Want to know our favorite thing about successful root canal procedures? They can end your pain while restoring wellness and balance to your mouth. But if you’re nervous about getting a root canal, no matter how much you might need it, we understand! Here are ten root canal recovery tips that may help you achieve a healthy and smooth recovery. Because we want your root canal experience to be great!
Before we dive in, you may wonder why you need a root canal at all. If your dentist or endodontist recommended a root canal, this treatment is most likely your best option to save your natural tooth and return to a pain-free life. Root canals are beneficial when the tooth is too damaged, decayed, or infected to heal on its own. The root canal helps you recover! Best of all, by saving your natural tooth, you maintain your normal bite and smile.
Please remember, this article about root canal recovery tips is not a substitute for personalized medical advice. We urge you to seek care from a skilled endodontist or another dental professional. The information is general and may not apply to some individuals. You can request an appointment with us here.
Top Ten Root Canal Recovery Tips
Here are the top ten root canal recovery tips:
Follow Your Endodontist’s Suggestions
We need to start our list by reminding you to always listen to your dental care team. Everyone has their own unique set of circumstances, including their overall health, current prescriptions, dental history, and lifestyle. We like to think of this as your “tooth story” — and your dental care team is working hard to understand yours! The best advice is always tailored to you as an individual. So please trust us. We do this every day, and we want to support your health.
Educate Yourself About the Root Canal Procedure
We know you didn’t go to dental school, so you probably have a lot of questions about what to expect with your root canal. Don’t be shy, ask away! Let your endodontist know what questions and concerns you have about the procedure and the usual recovery process. Often, learning more about the procedure helps you prepare for recovery so it can go smoothly. It also may relieve some anxiety over the idea of having a root canal. The more you know, the better prepared you’ll feel!
The American Association of Endodontists published a guide to post-root canal treatment. We invite you to check it out. Typically, when the local anesthetic or pain medicine wears off, you may notice tenderness in the mouth’s treated area for a few days while you heal. You may also experience sore muscles or achiness in the jaw from having your mouth open during your root canal.
Plan Your Recovery Retreat
Preplan a few details, such as arranging to take time off work. Some people can return to their normal life almost immediately, but taking a little downtime may help take off the pressure you might feel to work through some residual pain.
In the days following your root canal, avoid chewing using the treated tooth. Stock up on soft, non-spicy foods like yogurt, soft cereals like oatmeal, mashed potatoes, avocado, pureed fruit like bananas or applesauce, and soup. (Just don’t heat the soup too hot!) Yes, go ahead and treat yourself to your favorite soft foods!
Though you are fine to go right back to work after your root canal, who says a little self-care should be discouraged? Consider filling your Netflix queue, Spotify playlist, or podcast playlist so you have entertainment waiting that you can enjoy while relaxing. Some prefer heartwarming or feel-good content to promote relaxation. We know we’ll never say “no” to a Friends marathon!
Try Cold Compresses
If you’re experiencing some swelling, try holding cold compresses or ice packs to the treated area. Some find it helps to apply an ice pack for around 10 minutes and repeats it a few times a day. Just make sure you put a cloth or some kind of barrier between the ice and your skin.
Use Anti-inflammatory Pain Medicine As Directed
First of all, when you come in for your appointment, be sure to inform your endodontist of any known allergies and any other medication you are taking. Follow your medical provider’s guidance on using anti-inflammatory medications best to relieve the discomfort and swelling.
In many cases, your usually over-the-counter painkillers work well. However, we recommend anti-inflammatory medication because they are more effective at reducing soreness and swelling faster. If you cannot take this type of medication, no worries, Tylenol based medications will work as well.
Avoid Eating Right After Your Root Canal
Initially, your mouth may feel partially numb; wait until after that sensation ends before eating. Stick with mild, soft food, as previously mentioned. Smoothies, yogurt, mashed avocado, or mashed potatoes are all ways to fuel your body without causing pain or stress to your mouth. In addition to spices, avoid food that is too hot or too cold. Your body cannot tell the temperature in that area when you are numb, and we don’t want you to burn yourself!
Also, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol while you heal. These activities can increase inflammation and hinder your healing process.
Rest and Relax
At Ballantyne Endo, we promote self-care every day of the week, but you may want to treat yourself with a little more relaxation after your root canal treatment. Our best advice is to do what makes you feel the best. Most people go right back to work or school after treatment, and you should if you are feeling up to it. Others continue with their normal gym routines like nothing ever happened. Again, the best rule of thumb is doing what you feel comfortable and happy doing.
Clean Your Teeth Very Gently at First
Ask your dentist or endodontist for advice on keeping your mouth clean. You should brush and floss your teeth as normal, but you may want to use a warm, saltwater rinse a few times a day so you can help keep the area clean as it heals.
Remember to resume your normal dental hygiene routine as soon as your care provider recommends. Consistent daily dental hygiene and regular dental care help prevent the need for future root canals. The best way to avoid root canals is prevention!
Seek Medical Attention if Concerned
Most people recover quickly from a root canal. In fact, some report experiencing immediate relief from the discomfort that led them to have the procedure. In our practice, we take pride in how many of our patients actually take a relaxing snooze during their procedure! Feel free to call your endodontist’s practice if you have any questions as you recover.
Complications are rare, but we urge every patient to listen to their body. The American Association of Endodontists offers guidance on when to seek medical attention:
- Signs of an allergic reaction to the medication (like fever, hives, itchy sensation, or a rash).
- Your bite feels uneven (different from before).
- A sensation of pressure or severe pain lasting more than a couple of days.
- You lose a temporary filling or crown.
- You notice the old symptoms that led to your root canal come back.
- Swelling that lasts longer than a few days. You may need an antibiotic or steroid to alleviate your swelling.
At Ballantyne Endodontics, we have the privilege of providing effective treatment to patients in the Charlotte-area. We strive to help people preserve their natural teeth and restore balance and wellness to our patients’ lives.
If you need a root canal, ask your dentist for a referral to Ballantyne Endodontics, or call us for a consultation.