A root canal may be the most misunderstood dental procedure: despite the fact that over 15 million are performed each year, just hearing the phrase makes some patients nervous. But root canal treatment is often compared to having a routine filling done, except that it takes longer and requires removal of more tooth structure and tissue.
There are also a few steps you can take to help your root canal recovery go as smoothly as possible. If you have a root canal appointment scheduled, follow these seven tips for a quicker recovery.
1. Try to Get Some Rest
Although it may be challenging if you're pain before the procedure, try to get some sleep if you can the night before your appointment. It will boost your immune system and help your body fight off any infection faster.
If sleeping has proved impossible, make sure you get plenty of rest after your root canal. Take a personal day or two so you can catch up on missed sleep and allow your body to heal without any added stress. Try to have family members give you a quiet space so you can relax and focus on feeling better.
Sleep or nap with an additional pillow under your head to help keep it elevated. This can help avoid putting added pressure on your mouth, which may still be swollen for a day or two after root canal treatment.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
Getting nutrients into your body before and after a root canal is essential to help speed up the healing process. Even if you don't feel like eating because of an infection, try to eat a healthy meal so your blood sugar will at least be regulated before the procedure.
It's also a good idea to stock up on soft and liquid foods before your appointment that will make eating more comfortable during your recovery. Soups, protein drinks, smoothies, scrambled eggs, pureed fruits and vegetables, and yogurt are all good choices while your mouth heals. You may want to wait until the numbness from the anesthetic completely wears off before attempting to eat so you don't accidentally bite your tongue or the inside of your cheek.
Take care when chewing more solid foods after your root canal. You may be advised to chew on the opposite side of your mouth so you don't put any pressure on the tooth that received the treatment.
3. Refrain From Smoking and Alcohol
Avoid smoking or using any nicotine products in the days leading up to your appointment and following the treatment. Smoking and nicotine products can affect your circulation, making it harder for your mouth to heal after a root canal. Proper blood flow is important to help your body bounce back, especially if you had an infection.
Quitting cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other nicotine-based products will also cut your risk of developing oral cancer.
Although many people have a drink to help them deal with pain, drinking alcohol can irritate your mouth tissues and make it harder for the swelling to go away. It's best to drink plain water during your recovery to help you stay hydrated.
4. Take Pain Medicine and Prescriptions as Directed
Taking an over-the-counter painkiller can help ease any lingering discomfort after a root canal. An ibuprofen-based pain reliever can help reduce swelling and inflammation.
Your dentist or endodontist may also prescribe you pain medicine as well as an antibiotic to help fight the infection. Be sure to take any prescribed medicines as directed. You may be required to take the antibiotic with food to help avoid a queasy stomach.
5. Use a Cold Compress
A cold compress or a bag of ice or frozen peas wrapped in a towel can help relieve swelling and pain when pressed against your mouth. Use it for 10-15 minutes at a time. You may also find that eating cold foods such as ice cream helps the sore area feel better.
At the same time, you may want to steer clear of very hot foods and beverages. Heat causes inflammation, which can keep the swelling active and make it harder for the treated tooth to recover.
Also, any foods that require your mouth to make sucking motions such as lollipops and frozen fruit bars may make it tougher for the area to heal. Refrain from them until the area has completely recovered.
6. Avoid Strenuous Activity
Having a root canal is one good excuse for not visiting the gym for a few days. You should avoid exercise and other strenuous activity until the tooth has healed. While good blood flow is needed for healing, raising your heart rate can increase your blood pressure and inadvertently make the swelling worse.
7. Don't Worry if You Still Have Pain
It takes time for an infection in your mouth to subside, so don't panic if you're still feeling a dull ache in the treated tooth. Discomfort and sensitivity can last for one or two weeks following a root canal. You may also have swelling for a few days until the infection subsides.
Your dentist will schedule a follow-up appointment with you to ensure that everything has healed completely. You should also feel free to reach out to them with any questions or concerns you may about what to expect during the procedure and your recovery.
Follow These Tips for Faster Root Canal Recovery
Keep these tips in mind for a quicker root canal recovery. Your dentist will also send you home with any other special instructions you should follow. Once your root canal is in your rear-view mirror and your tooth has completely healed, you'll be relieved and glad you had it done!
Think you may need a root canal? Contact us for an appointment. We specialize in root canal treatment and sedation dentistry so that every patient feels comfortable during the procedure.
