Your root canal procedure doesn't end once the endodontist fills the tooth. You will need to take care so you don't get an infection. Fortunately, aftercare for a root canal is not difficult, although it is important and affects how your tooth heals. If you want to know more about what to do after a root canal, keep reading.

Don't Eat Right Away

You will likely still be under the effects of the anesthesia your endodontist used for your procedure. The anesthesia numbs your mouth muscles and makes eating and drinking difficult. Plus, you won't be able to tell if your food is too hot or too cold. Try to wait until you regain feeling in your mouth before you eat. Of course, you can still drink room-temperature water if you can keep it from dribbling.

Take Over-the-Counter Pain Killers

Your endodontist may prescribe painkillers if they think you need them. However, many people do OK with their usual over-the-counter medications. Your dentist or endodontist may recommend a specific type or dosage to help you through the pain.

Rinse Your Teeth

Saline rinses with tepid water are usually safe for post-root canal aftercare. Your dentist or endodontist may advise against regular alcohol-based mouthwash for a while. They may instead suggest an antiseptic mouthwash you can use until your tooth heals.

Brush and Floss as Normal

You can keep up with your normal hygiene routine as soon as the anesthesia wears off. You might want to change to a fresh toothbrush or toothbrush head, preferably a soft one. Be gentle with flossing until you heal.

Avoid Smoking or Drinking Alcohol

Smoking and drinking can slow down the healing process and irritate the gums. They can also have a negative effect on any medications you take.

Inform Your Dentist of Problems

If you notice anything unusual, contact your dentist right away. Examples of problems include a loose filling or crown, uneven bite, or increased swelling in the affected area. Also, contact your dentist if the pain does not begin to subside or gets worse after a few days.

Keep Your Follow-Up Appointments

Finally, keep any follow-up appointments even if you feel fine. The follow-up will check the success of the root canal and ensure your tooth is healthy. Your dentist or endodontist will ensure you have healed and possibly correct any problems.

Root canals are an effective way to treat and save an infected tooth. Most people get through them with minimal problems. One way to prevent them is with regular dental care and checkups. Practice good dental hygiene and see your dentist if you suspect any problems. Schedule an appointment for a checkup if you haven't seen a dentist for some time.