A root canal is performed when the soft center of your tooth known as the pulp becomes damaged. When your pulp becomes damaged, it can become infected or inflamed and needs to be removed through a root canal.
During the procedure, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area, so you will not feel any pain. An access hole is made by drilling into the tooth and the damaged pulp is scraped out. Each of the canals inside of the tooth will be cleaned and then your tooth will be filled with gutta-percha material.
You will receive a temporary filling and need to come back with a permanent one. You will likely also require a dental crown to be fitted on the tooth that received the root canal for additional protection.
Smoking in general, let alone after a root canal treatment, is highly discouraged by doctors and dentists. Not only does smoking contribute to many negative health outcomes, but it also increases the likelihood that you will need more root canals.
According to studies, smokers are twice as likely to need root canal treatment than nonsmokers. The longer you smoke, the higher this risk increases. Root canals are somewhat invasive procedures and they can be costly, so it’s best to avoid behaviors that increase your risk of needing them.
Smoking also negatively impacts the healing process following a root canal. A root canal requires oral surgery, and your mouth is very sensitive and vulnerable in the days following oral surgery.
After your root canal treatment, you should follow aftercare directions from your dentist closely. For the first few hours after the root canal, your mouth will still be numb so you should not eat or consume hot liquids until the local anesthesia has completely worn off.
You should also refrain from smoking during this time and while you are recovering, as it can delay the recovery process. Cigarettes contain toxic chemicals which cause cancer and essentially poison the sensitive tissue in your mouth.
Because smoking reduces blood flow, an adequate supply of oxygen and other nutrients cannot reach the gums, which can prolong your recovery time and cause other oral health problems.
After receiving a root canal, the local anesthesia will not wear off for a few hours. It’s important to avoid consuming anything other than cold or room temperature water until your mouth is no longer numb to avoid accidentally biting your mouth or burning yourself with hot liquids.
Once the anesthetic wears off, you can eat, but you should stick to soft foods and try to chew on the opposite side of your mouth. It’s a good idea to stick to softer foods like yogurt, ice cream, oatmeal, and mashed potatoes for a couple of days.
You may feel some slight discomfort, pain, or swelling in the following days once the local anesthetic has worn off, but this tends to be mild. For relief, you can take anti-pain medication and an ice pack to reduce swelling.
Within three days you should be able to return to your normal routine, but until then you should not use straws or smoke. Follow oral hygiene directions provided to you by Dr. Niraj Patel.
Are you experiencing signs of an inflamed or infected tooth? Contact us at Cibolo Family Smiles to find out what your options are. Root canals are a last resort treatment option used to salvage a tooth so it doesn’t need to be extracted.
It is not ideal to have a missing tooth, so needing an extraction requires filling the missing space with a prosthesis or artificial tooth. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Niraj Patel in Cibolo to find out if a root canal would be a good option for you. If you’re experiencing pain, we can relieve this during the first root canal treatment in which we remove the tooth’s pulp.
Judgment-Free, Skillful Dental Care in Cibolo(210) 797-7740