A Root Canal is a high-level dental procedure undertaken to save a tooth that has experienced significant decay. In this procedure, the pulp and nerve of the tooth are removed which stops the decay from destroying the tooth from the inside out. This is usually done because a cavity has reached into the center of the tooth.
A root canal is required to save the tooth, which is then covered using a permanent crown. This procedure requires aftercare instructions and cannot be done all at once. This requires the use of a temporary filling or crown which must be protected.
I Had a Root Canal, Now What?
The root canal process is typically done in two visits, though it can sometimes require more. Once the nerve and pulp are taken out and the cavity removed, the tooth and surrounding gum tissue are given time to recover. Additionally, a permanent crown is required over the tooth in question. This usually requires a lab create the crown using the mold of your mouth. This process can take a few days.
In order to not leave a tooth exposed, your dentist will cover it with a temporary crown or filling. Due to it’s temporary nature, this crown is weak and easily removed. Therefore, it is important to follow aftercare instructions very carefully at this time. Losing the temporary or damaging it can cause you pain and damage the area further, increasing recovery time.
This is typically when patients are required to eat soft foods, brush differently and take medication. Some patients get by with over the counter analgesics to reduce pain. Others are given prescription painkillers. This will be determined by you and your dentist together. They will also walk you through how to brush around the affected tooth and how to floss the area.
The Permanent Crown
Once your dentist has determined that the area has healed sufficiently and your crown has come in, they will install the permanent crown. This will act as your permanent tooth moving forward and will eventually become indistinguishable from your natural teeth.
However, this does not mean that the aftercare stops. When the permanent crown is installed, the mouth is still a little sensitive and needs to be given time to adjust. Your dentist may still require you to eat a specific diet, take painkillers or perform oral hygiene in a different manner during this adjustment period.
The Root Canal Diet
You would be surprised how many people just want to keep eating like nothing has changed when their teeth are damaged. If you’ve just had a root canal, there are a number of foods you must avoid entirely, along with a strong encouragement that you eat a certain way for a few days.
The obvious culprits are hard foods such as candy, nuts, and raw vegetables. However, there are other dangerous foods that must be avoided around the root canal, both before and after the permanent crown:
- Peanut Butter or other sticky foods
- Chewy meat
- Spicy food
- Extremely hot or cold food
- Raw veggies
Both to protect the site of the canal, as well as the health of the temporary crown, these diets must be closely followed. Your dentist will give you the details but this diet is pretty typical for a few days. This only changes when we get to…
The Recovery Period
Most people experience similar sensations before, during and after a root canal. The average recovery is about a week after the permanent crown is installed before everything returns to normal. This also means that patients must follow the root canal diet for the same time frame.
Unfortunately, there are edge cases where people experience longer symptoms or uncommon side effects. If you experience any of the following after a root canal, you must contact your dentist immediately:
- Allergic reaction to any medicine
- Excessive bleeding
- Extreme pain even with medicine
- Symptoms of infection such as fever, heavy sweating or a discharge from the site
If you are in need of a root canal or just want to find out more about the procedure, contact us today at Hassey Dental. Our experienced dentists and endodontists can give you all the care and support you need while working through this procedure.