Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Root canals are familiar procedures for North York dentists. This particular approach makes it possible to repair a tooth rather than having to extract it. While it often requires removing a portion of the tooth pulp, the result is that your pain is gone, the filling and cap restore the appearance of the tooth, and the work will last for years.

In the hours and days after undergoing the root canal, there are things you can do to ensure the healing proceeds without complications. Follow these six tips and the tooth will look and feel great.

Take Your Antibiotics On Time

Once the root canal treatment is done and you are cleared to leave the clinic, expect to receive a prescription for antibiotics. Take them as directed. They will help reduce the potential for infection and alleviate inflammation.

Remember that antibiotics are different from the pain reliever that the dentist orders. In most cases, the pain medication is to be used if you need it. The antibiotics are meant to be taken even if you are not experiencing much discomfort.

Feel Free to Use Ice Packs

If you would rather try something other than the pain meds, many dentists recommend the use of ice packs. You want one that will conform to the contours of your face. A general recommendation is to apply the cold pack for 20 minutes, then remove it for at least 20 minutes.

This process can be repeated as often as you like. Remember that the dentist may also recommend an over the counter pain reliever if you would prefer to reserve the pain medication for any severe discomfort. If so, choose an over the counter product that does not thin the blood.

Consume Soft Foods for a Few Days

Your diet will have to change for a few days. Specifically, you want to focus on foods that are soft and can be consumed with ease. Many North York dentists provide lists of soft foods to help patients get an idea of what to keep on hand. The list usually provides suggestions that allow you to get the nutrients that your body needs and also get you some ideas on how to vary the diet. One you see the dentist around a week after the initial procedure, you will likely be well enough to begin consuming some of your favorite foods again.

Brush Carefully Around the Tooth

Brushing after undergoing a root canal treatment is important. This is the first line of defense when it comes to keeping the mouth clean. You do need to take a little extra care when brushing around the site of the canal treatment. That’s because the gum will be tender and the tooth is still somewhat sensitive.

Mouthwash is a Must

Mouthwash is definitely something you will use regularly for the next several days. Go with a mouthwash that’s specifically designed to remove bacteria. This helps to reduce the possibility of irritating the tooth or the gum while removing residue that could lead to an infection. If you’re not sure that type of mouthwash to use, rest assured that North York dentists can tell you what ingredients the product should contain.

Avoid Chewing Until You Have the Permanent Filling

During the initial root canal treatment, you will receive a temporary filling. That’s because the dental team will want to take a second look the following week and make sure the remaining tooth pulp is free of infection. Assuming all is well, you’ll receive the permanent filling and probably a cap.

Until then, don’t chew on the side of the mouth where the root canal took place. Even if there is no swelling and you’ve experienced little to no pain, chewing on that side is not a good idea right now. Once the permanent filling and cap are installed, the dentist can provide guidelines of when to resume chewing on both sides of the mouth.

A root canal is a common procedure. The amount of time needed to heal is usually short. Follow the care instructions provided by the dental team and all should go well. Remember that if you do seem to experience something out of the ordinary in the days after the procedure, don’t hesitate to call the dentist and have the area checked.