Through the years, root canal therapy has been a dreaded term. However, many would be surprised to know that receiving root canal therapy is much like receiving a dental filling. It can also help you avoid a tooth extraction and time-consuming restorative procedures, allowing you the opportunity to maintain your beautiful smile. When performed by an expert, root canal therapy can generally be completed in just one appointment.
Our doctors at Gulch Dental Studio in Nashville, TN use gentle techniques and explain the treatment and root canal therapy aftercare process so patients know what to expect. A patient educated in advance is much more likely to receive a smooth recovery and successful results.
Immediately After Root Canal Therapy
Depending on the level of sedation used for your root canal therapy, you may feel groggy and disoriented in addition to your mouth feeling numb. If your procedure requires oral sedation, you will need to have a friend or family member drive you home. The effects of this type of sedation may take up to 24 hours to fully wear off.
In order to prevent injuring yourself or disrupting the dental work performed, it is best to avoid chewing food or drinking hot beverages until the anesthesia has worn off. Once the anesthesia dissipates, it is not uncommon to experience some soreness or tenderness. You can take over-the-counter pain relievers or any pain medications prescribed by your doctor as directed. Staying ahead of the pain will minimize discomfort and help you recover sooner.
It is also best to rest as much as possible for the first 24 hours. When lying down, be sure to keep your head elevated. You can also apply an ice pack to your outer jaw in 20-minute intervals to reduce any swelling.
Tips to Achieving a Smooth Recovery
Following the aftercare instructions below will help you recover smoothly and effectively:
- Take Your Medications: In addition to pain relievers, you may also be given antibiotics to treat any infection. Fill any prescriptions immediately after the procedure and take as directed. Most soreness subsides within a week and can be easily managed with mild pain relievers. However, the level of discomfort will depend on your pain tolerance.
- Brush Your Teeth: It’s important to maintain oral hygiene as normal to prevent infection from developing. When brushing the tooth that received root canal therapy, use gentle techniques so as not to disrupt the crown.
- Avoid Biting Down On Your Tooth: In order to give the tooth time to recover, be sure to avoid chewing directly on the tooth for the first week or as directed by the doctor. This is especially necessary if your tooth only has a temporary crown placed over it. When pressure is applied too soon, it could fracture the tooth and cause complications that may require retreatment.
- Avoid Certain Foods: As the tooth heals, avoid eating hard, sticky, and chewy foods until cleared by the doctor. You may find that pureeing your foods or drinking protein shakes for the first few days will result in optimal comfort.
- Attend Follow-up Appointments: Attending your follow-up appointments allows the doctor to monitor you for any signs of infection. If a dental crown is not placed the same day as your root canal, this will be applied during a follow-up appointment within one to two weeks. It is imperative that the crown is applied as soon as possible so your tooth remains healthy and intact.
To learn more about root canal therapy and what is involved during the procedure and aftercare process, please contact our office today by filling out our online form or calling 615-490-0597. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.