If you are scheduled for a root canal, you'll want to do everything you can to avoid complications so you can have a speedy recovery. There are risks involved that could lead to the need for retreatment, an apicoectomy, or a tooth extraction. As many as 18% of teeth need to be extracted at some point after a root canal. Here are several tips to help you during the recovery process and to decrease your risks of needing further treatment.
Take Antibiotics As Directed
You will likely be given antibiotics to reduce the infection and keep it from returning. It's important to take antibiotics as directed, even after you start feeling better. If you don't your body could build up a resistance to the antibiotic, and this may reduce the effectiveness or make the antibiotic ineffective altogether. Some antibiotics are to be taken on a full stomach and others on an empty stomach. Ask your pharmacist if the prescription bottle does not specifically say how to take it.
Be Careful With Narcotics
You may be given narcotics for pain management. Of course, you will want to take the pain medication to relieve pain, but only take the dosages as prescribed. If the pain medication does not seem to work, call your dentist before taking an additional dose. It's important to understand that if you cannot feel any pain at all during the healing process, you may not be as careful while eating or talking. You could accidentally irritate or injure the tooth or soft tissues.
Wear Button-Up Shirts
Your jaw may be sensitive and painful the first few days after your root canal. Wear button-up shirts so you don't have to pull clothing over your head as this could irritate the tender area of your root canal. A sudden jerking motion from forcing a shirt on or off your head could cause the wound in your gums to open up even if just slightly. This, in turn, could cause food particles, germs and bacteria to get into the tissues and irritate the root.
Eat with Care
With the reduction in sensitivity in your mouth, you may end up biting your tongue or cheek if you try to eat too soon after the root canal. Wait until the numbness wears off before you eat. Do not chew food with that side of your mouth until the tooth has been restored permanently. Doing so could cause the temporary material to wear thin or come out. If either should happen, you'll need an emergency appointment with your dentist or endodontist to repair it. Also, avoid chewy and crunchy foods until you are given the go-ahead by your dental professional.
Take Care of Your Teeth
You'll still need to take care of your teeth and gums while you are recovering, even though the thought of doing so may send shivers up and down your spine. Do not attempt to brush or floss in the area of your root canal. But, do your best to clean the other teeth and gums without disrupting the wound.
Heed the Warning Signs
You will receive a list of warning signs to look for while you recover. This list typically includes things like high fever, bleeding and swelling. Some discomfort and pain is to be expected. Contact your dentist or endodontist as soon as you recognize the warning signs given on your post-treatment care plan. Getting immediate dental care is important because it could mean the difference between saving your tooth or having it extracted.
A root canal is often necessary when an infection has set into the pulp in the root of a tooth. After a root canal, it's important to be extremely careful during the healing process to reduce the risks of needing additional treatment. Get more info on dental procedures by following this link.