from your root canal.
It's a good idea to go over all of the after-care instructions with your dentist before the procedure. This will help you to understand what will happen before you get in the dentist's chair. If you will be under any type of anesthesia during the root canal, you may find that you are unable to concentrate on what the dentist is telling you. Ask for a written copy of the instructions just in case you forget something or want to reference them later.