Roughly 41,000 root canal procedures are performed every day in the United States — 15 million per year, according to the American Association of Endodontists. Root canal procedures help preserve teeth badly damaged by decay or trauma, preventing tooth loss and the significant problems it can cause.
At Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center in Waterford, Michigan, Marvin Taylor, DDS, uses advanced root canal techniques to help patients get the care they need to enjoy optimal oral health. If root canal therapy is in your future, here’s what to do afterward to promote quick, complete healing.
During your root canal treatment, we numb your tooth and the surrounding area to keep you comfortable throughout the procedure. Afterward, that numbing anesthetic wears off, leaving you with some residual discomfort.
Taking over-the-counter pain relievers can help a lot. You can also rinse with lukewarm salt water or apply an ice pack to your cheek to help reduce swelling. The good news: Discomfort and swelling are temporary, typically resolving within a few days.
Follow aftercare instructions
After a root canal, it’s important to return to your regular oral hygiene practices: brush twice a day with a soft-bristle brush and floss at least once daily to dislodge food particles and remove plaque. Be gentle to avoid irritating the area while it heals.
Using a water flosser is fine, too. Your tooth might be sensitive to hot and cold temperatures while it heals, so if you use a water flosser, stick to lukewarm water.
Do not smoke during healing since tobacco products contain chemicals that can interfere with healing and cause more oral health problems. Finally, follow instructions that Dr. Taylor provides, and don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions.
Change your diet (temporarily)
Right after a root canal and for a few days afterward, you want to avoid any hard or crunchy foods. Not only can they increase your discomfort and irritate your gums, but they may damage a temporary restoration.
Avoid very chewy or sticky foods since these can leave particles stuck between your teeth, requiring extra effort (and potentially extra discomfort) to remove them. Pudding, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and soft pasta are good choices. Soup and soft stews are fine too, but keep the temperature lukewarm to avoid sensitivity issues.
It's important to note that dietary changes are only temporary and meant to reduce the risk of irritation and discomfort. Once your permanent crown is in place, you can continue to enjoy your regular diet, protecting your crown the way you protect any other tooth.
Custom care for your unique needs
Your oral health needs are unique and can change over your lifetime. Dr. Taylor and his team are committed to providing custom care for every patient, supporting optimal oral health at every age and stage of life.
If you need a root canal or have tooth pain or other symptoms, prompt treatment is the best way to find quick relief and prevent further problems. To learn more, call 248-681-8100 or request an appointment online today at Dr. Taylor’s Family Dental Center.