Root canals are among the most common endodontic procedures performed in dentist offices across the country today. Typically, a root canal is required when tooth decay has reached the point that it has affected the pulp of the tooth. During a root canal, the pulp of the tooth is completely removed and filled with a composite material to stop the decay and, eventually, relieve pain. Following a root canal procedure, however, there are some tips that all patients need to keep in mind for a speedy recovery.
Chew Carefully Until Numbness Wears Off
The affected side of your mouth will be completely numbed before your root canal procedure begins. Often times, numbness can last for several hours after your root canal appointment, so you'll need to be very careful not to chew on that side of your mouth until the numbness is gone. Believe it or not, some root canal patients don't heed this advice and end up biting off a portion of their cheek, tongue, or lip as a result.
Sleep With Your Head Elevated
Swelling is common after a root canal procedure but should go down within a couple of days after the procedure. In the meantime, however, it's recommended that root canal patients sleep with their heads slightly elevated (using an extra pillow is a great way to do this). By elevating the head, better circulation is promoted and, as a result, swelling can subside more quickly. Just make sure that you're careful about this if you have any neck or back problems, or physical limitations that would make sleeping with your head elevated uncomfortable.
Avoid Smoking and Strenuous Activity
Finally, if you're a smoker, do your best to refrain from smoking immediately after your root canal procedure. Smoking before your body has had a chance to heal will greatly increase your chances of developing an infection in the affected tooth. Furthermore, you can reduce the chances of pain, increased swelling, and further complications with your root canal by avoiding strenuous activity in the first few days following your root canal procedure.
Overall, a root canal is a relatively common and routine endodontic procedure, but this doesn't negate the importance of taking the necessary follow-up care steps. By keeping these post-op care tips in mind and following them as they apply to you, you can reduce your chances of complications and speed up the healing process as well.
I grew up in a home with parents who did not insist on good dental hygiene. By the time I was old enough to know better, some damage had already been done. I had many cavities, crooked teeth, and some discoloration on my teeth. I knew it would not be easy to take my smile from where it was to where it is today, but I was determined to finally have nice teeth. I visited a dentist who was very nice and never judged me. We made a dental plan together. Spreading the procedures out over time made it much easier to afford them. I now have almost perfect teeth after all that hard work! I created this blog to help others who have dental problems that stem from bad childhood habits know there is hope! It is never too late to start seeing the dentist!