When you have a tooth that has nerve damage due to an infection or decay, the solution to saving that tooth may lie in a root canal treatment. By keeping your natural tooth, you can avoid the need for an artificial tooth, keep the alignment of your teeth, and prevent issues with your jaw. To maintain proper functioning, your tooth does not necessarily need it’s nerve, so the removal through a root canal will not cause any significant damage or loss of functionality.

The procedure of a root canal can be done in one or several visits to your dentist. First, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the infected area. Next, a rubber dam may be place surrounding the area so that bacteria is kept away. Then, a hole will be made in the tooth to access the root canal. Once the damaged area can be reached, the pulp (nerve) will be cleared out by your dentist and the canal will be thoroughly cleaned. The canal will then be filled and sealed and the opening created to reach the root canal will be covered with a filling.

After your root canal procedure, you must be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions. Proper care is mandatory to maintain a healthy mouth.

The following are 6 tips to follow after root canal treatment:

1. Take your prescriptions as directed

You already know how painful it is for your tooth to be infected. Therefore, it is necessary to take any prescribed antibiotics as directed in order to prevent any further or additional infection.

2. Pay attention to your pain levels

The discomfort you feel after a root canal treatment can typically be treated with over-the-counter medications like Advil or Aleve. However, keep in mind that most people only experience pain for a short amount of time. So, if you have a prolonged period of pain, contact your dentist immediately.

3. Keep the area clean

Make sure that you keep the tooth and gums where your root canal occurred very clean. You can do so by continue to brush and floss regularly and gently rinsing your mouth.

4. Be careful to not put pressure on your infected tooth

Your tooth will be very tender so be sure to not put too much pressure on it through grinding or clenching your jaw. You may want to invest in a night guard to keep your teeth apart. In addition, try not to chew on the side of your mouth where you had your root canal.

5. Avoid certain foods

Any food that is hard, chewy, or crunchy should be avoided right after you have a root canal. In addition, your tooth may be temporarily sensitive to very hot or very cold foods as it heals, so mild or room-temperature foods like soft sandwiches are best.

6. Consider getting a crown for your tooth

The tooth in which you had your root canal will remain more intact if a crown is placed upon it. A crown can also prevent further complications and promote more functionality.

If you should have any further questions or concerns after your root canal, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. Rest assured that while you may experience some initial pain and discomfort after a root canal procedure, this usually subsides within a few days. As long as you follow the above tips and the instructions from your dentist, you will be back to normal in no time!

For more information on your recovery from a root canal treatment, talk to your Doctor at York Hill Endodontics. We’ll walk you through the procedure so that you will know what to expect, and make sure that your experience after the treatment is the best it could be.

Article originally appeared at: https://www.centenarydental.com