Root canals and oral surgery can be essential for regaining or improving your oral health. In addition to improving your health, these procedures can free you from constant or intermittent tooth and jaw pain. Despite how scary the procedures themselves may sound, modern anesthesia and improved surgical tools and techniques ensure that you don’t feel any pain during these procedures.
Recovery is an important part of oral surgery.
If you’re going to need a root canal or oral surgery, it’s certainly important to know what to expect during your procedure. It’s equally important, however, to know what to expect from the recovery process. Knowing what to avoid and what good habits you should foster will help you to experience less discomfort and to heal faster. We’ve put together some basic tips that you should follow after a root canal or oral surgery.
Plan to Rest for the Day
Even a relatively simple root canal can zap your energy, so on the day of your procedure, it’s smart to make sure you don’t have to be anywhere for the rest of the day. This is especially true if you’ve had oral surgery and received a sedative rather than localized anesthesia. These medications can make you drowsy for hours after the surgery is over, so make sure someone is available to pick you up, and plan to spend the remainder of your day resting. You may even need to take another day off from work, as being well-rested helps you recover faster.
Manage Your Pain
It’s normal to experience some pain after a root canal or oral surgery, though how much pain you experience will depend upon the procedure you received. You can manage the pain from most procedures with over-the-counter pain medications. Ice is also a great way to help ease discomfort, especially if you have some swelling as a result of oral surgery. Typically, your pain shouldn’t last more than a few days. Unless Dr. Fenn has told you to expect your tooth to be sore for longer, you should call our office if your tooth is still painful after a week.
Pay Attention to Your Symptoms
It’s often normal to experience bleeding and some swelling after oral surgery. You should pay attention to how much you’re bleeding and how long it lasts, however, and call our office if your bleeding lasts more than 24 hours or if you are bleeding a lot. Additionally, watch your swelling to ensure it goes down and keep an eye on your temperature—together, swelling and a fever could be a sign of infection. Catching any of these complications early is important so you can get treatment as soon as possible.
Stick to Soft Foods
In general, after you’ve had oral surgery and even right after a root canal, you should stick to soft foods. This prevents you from putting pressure on your tooth, stopping it from becoming more painful and allowing it to heal faster. Additionally, after a surgery on your gums, such as gum contouring, you should avoid foods with small seeds or kernels that could get underneath or into your healing gums. Oatmeal, applesauce, and yogurt are relatively nutritious options that you can stick to, but for a treat, cold foods such as popsicles or ice cream will probably feel great on your teeth.
Avoid Chewing on the Affected Side
When you do move on to solid food, you should avoid chewing on the affected side until it has a chance to heal more fully. How long this will be, however, depends upon the type of oral surgery you had. If you had a root canal, you don’t have to wait as long to move from softer foods to normal foods, but you should still avoid chewing on the affected side until your permanent crown is in place. This minimizes the chances that food particles or bacteria will make it into the inside of your tooth. Once your permanent crown is in place and the area is no longer sore, you can resume chewing normally.
Practice Great Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is always important, but it’s even more important after an oral surgery or root canal. Keeping your mouth as free of bad bacteria as possible is essential to helping promote healing and ensuring that nothing gets infected. Speak to Dr. Fenn about your oral care, however, as some procedures may make it difficult to floss. In general, though, you should gently floss, brush your teeth, and use mouthwash as normal after your procedure.
Dr. Fenn will give you specific information on what you should and shouldn’t do after your procedure. Some procedures have different requirements than others, so it’s difficult to put everything on a generalized list. Before you leave our office, make sure you understand the directions that Dr. Fenn has given you and follow them closely when you go home. This will minimize your chances of experiencing complications and help you to heal and feel better faster.
Many patients dread root canals or oral surgeries, but modern science has made the experience easier than ever. The results are well worth it, often changing your daily life for the better by removing tooth pain and sensitivity. If you follow Dr. Fenn’s directions and care for your teeth properly after your procedure, you’ll be pain-free and feeling better than ever in no time!