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What to Eat After a Root Canal & Other Aftercare Tips

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Dental cleanings, brushing, and flossing can help you maintain good oral health. However, sometimes, you may need a root canal to save a damaged or infected tooth. 

Caring for your teeth after a root canal is important to avoid discomfort. And since your tooth may be tender for the first week or 2, eating soft foods can prevent irritation and aid recovery. 

Root canals are effective and safe treatments. However, you should always follow your dentist’s instructions following a root canal. 

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that treats a tooth that is damaged or has infected pulp, which is the innermost part of the tooth. Your tooth can become infected due to deep cavities, repeated dental procedures on the same tooth, a crack, or flawed fillings.

A root canal procedure can save an infected tooth from being extracted. Saving and restoring the tooth helps maintain the health of other teeth by preventing them from drifting.

If left untreated, an abscessed tooth can cause serious oral health problems. Anyone experiencing severe tooth pain or swelling near a tooth may be a candidate for a root canal. If you are experiencing persistent dental discomfort, consult your dentist to determine if a root canal is the appropriate course of action.

The Root Canal Procedure

During a root canal procedure, your dentist removes the infected pulp, cleans the inside of the tooth, and seals it to prevent further infection.

A root canal procedure typically involves:

  • Diagnosis: Your dentist will conduct a thorough examination before the procedure, which may include X-rays, to determine the extent of the damage or infection.
  • Anesthesia: To maintain your comfort during the procedure, your dentist will typically administer local anesthesia to numb the affected tooth and surrounding area.
  • Access opening: Your dentist will create a small opening in the tooth to access the root canal system and the damaged pulp.
  • Cleaning: Once there’s an opening, your dentist will remove the infected or damaged pulp and clean the interior of the tooth.
  • Sealing: After cleaning, the tooth canal is sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha to prevent further infection. The opening is then filled with a temporary or permanent filling. 
  • Restoration: In many cases, a tooth that has undergone a root canal may require a crown to restore its strength and functionality. 

Recommended Aftercare for Root Canals

The success of a root canal greatly depends on the aftercare measures taken. Here are some tips for a smooth recovery and to prevent problems:

  • Follow your dentist’s instructions closely. Your dentist will provide specific aftercare instructions tailored to your situation. Adhering to these guidelines is crucial for a successful recovery.
  • Manage your pain and swelling. You may experience some discomfort after a root canal. Over-the-counter pain relievers can help reduce your pain. 
  • Rinse with saltwater. Try rinsing your mouth with lukewarm salt water to improve minor discomfort.
  • Continue practicing good oral hygiene. After a root canal, it’s okay to continue your regular oral hygiene routine, such as brushing and flossing, but be gentle and careful around the treated area. 
  • Avoid certain foods and habits. Refrain from chewing on the side of the mouth where the root canal procedure was performed, and avoid very hot or cold foods and beverages. 
A plate of scrambled eggs sitting on a cloth napkin on a table. Soft foods like scrambled eggs are a safe option after a dental procedure like a root canal

What to Eat After a Root Canal?

You should avoid eating immediately after a root canal until the numbing has worn off to prevent biting an area with no sensation. Once you can feel your mouth again, choose foods that won’t put too much pressure on the treated tooth.

Consider the following soft food options that require minimal chewing:

  • Scrambled eggs, yogurt, or smoothies
  • Mashed potatoes, meatloaf, lentils, or shredded meats 
  • Ripe, canned, or cooked fruit as a snack 
  • Soft cheeses, apple sauce, or peanut butter
  • Pasta, noodles, quinoa, or couscous 
  • Cooked vegetables 
  • Warm soup
  • Soft bread 
  • Frozen yogurt or sorbet

Foods to Avoid After a Root Canal

While soft foods are the way to go after a root canal, there are also foods you should avoid. Here are some foods to avoid post-root canal:

  • Sticky foods like taffy and gum can damage a temporary crown
  • Very hot or cold food and drinks can irritate or cause pain in sensitive areas
  • Hard items like candy, peanut brittle, and ice cubes can chip your tooth

Restore Your Tooth with Root Canal

A root canal may sound intimidating. But with proper aftercare, following your dentist’s instructions, eating soft food, and avoiding certain foods, you can experience a comfortable recovery while protecting your newly treated tooth. 

If you suspect you need a root canal or experience pain or discomfort, book an appointment with West 85th Dental to determine the right course of action. 


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