Most people would suggest visiting the dentist every 6 months, except those who are especially at risk, such as pregnant women, diabetics, and those with compromised immune systems. These people should visit more often, if possible.
A lot can happen in six months, though, so we can sometimes get bad news at the dentist's office. Some of us are prone to cavities, others have gum disease, and others may need a root canal.
A root canal is a dental surgery commonly performed to repair and protect a damaged or infected tooth.
It's always best to see a dentist if you think you might need a root canal. However, some symptoms may serve as signs you need a root canal. We'll talk about a few of them in this article.
One of the most common signs of infection in the body is pain, and teeth are no exception. Infections can be especially painful when they happen in our teeth.
Teeth have the unique disadvantage of being exposed to the environment. If the tooth decays enough, it can leave the nerve unprotected, which can be agonizing. There's a reason being extremely irritating is called 'striking a nerve.'
This isn't the case for all nerves, though. Our bodies contain three different types of nerves, each with different purposes. Motor nerves are responsible for helping us move, and the symptoms of motor nerve damage often cause weakness or difficulty functioning in the affected area.
Autonomic nerves deal with basic functions such as feeling pain, keeping our bodies cool, and getting rid of waste. When these nerves are damaged, our ability to perform those functions may suffer. Though autonomic nerves are responsible for certain types of pain, you may lose sensation when they're damaged.
The third type of nerve is a sensory nerve. Sensory nerves are crucial in being able to physically feel things in our skin and other parts of our bodies.
Sensory nerve damage can cause loss of sensation, but can also cause intense pain. These are the nerves that happen to be in our teeth.
Once a tooth is damaged, the blood supply to that tooth can be cut off. Without blood to supply nutrients to the tooth, it may turn yellow, gray, or even black.
During a root canal the dentist will take out the nerves and dead cells to prevent further infection.
Lack of blood, and the oxygen it carries, affects all parts of the body similarly. Individuals whose blood is low in oxygen often have a darker, bluish tint to their skin. This is known as cyanosis.
However, teeth are different in one major way when it comes to their blood supply. If you lose oxygen to another part of your body, such as your arm, you will notice cyanosis very quickly. Meanwhile, a tooth can get damaged and not show discoloration for weeks, or even months.
3. Visible Damage to Tooth
The first sign that you need a root canal may be visible tooth damage. Teeth can get cracked or even lose tiny bits due to damage.
This can happen in a lot of different ways. Some people have sensitive teeth that suffer damage in response to tougher foods, such as ice.
On a related note, if you are craving and eating ice, you should see your doctor. That's often a sign of an iron deficiency. Iron deficiencies aren't serious, but you're still better off treating than ignoring them.
Athletes are also prone to damaged teeth, especially those in contact sports.
4. Swollen Gums and White Spots
You may notice issues with your gums before you see problems with the tooth itself. When a tooth becomes damaged, an infection may occur. However, it may be the gum rather than the tooth that becomes infected.
Infections will often cause swollen gums. They may even turn darker. Both of these are often the result of inflammation. A few spots in the gums may be particularly swollen and jut out a bit further than the others.
If you notice a particularly large, slightly white spot on your gums, make an appointment with your dentist. It might be an abscess. There is an infection in your gums, and you're going to need to see a specialist soon to ensure that it doesn't spread.
Abscesses in gums often start as tooth infections. If they go unnoticed for too long, the infection can spread. This is why abscesses can be one of the biggest signs you need a root canal.
5. Teeth Sensitivity
Do you have sudden sharp pains in your tooth? Do they usually come on after eating something hot or cold? This can be a sign of dental infection, and that you need a root canal.
The most telling factor is how long the pain lasts. Most sensitivity pain goes away quickly, but if the pain lasts a while, you'll want to go to the dentist. The cause is not always an infection, but it usually is a sign of something wrong.
You may be using mouthwash too often, or not taking care of your teeth well enough. Whatever the reason, you're better off knowing.
Signs You Need a Root Canal
There are several different signs you need a root canal. We've talked about many of them in this article, but there are a few others. You may want to do more research if you're interested in dental care.
You could also visit our site, where you'll find tons of information on various aspects of dentistry. If you live in the New Jersey area and need a dentist, feel free to contact us.
Expecting root canal treatment? Think you might need an appointment?
