Root canal procedure sounds more frightening than it is. After the procedure, there will be only mild discomfort and your gum line will feel normal within a week or a few. However, if you fail to take proper care of yourself, you may experience dangerous consequences.
To ensure your root canal recovery is fast and painless, consider following these eight simple tips.
1. Avoid eating right away and elevate your head
Right after your treatment, you may experience mild soreness and swelling in your mouth. To keep these symptoms at bay, make sure your head is elevated and abstain from lying down if possible. Putting an extra pillow under your head while sleeping within the first couple of days is also a good idea. Besides, avoid eating until the numbness subsides.
2. Take pain relievers
When the anesthetic effects from the treatment disappear, minor pain and discomfort in your gum line and jaw may develop. To make your root canal recovery comfortable, consider taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain medicines like ibuprofen (or other medications prescribed by your dentist) before any symptoms occur. Also, if your doctor prescribes any antibiotics, take them as instructed until you finish the entire bottle.
3. Rinse with warm salt water
The most common risk after a root canal treatment is tooth infection. It can result in severe pain, so it’s certainly best for it to be avoided. Frequently rinsing your mouth with warm, somewhat salty water will help clean your mouth and prevent infection, allowing your gums to heal properly.
4. Enjoy ice cream and apply cold compresses
Eating ice cream after a root canal procedure is a commonly recommended thing. Cold foods help reduce inflammation and prevent infection, which is essential to make your recovery faster. If you don’t like ice cream, try applying cold compresses for 10 to 15 minutes a couple of times a day within a few days after the treatment.
5. Abstain from anything that can result in inflammation
Eating anything cold may help speed up your root canal recovery. However, you should avoid smoking, consuming alcohol, drinking through a straw, chewing hard foods, drinking hot beverages, and sucking on certain foods like mints and hard candies. Such foods can put you at increased risk of inflammation and associated swelling and pain, ultimately slowing your recovery.
6. Avoid vigorous activity for a few days
Make sure to get plenty of rest within the first two days after the procedure. That means abstaining from participating in sports, jogging, riding a bike, or any kind of physical work.
7. Know what to look forward to
You may be excessively anxious if you don’t know what to expect after your treatment. Avoid panicking if you experience sensitivity when eating, sensitivity to temperatures, dull continuous tooth pain, and have rough patches in your mouth. These symptoms will typically subside within a couple of weeks.
8. Contact your dentist if you have any worries
In rare cases when your symptoms are more serious than the aforementioned ones and don’t improve, inform your dental specialist about them. Symptoms you should be concerned about include excessive bleeding, severe inflammation, fever, extreme pain, and side effects from prescribed medicines. These issues are unlikely to occur if you take care of your teeth and gums correctly.
The bottom line
For a fast and safe root canal recovery, abstain from eating right after your treatment and elevate your head when sleeping. Don’t forget to take the medications prescribed by your dental specialist and use salt water mouth rinses to ward off pain and inflammation. You can try eating cold foods to comfort your mouth. However, avoid consuming anything that can result in discomfort or treatment failure. Abstain from strenuous activities and always contact your doctor if you have any symptoms that bother you.