What is a root canal treatment?
Although many people dread getting them, root canals get an especially bad wrap. With the right dentist, root canal treatments are rather simple, effective, and quick. Root canals are critical procedures, without which dental health may be significantly compromised. Root canal treatments not only restore people’s smiles, but they help protect their teeth and restore their bite and the ability to chew in order to carry on with regular daily life.
When a tooth becomes damaged, cracked, or broken, bacteria often enters the site and permeates into the area beneath the tooth, called the pulp. This leads to infection and root canals are usually the method of treatment. In a root canal treatment, your dentist will remove the infected pulp beneath the tooth and effectively clean the tooth to avoid further infection. Then the tooth is usually filled with a rubber material that allows for adequate flexibility when biting down. The treatment is often completed by applying a crown atop the tooth to prevent infection and restore the patient’s bite.
What to expect after a root canal
The after-care process once you’ve had a root canal is especially important; depending on how well the area is cared for, an infection can re-occur. This makes treatment lengthier, more difficult, and repetitive for patients, and can lead to complications, so it’s best to follow after-care instructions diligently. After a root canal, it is normal for the area to be numb from local anesthetic. Once the anesthetic wears off, you’ll feel tenderness around the treated area—this is normal. It’s important to monitor your pain and any changes in your recovery, as you may need to contact your dentist with any concerns. The pain or tenderness usually subsides after a few days and can be effectively regulated with over-the-counter pain medicines.
What you should not do after a root canal treatment
It’s important to avoid certain foods or activities after your root canal treatment, as it can lead to complications and compromise the treatment. Here is a non-comprehensive list of some things you should avoid after your root canal procedure:
- Eat hard, brittle, or crunchy foods
- Chew directly on the treated area
- Eat chewy foods like gum or certain candies
- Drink alcohol
- Consume especially hot foods or drinks
- Consume spicy foods
It is imperative to avoid further infection after the root canal procedure; by avoiding these things, you can have a better chance at a successful treatment.
What you should do after the procedure
Just as important as what you should avoid after your root canal treatment are the things you should be sure to do after the procedure. This can ensure a healthy recovery and a long-lasting treatment solution. Although root canals aren’t as difficult or painful as they were in the past due to new technological advances, no patient wants to repeat the treatment if at all possible. Here are a few things you should be sure to do after your root canal:
- Continue to brush and floss regularly
- Eat soft foods like yogurts, warm soups, oatmeal, and most fruits
- Monitor the area for swelling or abnormal pain
- Contact your doctor with any after-care questions or concerns
Signs that indicate you should call your dentist
As you monitor the treated area, it is important to stick to your after-care routine. However, if you begin noticing any of the following symptoms, it’s important to get in touch with your dentist right away:
- Serious pain several days after the treatment
- Discomfort and other symptoms that were present prior to the procedure
- The temporary fitting comes loose or falls out
- You aren’t getting used to your bite
- Noticeable swelling
How to get the best care possible
A successful root canal treatment begins with finding the right dentist office to handle your dental health care. Here at the Dental Group of Simi Valley, we have remained a family-owned business since the early 1960s; we value and prioritize family healthcare, which begins with friendly, attentive, and effective treatment. Serving the residents and families of Simi Valley, CA for over 5 decades, root canal treatments are a common procedure in our practice, and we have a seamless protocol for carrying out the treatment. If you’d like to learn more about our family dental practice, please contact us to schedule an appointment.