In most cases, a tooth that has suffered from decay can be effectively treated with a dental filling. However, if that infection has advanced and nerve damage has occurred, the solution then becomes a root canal treatment. Although it might sound intimidating, the goal of a root canal is to remove the decay and save the tooth, avoiding the need to extract it.
The procedure for a root canal involves surgery, so aftercare is especially important to ensure that an infection does not occur and the health of the mouth is maintained. In addition to the instructions provided by the dentist after the treatment, here are six tips to follow.
One important step to preventing infection following the procedure is to take any antibiotics that are prescribed. Any further infection will be more difficult to treat.
It’s normal to feel some discomfort after a root canal treatment, but this can usually be treated with over-the-counter medications like Advil or Aleve. This discomfort should only last for a short period of time, so if it is prolonged, contact the dentist as soon as possible.
Extra care should be taken to keep the tooth and surrounding gums clean after the root canal. This is done with regular brushing and flossing as well as a gentle rinse.
The tooth will be very tender in the days after the procedure, so be careful not to put too much pressure on it through grinding or clenching the jaw. A night guard can help with keeping the teeth apart. Additionally, avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the root canal was done.
Foods that are hard, chewy, or crunchy should be avoided. The tooth may also be sensitive to very hot or very cold foods, so mild to room-temperature foods are recommended.
The treated tooth can be strengthened using a crown. This dental prosthetic also prevents further complications and provides more functionality.