Congratulations! Your root canal therapy is complete and the pain from the infection should be diminished, if not fully resolved. But now begins the crucial period in your recovery, dedicated to protecting the treated tooth from damage and reinfection. It is important that you adhere to your provider’s aftercare instructions, as well as the general guidelines we’ve outlined below.
WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER YOUR ROOT CANAL THERAPY
What you shouldn’t do following root canal therapy is just as important as what you should do to promote a healthy recovery. Damaging your newly treated tooth would require additional dental work, and depending on the loss of dentin structure, could even require a post implant to help maintain the restoration.* To protect your tooth and prevent the need for retreatment, here’s what not to do until your tooth has recovered:
- Don’t chew on the treated side of your mouth.** There's no need to panic if you accidentally chew with the affected tooth, but keep stress on the tooth at a minimum as trauma (before or after a crown is placed) could cause the tooth to fracture.***
- Abstain from eating anything hard, sticky or chewy. Instead, opt for soft foods, such as soups, yogurts, fruit milkshakes and mashed potatoes.†
- Don’t stop brushing and flossing around the treated tooth. Maintaining good oral hygiene is always essential! However, be gentle by lightly brushing and carefully flossing the treated area.††
- Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol. Smoking and alcohol can interfere with the healing process,† thereby lengthening the recovery time.
WHAT TO DO TO PROMOTE HEALING AND HELP PREVENT COMPLICATIONS
Taking measures to stimulate healing can improve your recovery and decrease your chances of a reinfection of your root canal system. We recommend the following:
- Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. Salt inhibits dental bacteria and promotes healing, so rinsing a half-teaspoon of salt mixed in one cup of warm water is ideal 24 hours after a dental procedure, as well as after every meal and snack.† To make the salt water rinse, add ½ teaspoon of salt to one cup of warm water.†††
- Taking medications as prescribed. If your provider prescribes an antibiotic for you, finish the course as directed to avoid infection in the treatment site.†
- Attending follow-up appointments as directed. After your procedure, you will need to return to your provider for at least one follow-up appointment, either for a check-up or to have a crown placed.‡ This is also when you can address any concerns about your progress.
ROOT CANAL SIDE EFFECTS
While there typically aren’t any root canal side effects per se, there are some signs and symptoms to look for that could be indicative of a post-procedure infection. Standard root canal treatment can leave behind infected tissue,2 so if you’re experiencing lasting discomfort, it’s possible that bacteria wasn’t completely removed from the canals and retreatment may be required.‡‡ In some cases of standard root canal treatment failure, the endodontist may later discover additional, very narrow or curved canals that were left untreated during the initial treatment,‡‡‡ which led to reinfection.
The GentleWave® Procedure is a minimally invasive1 alternative to standard root canal therapy. By reaching into the deepest, most complex portions of the root canal system1,2 that standard root canal treatment often cannot,3 the GentleWave Procedure helps decrease the chance of failure over time.4 The GentleWave Procedure additionally uses a conservative method for accessing the root canal system, helping to preserve dentin4 and keep the tooth structure strong.
LOCATE A GENTLEWAVE® PROVIDER TODAY
Discover the GentleWave Procedure, the minimally invasive1 alternative to standard root canal therapy. Find your nearest GentleWave Provider today!