Root canals need proper after-care to heal correctly. If you have recently received a root canal, we recommend following our tips to help your root canal heal correctly and to keep the tooth healthy for years to come.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is performed when the pulp of the tooth has become infected and is dealing with decay. Root canals will remove the damaged and infected tissue and replace it with a special filling to preserve the tooth. However, without proper protection, the tooth will become brittle and can break if it is not covered with a dental crown.
Removal of the dentin will essentially render the tooth “dead”. While patients no longer experience pain from the tooth, they will need to care for the tooth properly or risk additional decay to the tooth. A root canal with additional decay will need to be re-treated in the future. In addition, a root canal could eventually fail if the teeth and gums aren’t cared for in the right manner. If the root canal tooth fails, you will be facing a tooth extraction of the tooth and replacement with a dental implant. However, we find with the right oral health routine, patients can keep their root canaled teeth safe and healthy and can avoid painful extractions and implants in the future.
Understanding a Root Canal Procedure
Following a root canal, patients should feel tenderness and soreness and mild pain. If you are in severe pain, contact our office immediately. Patients normally feel tenderness for a few days and the jaw may feel sore for a day or two as well. Over-the-counter medications normally suffice to reduce inflammation and pain associated with a root canal.
We recommend patients avoid chewing on the area, especially if you need to crown the tooth. Depending upon the outcome of your root canal, and the way the healing process is going, some patients may need to avoid chewing on the tooth for several weeks to allow the area to heal fully.
At Home Care Following a Root Canal Procedure
Following a root canal, you will need to follow proper oral hygiene care to help the area heal. We recommend you brush at least twice per day, floss at least once per day, and use mouthwash to keep your teeth and gums clean and free of bacteria and food particles.
We recommend soft foods for the first few days to help the area heal correctly. Water is essential to keep the mouth cleaned and reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth.
After a week, we will ask you to come back to our office, or schedule an appointment with your general dentist to check on the healing of the root canal. As long as everything is healing as it should, you can move forward with crowning the tooth. Crowns will cover the root of the tooth, keeping it protected against bacteria and reducing the risk of infection.
In addition to proper oral hygiene, we recommend following a healthy, balanced diet. Certain foods like soda can lead to problems with gum recession, which does make the root canal vulnerable to infection if the root is exposed below the gumline.
Schedule a Root Canal Consultation
Prior to performing a root canal, Dr. David G. Johnson will examine the tooth, review x-rays, and discuss root canal treatment. Our expert team will schedule your root canal and include information about the procedure along with proper care tips to help the tooth remain healthy and protected.