If you have recently had a root canal treatment, you are aware of the discomfort it causes. But, the positive aspect is that the hardest part is over, and you have a smooth road to recovery ahead. The key to bouncing back quickly after a root canal is to tend to your teeth and gums during the recovery period. By adhering to some straightforward guidelines, you can hasten your recovery and return to your regular routine as soon as possible. Let’s dive in!
What is a root canal procedure?A root canal is a dental procedure that is used to treat an infected or damaged tooth. The procedure involves removing the infected or damaged tissue from the tooth’s interior and sealing it to prevent further damage. A root canal is typically performed by a dentist or endodontist, a specialist in root canal therapy. Root canals are generally performed under local anesthesia, and the procedure can take up to several hours, depending on the complexity of the case.
What to expect during a root canal procedureIf you need a root canal, your dentist or endodontist will first numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. They will then make a small opening in the top of the tooth to access the pulp. Using special tools, they will remove the infected or damaged pulp from the tooth, clean the interior of the tooth, and shape the root canals. After the root canals are shaped, they will be filled with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Finally, a temporary filling will be placed in the opening of the tooth.
Recovery time after a root canalAfter a root canal, it is normal to experience some discomfort and sensitivity in the treated tooth. However, most people are able to return to their normal activities within a few days. The length of the recovery period will depend on the complexity of the procedure and your individual healing time. Your dentist or endodontist will provide you with specific instructions for post-operative care, including how to care for the treated tooth, what foods to eat and avoid, and any pain management strategies.
8 tips for a speedy recovery
- Practice good oral hygiene: It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day with a toothbrush that has soft bristles and also floss daily to maintain good oral health and hygiene.
- Avoid hard or crunchy foods: Stick to soft foods like soup, yogurt, and mashed potatoes for the first few days after your root canal.
- Use ice packs: Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time to help reduce swelling and pain.
- Take pain medication as directed: You can use ibuprofen or acetaminophen, which are easily available without prescription, to alleviate any pain or discomfort you may have.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking can have adverse effects on the healing process and can also enhance the probability of complications.
- Don’t use a straw: Sucking on a straw can dislodge the blood clot that forms in the tooth socket after a root canal, which can delay the healing process.
- Rest: Take it easy for the first few days after your procedure to give your body time to heal.
- Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water to help your body heal and flush out any toxins.