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Root Canal Aftercare Tips

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a common dental procedure to remove infected or damaged tissue inside the tooth. Root canal procedures are performed by a dentist or endodontist, and is often necessary to save an infected or decayed tooth. It's important to properly care for the tooth post-procedure in order to promote healing and prevent complications. In this guide, we will discuss essential tips on root canal aftercare.

Root canal aftercare tips

Types of Root Canals

There are several types of root canals, which may be classified based on the number of roots and canals in the tooth being treated.

  • Single-rooted tooth: This type of root canal involves a tooth with a single root and a single canal, such as an incisor or canine tooth.
  • Multi-rooted tooth: This type of root canal involves a tooth with multiple roots and canals, such as a premolar or molar tooth.
  • Unusual anatomy: Some teeth may have unusual anatomy, such as extra canals or unusual shapes, which may require more complex root canal treatment.
  • Retreatment: This type of root canal involves redoing a root canal treatment that was previously performed on a tooth but was not successful in eliminating the infection or damage.
  • Apicoectomy: This type of root canal involves removing the end of the root (the apex) and sealing it to prevent further infection or damage. It is typically used when a root canal treatment has failed or if there is infection or damage at the root apex.

Why is Root Canal Aftercare Important?

Adhering to the proper aftercare steps after a root canal procedure is important to prevent complications and promote the healing process. From the basics of good oral hygiene to specific instructions like avoiding drinking fluids out of a straw, taking all the necessary steps after treatment will reduce the risk of infection and further dental problems.

6 Must-Know Tips on Root Canal Aftercare

See 6 must-know aftercare tips after having a root canal performed. These tips will help you manage pain and discomfort while ensuring your tooth heals properly, and help you avoid complications. If you have questions or concerns about your root canal aftercare, don't hesitate to contact your dentist for advice.

1. Follow Instructions from Your Dentist

Your dentist will provide you with specific instructions for successfully caring for your tooth after the root canal. This may include taking prescribed medications, avoiding certain foods and activities, and practicing proper hygiene. Attend any follow-up appointments when requested.

2. Practice Good Oral Hygiene

Good oral hygiene starts with brushing your teeth at least twice daily with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. It's also essential to floss gently around the tooth, being careful not to irritate the area where the root canal was performed. Avoid using commercial mouthwashes or rinsing your mouth with hydrogen peroxide, as these can irritate the tooth and slow the healing process.

3. Avoid Certain Foods and Activities

In the first few days after the procedure, it's important to avoid eating hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that could cause trauma to the tooth. You should also avoid using tobacco products, as they can cause the tooth to become dry and increase the risk of infection. Additionally, avoid activities that could cause trauma to the tooth, such as chewing on hard objects or playing contact sports.

4. Control Pain and Discomfort

To control pain, you can take over-the-counter pain medication as directed by your dentist. Avoid taking aspirin, as it can increase the risk of bleeding. You may also experience some discomfort when biting down on the tooth, but this should improve over time as the tooth heals. If the pain or discomfort persists, contact your dentist for further evaluation.

5. Reduce the Risk of Infection

To reduce the risk of infection besides practicing good oral hygiene, you should avoid strenuous activities. Contact your dentist if you notice redness, swelling, or discomfort around the tooth, as these could be signs of infection.

6. Care for the Temporary Crown (if applied)

In some cases, a temporary filling or crown may be placed on the tooth after the root canal procedure. It's important to take care of this temporary restoration, as it protects the tooth and prevents infection. Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the temporary filling or crown is located. If the temporary filling or crown becomes loose or falls out, don’t delay to contact your dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions on Root Canal Aftercare

How long does it take to recover from a root canal?

Most people recover from a root canal within a few days. You may experience minor pain during this time, slowly tapering off as the treatment site begins healing. Be sure to take any prescribed medication and practice the basics of oral hygiene during this time.

What are the do's and don'ts after root canal treatment?


  • Take prescribed medications as directed
  • Follow a soft food diet
  • Practice good oral hygiene
  • Contact your dentist if concerns or severe pain arise


  • Eat hard, crunchy, or chewy foods
  • Drink through a straw
  • Smoke or use tobacco products
  • Touch or manipulate the treated area

How long should I wait after a root canal to eat?

Wait 2-4 hours to eat after a root canal. This is due to the anesthetic from the procedure needing to wear off so you avoid biting your inner cheek or tongue.

Do you need bed rest after a root canal?

While it may be a good idea to get bed rest after a root canal, it is generally not required. You may experience discomfort after the procedure, where taking it easy for a day or two with extended bed rest may help the healing process.

How soon after a root canal should you get a crown?

You should get a crown over the tooth that received the root canal within 30 days. A tooth post root canal may be able to have a crown inserted as soon as right away but the exact timeline will ultimately depend on the dentist.

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