Caring for Your Tooth After a Root Canal: Dos and Don’ts

  • Dec 20 2023

Anyone who has undergone root canal treatment knows what a relief it can be from intense tooth pain. However, the recovery process is just as essential as the operation itself in order to ensure proper healing and the long-term integrity of your crown.

First and foremost, since every tooth and its history that led to a root canal therapy is different, you must follow all post-operative instructions from your dentist. But while your dentist will review your next steps with you, here’s a handy list of post-procedure do’s and don’ts that you can easily reference while you recover.

What You Should Do After Root Canal Treatment 

While the most pressing action item is to take your prescribed medications and attend any follow-up appointments, there are a few other things to keep in mind: 

Brush and Floss Regularly 

It’s always important, but even more so after dental work: Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is essential for the long-term success of a root canal treatment. Brushing twice daily with a soft-bristled brush will remove plaque and debris, while flossing once daily will clean hard-to-reach spots. 

Be Mindful of Your Diet 

It’s not uncommon for the treatment site to be sensitive immediately following the operation, so some patients find that eating a soft diet for a few days can be helpful. Foods like rice, mashed potatoes, and soups are easy to chew while delivering necessary nutrients. Eating cool food items like yogurt and pudding is also helpful. 

Pay Attention to Swelling and Sensitivity

While sensitivity and tenderness are indeed normal, both should soon go away as you start healing. Contact your treating dentist if these symptoms don’t go away or if they worsen after a few days. 

Take Pain Relievers 

Many patients don’t experience any discomfort after root canal treatment. If you do, you can alleviate it using over-the-counter medications. These provide temporary relief until the pain subsides within a few days. 

What Not to Do After Root Canal Treatment 

A root canal treatment is like any medical procedure, meaning it is not without potential complications. However, you can avoid these problems by avoiding certain activities. 

Avoid Eating Immediately After Treatment 

Although root canal treatment resolves discomfort, the site may still be tender following your appointment. So avoid chewing on that tooth immediately following treatment, and allow your tooth some time to heal. In the meantime, chew on the opposite side of your mouth to prevent unnecessary pressure on the tooth.

Don’t Brush Too Aggressively 

During recovery, the treated tooth will likely be rather sensitive — but so will the surrounding teeth and gums. And even though brushing regularly is important, brushing too aggressively can damage your new crown or cause the surrounding area to become even more sensitive. So follow proper dental hygiene, but also be careful in the days immediately following treatment.

Don’t Smoke or Drink Excessive Alcohol 

Smoking and drinking excessive alcohol can interfere with any prescribed antibiotics and the healing process and increase your chance of complications. Of particular concern is nicotine, which restricts blood flow — a vital part of healing.

Don’t Skip Follow-Up Appointments 

Your dentist will likely want to see you after the procedure to check the status of your tooth. This is the best way for them to keep track of your progress and detect any possible complications.

Root Canal Treatment Is Nothing to Be Afraid Of 

If you’ve never had one, root canal procedures can be stressful. But if you follow these after-care tips, you can manage your recovery and mitigate your risk. 

One crucial factor contributing to your treatment’s success is the skill of your dentist. Dr. Payam Cohen from Forest Hills Dentistry in Forest Hills Queens is a general dentist trained to perform this complex procedure. Contact our office today to schedule your consultation for a Forest Hills root canal, and let us get you out of pain!

Categories: Root Canal