It can be hard to tell without an initial diagnosis, so it's best you visit your dentist's office and find out.
Nonetheless, before you go - it's best to get involved and understand what you can expect from a root canal appointment.
Keep reading to see what's involved from start to finish.
Who Needs Root Canal Treatment?
Each and every tooth has a pulp. The pulp is the live tissue inside of the root, which connects it to the gums and bone. The pulp is filled with nerves, connective tissues, and blood vessels.
Compromises roots & pulp can be caused by:
- Cracked or chipped teeth.
- Excessive dental work to teeth.
- Tooth infection.
A root canal is a type of dental treatment that can be done to help retain your natural teeth while removing damaged or infected tissue.
The "canal" refers to the canal of tissue inside of the tooth that extends from the top to the root itself. A common myth around root canal treatment is that it involves drilling down into the gum or creating a canal in the gums.
Without root canal treatment, an infection can spread over the gum line, and infect other teeth. Teeth will turn black or yellow and can have a tremendous impact on other parts of your body via the bloodstream.
In most cases, you will know when to get diagnosed as you will feel exorbitant pain in your mouth. A root canal can be uncomfortable and go away, but treatment will help remove the side effects of potential infection and more impactful damage.
So let's take a look at what you can expect from a single or dual day appointment for root canal treatment.
The Initial Evaluation
Each and every appointment should begin a thorough examination. The doctor will take your medical history into account, and discuss reasons for referral to the office.
If necessary, a radiograph will be taken, and a medical diagnosis will be rendered. Once the diagnosis has been established, the dentist will review the nature of the issue, and present the options for treatment.
After this, you will be able to ask any questions or discuss concerns about the root canal treatment.
If you have an initial appointment set for evaluation, you will then be scheduled to have another appointment for having the treatment performed.
If the appointment was scheduled for evaluation and treatment, there is the possibility of having both experiences within a single session. Buy only as long as you discuss the treatment, and agree to have it done.
What Occurs During Root Canal Treatment
Depending on your specific scenario, the root canal treatment will differ - but it will surround these procedures in some shape or form.
In preparation for the root canal treatment, local anesthesia will be integrated into the process to numb the area surrounding the tooth. This will help you remain relaxed, and not experience pain during the procedure.
Root canal treatment is practically standard in all dentistry with minor variability. Standard treatment consists of filing the tooth to create access to the cavity, and the files are used to clean the canals of the infected pulp, debris, and bacteria.
However, this type of treatment is difficult and has trouble reaching certain areas. Often leaving infected tissue behind - presenting an opportunity for reinfection.
Some clinics are able to provide alternative treatment, which involves broad-spectrum acoustic energy to clean and disinfect the root canal system. And it is capable of reaching hard to reach areas, providing faster healing and tooth dentin preservation.
Length of Procedure
The length of time it takes to complete the procedure depends on the treatment option, and how many appointments you will have.
A standard root canal treatment takes from one to two appointments, at 90 minutes each.
The acoustic treatment can be completed in a single session, same day.
The procedure does not end when you leave the clinic. Recovery is also part of the process, and your dentist might prescribe pain medication and antibiotics to help manage the issues.
It's also important that as a patient you don't chew on that tooth until tenderness has disappeared. By doing so, you will help prevent the recontamination of the cavity.
What To Do After The Treatment
As mentioned earlier your mouth will still be numb, so make sure not to bite your cheek or tongue. And avoid hot liquids so you don't burn yourself.
The surrounding gum and tooth will remain tender for multiple days, as a result of the treatment, especially if the pain was present before the procedure. Soreness is normal when biting, and is no cause for worry.
The symptoms will alleviate of their own accord over time. The dentist can prescribe pain medication to mediate the troubles.
Once the treatment has been done, you will receive a report which includes pre and post-op x-rays so that you can continue with care in the future.
After the treatment, you will be required to schedule a follow-up appointment to place a permanent restoration on the tooth.
Regular routine check-ups on your teeth are important if you want to keep your general hygiene in check. While making sure that your root canal is fine.
Your Root Canal Appointment Upon Convenience
Now that you know what to expect from your root canal appointment, you can remain worry-free and excited to receive your minimally-invasive treatment.
Root canal treatment is timely, safe, and effective.
If you think you need to have one done, get in touch with us (Empire Dental Group of New Jersey) and we will take a look to determine the treatment options for you.