Having a root canal performed is one way to care for a diseased tooth. Though the name of the procedure may sound scary, it's a routine option that dentists and endodontists use, and with the right after care, you can once again enjoy a normal life with your teeth. It is important to know how to care for your mouth, as well as yourself, in the days after your procedure. Here are some things you may want to consider:
Plan For Rest
After the procedure, you may feel groggy or sleepy, particularly if the dentist used sedation methods to help minimize pain. Have someone ready to drive you home after your root canal, and plan on taking the rest of the day to relax. Don't operate heavy machinery or drive, especially if you've been prescribed a narcotic to control any pain or tenderness. Use pillows to elevate your head as you sleep, and consider placing a towel over your pillows before you rest your head. The towel will help to prevent any drooling on the pillows that may occur when your mouth is still numb from the local anesthetic.
Follow Instructions For Diet
Your dentist will likely provide you with a list of foods you can eat in the days after your root canal. Typically, this might include soft foods, such as applesauce or yogurt, along with plenty of water. Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the root canal was performed, and avoid chewy or hard foods that might damage a temporary crown your dentist might have put in place. It's also a good idea to wait until after any local anesthetic has worn off before eating, as this can help prevent you from biting your cheek or tongue accidentally.
Schedule A Follow-Up Appointment
A follow-up appointment will help the dentist to determine the success of the root canal. He or she will look for signs of swelling in case there is a problem, and your dentist may also put a permanent crown in place at this appointment. Be sure to tell your dentist about any pain or discomfort you've had since the root canal was performed, and don't hesitate to contact your dentist before your follow-up appointment if you have any serious symptoms, such as severe pain, swelling, or bleeding.
It's a good idea to talk to your dentist about after-care instructions before you have your root canal performed. It may be difficult for you to understand fully after having the root canal performed. You can also have someone accompany you to the appointment to help ensure you fully understand the aftercare instructions before you head home.