What To Do Post Root Canal Treatment
Root canal definitely has one of the most fearsome reputations of any type of dental procedure. However, advances in the techniques used and the anesthesia available means that root canal treatment is not nearly as painful or as concerning for patients as it used to be. In fact, many dentists and past patients state that it is little different to any other type of dental treatment. It is also absolutely essential if you have an infection at the root of your tooth and you wish to preserve it for as long as possible.
Our dentist will inevitably talk to you about what to do after your root canal treatment. Listening to their instructions and advice is invaluable as they have the training and experience to be able to tell you what actions will support your healing and keep complications at bay, and which are likely to cause you further problems. Unfortunately, many patients decide that the instructions given are ‘suggestions’ and do not follow them as directed. Often, this leads to a much higher risk of complications developing and in some circumstances, further root canal treatment will be needed.
What to do after root canal treatment
If you have been recommended to have root canal treatment, here is what you need to know about caring for your teeth after.
Chew on the unaffected side of your mouth
The crown or filling that you will be fitted with after the first part of your procedure is only temporary. This means that it is not fixed as securely as a permanent restoration and could come loose if undue stress is placed on it or could pull out if you choose to eat something sticky or chewy on it. If this happens, food and bacteria can get back into the space in your tooth and cause re-infection. To prevent this, we recommend that you totally avoiding chewing on the side of your mouth that has the affected tooth until your treatment is concluded and your new, permanent crown or filling is in place.
Choose your food wisely
Since you don’t want to damage your temporary restoration, it is advisable to stick to eating soft, easy-to-chew foods until our dentist has confirmed that the infection has been eliminated and your permanent cavity filling or crown has been secured in place. Consider soft potatoes, pasta, soups, boiled vegetables, rice and smoothies. Most people only need to follow the soft food diet for around a week so it shouldn’t be too difficult to make it interesting.
Don’t be afraid to use pain relief
Many people are reluctant to use pain relief unless they absolutely can’t cope without it. Nevertheless, our dentist will recommend that you take pain relief fairly regularly in the first few days after your procedure. Our dentist will have had to drill right down into the root to clear the infection, and some discomfort is inevitable. Studies have shown that people who aren’t experiencing pain heal faster and can carry on with their usual activities much more easily so don’t shy away from pain relief in those initial days after root canal. If over-the-counter medication isn’t sufficient, our dentist may be able to give you a short prescription for something stronger.
Clean around the affected tooth with extreme care
While you have a temporary restoration in place you will need to take extra care when cleaning your tooth so that the crown or filling doesn’t come loose. Brush and floss gently, take your time and speak to our dentist if you have any concerns.
Smoking is bad for your health anyway, but it can also slow down the healing process and increase the likelihood of post-treatments complications for a variety of procedures, including root canal.
Opt for a crown for your final restoration
Any good dentist will strongly advocate that you choose a crown as the final restoration to cover the affected tooth. However, crowns are more expensive than cavity fillings and some patients that are on a budget may try and insist on using the cheaper option. While financial constraints are understandable, there is a good reason why crowns are always recommended – they actually strengthen your tooth. When our dentist drills down to remove the infected area, the cavity he/she will create will weaken the structure of your tooth. By placing a crown over the top rather than a simple cavity filling, our dentist is restoring the solidity and strength of your affected tooth. Crowns also encase the tooth inside, protecting it from further decay or damage.
If you would like more advice on what to do post root canal treatment, or if you would like to make an appointment to book in your procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices.