FAQs About Root Canals, Food, And Post-Op Activities

What do you need to know about root canal recovery? If this is your first experience with root canals, take a look at what you need to know about post-treatment food choices, activities, and more. 

Will Recovery Take A Long Time?

Unlike complex surgeries, this type of dental procedure won't come with weeks or months of recovery time. Most people can return to work the same day. If you needed or wanted sedation for the procedure, you will need to take the rest of the day off to recover. Dental sedation (anesthesia) can cause fogginess and fatigue. These post-procedure sedation effects can make driving, operating machinery, or performing other tasks risky. Plan to stay home and rest for the next 24 hours after a sedation dentistry treatment. Whether you have sedation or not, you may feel some discomfort for a few days after the procedure. 

What Should You Eat While You Recover?

You may want to avoid food and beverages in the first few hours after your procedure. Sedation can make you too tired to eat and the local anesthetic used to numb the area can make it almost impossible to feel your mouth. You will need a local anesthetic regardless of your choice to have sedation or not. This type of dental injection makes the procedure almost painless for most people.

After the anesthetic wears off, you can resume eating and drinking. But you may not want to go back to your favorite food choices immediately. The treatment area may feel uncomfortable or irritated. Avoid foods that are sharp, sticky, or hard to chew. Choose healthy foods that are mushy or use a blender to liquify your first few post-procedure meals. 

Foods such as mashed sweet potatoes, avocados, yogurt, soup, hummus, applesauce, mashed bananas, and smoothies are nutritious options that shouldn't bother your mouth. Avoid extremely hot/cold, spicy, acidic, or sugary foods and beverages. These can add to the discomfort.

What Activities Can You Do While You Recover?

The answer to this question also depends on the type of anesthesia used. If you choose dental sedation, you will need to limit your activities for the rest of the day. The after-effects of the sedation may make it difficult to coordinate complex movements, operate a vehicle safely, or do anything else that involves your full attention. Make a plan to rest and relax as the anesthesia wears off.

If you only had a local anesthetic, you can resume many of your normal activities immediately after the procedure. But you should avoid strenuous exercise or physical labor. This means you may want to skip a trip to the gym or put off any heavy lifting until at least the next day. Your dentist can provide instructions that include post-procedure activity dos and don'ts. 

Contact a local dentist to learn more about root canals.