Visiting the dentist, especially for anything related to root canal can be a troublesome thing. Not only are you worried about the cost of the visit, the potential pain and if your face is going to be numb for half the afternoon, but you also have to worry about root canal aftercare.
Many people get so overwhelmed with understanding the ins and outs of looking after their teeth after a root canal that they simply resort to old cleaning habits. Not looking after your teeth after a root canal procedure can be risky and you should avoid that at all costs.
Luckily, understanding root canal aftercare doesn’t have to be difficult. That’s why this article will take you through seven essential tips you should know about how to look after your teeth, after your root canal procedure.
Why Is Root Canal Aftercare Important?
With general dentists performing over 41,000 root canals daily in the US, that leaves roughly around 15 million of us every year who need to consider how to look after our teeth after having surgery.
A root canal is an amazing procedure for patients when dentists can’t save their teeth with a simple filling. A root canal involves a general dentist removing any damage to the interior pulp of the tooth. This means they can save the natural part of the tooth from further damage or decay.
Luckily, modern medicine has made root canal a much less risky procedure than it used to be, however, proper root canal aftercare is still an important factor to make sure the tooth heals properly and doesn’t become fractured or damaged.
The 6 Essential Root Canal Aftercare Tips
To make the process of root canal aftercare as easy as possible, we’ve put together these six tips on how to care for your teeth as best as possible after a root canal procedure.
1. Your Tooth Isn’t Protected Until You Get a Crown
A root canal procedure will remove the interior part of your tooth. As the dentists alter the structure of the tooth, you will find that it is particularly weak. Because of this, in most cases of a root canal procedure, a dentist will recommend a cap or crown to protect the tooth and strengthen it, to avoid any breakages or other problems.
Crowns are often done in a separate procedure after a root canal, so it’s important to remember this while looking after your teeth after a procedure. Remember, until that appointment, your tooth will have no protection, so take care not to chew or that side of your mouth.
2. Avoid Hard or Crunchy Foods
Even when you are avoiding chewing hard on the recently treated side of your mouth, you are going to still put a certain amount of pressure on your teeth. To avoid damage, you should avoid any hard or crunchy foods.
Consuming any foods that are hard or crunchy can increase the risk of causing damage to the temporary sealant on your tooth until your dentist fits your crown. Crunchy foods can often damage the temporary filling and can in some cases even cause the tooth to break off completely.
3. Treat That Area With Care When Flossing or Brushing
You’ll need to care for the whole area around the root canal procedure properly after your procedure. It’s very important to remember to be gentle but also meticulous when brushing the tooth and affected area.
You should be especially careful if the area is tender or the tooth feels sensitive. You will find when flossing this to be especially difficult.
Don’t rush or force the flossing. If you are still having difficulties contact your general dentist to consider reshaping the filling.
4. Use Pain Relievers Orally to Manage Discomfort
After your treatment has finished, you might want to take pain relievers within an hour. Doing this before the anesthesia dies down will keep any discomfort to the minimum.
You’ll most commonly use ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin. They act as an anti-inflammatory so as well as reducing the pain they also slow down any swelling. You can pick up most of these painkillers over the counter at a local pharmacy.
5. Don’t Worry About Swelling
Often after a root canal procedure, you can get mild swelling and even bruising. This is typically found at the entry point of the anesthesia and will often subdue in a short amount of time.
If you ever have any excessive amounts of swelling make sure to immediately get in contact with your general dentist.
6. Be Serious About The Difference Between Normal Discomfort and Serious Pain
The success rate of a root canal is fairly high. A study also found that 89% of patients were satisfied after root canal treatment by an endodontist. Even though a root canal procedure can be very effective, there are still certain situations you may be in severe pain.
The great news about modern procedures is you will often feel almost no pain whatsoever. When you do feel any pain, it’s usually mild and related to the bruised tissue around the tooth the dentist has treated.
The level of discomfort can vary between patients, but generally, you’ll find most patients who do have any discomfort will feel it for a few days after the treatment. Taking oral pain relievers will play a big role in reducing down your discomfort.
If you experience pain that escalates and grows in intensity that you can’t relieve with oral painkillers, this can be a sign of another problem such as a fractured tooth or an infection.
Looking After Yourself Post Root Canal Shouldn’t Be Difficult
By following these six simple root canal aftercare tips, you should be able to alleviate any pain and get your teeth healthy and ready for your crown fitting.
For advice and support on anything dental related, get in touch with us today.