A root canal is a fairly common dental procedure. When a tooth is infected or at risk for infection, a root canal can often save it so that it can remain in place in your mouth, probably for the rest of your life.
If you have an upcoming root canal procedure, you may be wondering what your recovery will be like. Here’s what to expect after a root canal.
What is a Root Canal?
A root canal is a dental procedure named for the part of the tooth it is performed on. On the inside of every tooth is a chamber filled with blood vessels, nerves, and soft tissue called dental pulp. If bacteria enters the root canal through a deep cavity or a crack in a tooth, the pulp can become infected, often resulting in a toothache.
To treat an infected tooth, or sometimes to prevent an infection, a root canal procedure is done to remove the pulp and fill the tooth with a replacement material that is resistant to infection. When a root canal is successful, the tooth can stay in the socket with the natural root in place to support it.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Root Canal?
A root canal is a relatively simple procedure that doesn’t typically result in much discomfort. It can be performed with local anesthesia in most cases, with additional sedation if appropriate. Some discomfort may occur after a root canal once the local anesthesia wears off. It is usually manageable with over the counter pain medication if you need it. The area of your mouth where the tooth is located may be sore for a few days at the most. If you experience ongoing pain or develop a fever, contact your dentist.
What Can I Eat After a Root Canal?
It is usually a good idea to stick to a soft food diet for the first 24-48 hours after a root canal. This is because you may feel some discomfort if you chew food on the affected side of your mouth.
If you experience mild discomfort, food suggestions include:
- Vegetables cooked soft
- Soft fruits
- Soft bread
- Chunky soup
If you experience moderate discomfort, a softer diet may be better, such as:
- Protein drinks
- Smooth yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Mashed potatoes
- Soup without chunks
Will I Need a Crown After a Root Canal?
It is common for the tooth to be fitted with a crown after a root canal. This protects the remaining tooth material and root from future infection. In many cases there is significant damage to the natural tooth enamel that is the cause of the infection, which is another reason that the tooth may need a crown. A cracked tooth will definitely need a crown to prevent the crack from worsening.
How Long Will My Tooth Last After a Root Canal?
In many cases a tooth that has received a root canal will last for the rest of your life. Good oral hygiene and regular dental appointments will help to ensure that it lasts. In rare cases a tooth will need a repeat root canal due to a new infection or a complex root structure. A tooth that receives a crown after a root canal is more likely to last longer.
Need a Root Canal? Schedule Today
If you have a toothache or a cracked tooth, you most likely need a root canal. Glassman Dental Care provides prompt root canal treatment for the best chance of saving your tooth. Call 212-787-4860 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.