Do's and Don'ts After Root Canal

A root canal treatment can offer much-needed relief from severe tooth pain and save a tooth that might otherwise need to be extracted. While the procedure is common and typically successful, proper care following a root canal is crucial to recovery and help in maintaining the overall health of the tooth for a long time. Understanding the appropriate aftercare measures not only protects the treated tooth but also ensures your comfort and reduces the risk of complications.


After the numbness from the local anesthetic wanes, you’ll be responsible for managing your oral hygiene effectively and navigating your dietary choices carefully to facilitate healing. Moreover, certain lifestyle habits and activities will need to be adjusted or avoided temporarily to give your tooth the best chance at a full recovery. 

After a root canal, maintaining oral hygiene is essential to prevent infection and ensure proper healing. You can follow these steps  to recover from the root canal therapy correctly.

Key Takeaways 

  • Maintain oral hygiene carefully to prevent infection.
  • Follow dietary guidelines to protect the treated tooth.
  • Moderate lifestyle activities to support recovery post-procedure.

Do's And Don'ts

Cleaning around the treated area  

  • Brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean the area without causing irritation. Remember to brush gently around the treated tooth to avoid disturbing the temporary filling or crown.
  • Use a mouthwash if recommended by your dentist to help eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of infection.


  • Avoid aggressive brushing or flossing that could dislodge the new filling or irritate the sensitive area. Aggressive oral care routines can disrupt healing.

Protecting the Temporary Crown


  • Be cautious when eating, especially chewing on the side of your mouth with the temporary crown to keep it secure until the permanent crown is placed. Choose soft foods and liquids as suggested by your dentist.


  • Steer clear of sticky, hard, or chewy foods that can pull at or displace the temporary crown. Some items include  candies, gum, and tough meats.

By addressing to these aftercare steps, you can significantly aid the healing process following your root canal treatment. Remember, gentle care and a cautious approach to eating are crucial during this sensitive period.

Eating and Drinking Guidelines After Root Canal Therapy

After a root canal, it’s crucial to be careful about what you eat and drink to ensure proper healing. Initially, until the numbness wears off, avoid any foods that you might inadvertently bite your cheek or tongue. Once the numbness subsides, stick to soft foods and avoid extreme temperatures to prevent discomfort.

Foods and Beverages to Avoid

  • Hot and Cold: Avoid foods and drinks that are very hot or cold to prevent sensitivity and pain.
  • Hard, Crunchy, or Chewy: Steer clear of hard, crunchy, or chewy foods like popcorn, nuts, and candies which can dislodge the temporary filling or irritate the affected area.
  • Sticky Foods: Foods like gum or caramel can pull out the temporary filling.
  • Sugary Drinks and Snacks: Minimize sugary drinks and snacks that can lead to cavities, especially while your tooth is vulnerable post-procedure.

Foods to consume after root canal therapy

  • Soft Foods: Opt for soft foods such as yogurts, smoothies, soups, eggs, or mashed potatoes which are easy to eat and less likely to disturb your tooth.
  • Chewing Techniques: Chew on the side of your mouth opposite to where your root canal was performed to avoid applying pressure on the treated area. This is especially important if you don’t have a crown on your tooth yet.
  • Moderate Temperatures: Select foods and beverages that are at room temperature or slightly warm to ensure you don’t trigger any sensitivity.

Lifestyle Considerations

After a root canal, adjusting your lifestyle behaviors is important to ensure a smooth recovery. It’s vital to understand how habits like smoking and physical activity can affect the healing process.

Can you smoke after a root canal

Can you smoke after a root canal? It’s strongly advised to avoid smoking immediately following your root canal treatment. Smoking can slow down the healing process, increase the risk of complications, and may lead to infection due to the introduction of harmful chemicals and bacteria to the sensitive area.

  • Avoid: Smoking for at least a few days or a week  post-procedure.
  • Remember: The longer you can refrain from smoking, the better it is for the healing process.

When can you start to exercise after root canal

Exercise after root canal—what’s safe? Be mindful of your body’s response to recent dental work. Start with low-impact activities and monitor for any discomfort or swelling.

  • Day 1-2: Limit physical activity; prioritize rest.
  • Day 3 onward: Gradually reintroduce light exercise, such as walking.
  • Listen to Your Body: If you experience pain, reduce activity level and consult your dentist.

Maintaining a cautious approach to these lifestyle factors will contribute to a smooth and effective recovery.

Medication and Follow-Up Appointments

It’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions for a swift recovery:

  • Antibiotics: If prescribed, take the full course to prevent infection.
  • Rest: Minimize physical activity for a few days to promote healing.
  • Follow-Up Visits: Make sure to attend scheduled appointments with your dentist to monitor healing and complete any necessary restorative work.

Also read

Highlighting the tooth anatomy

What Causes Root Canal

Root canal procedures alleviate pain caused by tooth pulp inflammation or infection. Common causes include severe decay, repeated dental procedures on the same tooth, cracks, chips, and infection. 

Damaged teeth

Untreated Root Canal Symptoms

Ignoring untreated root canal symptoms can lead to severe complications like infection spreading to other teeth, bone loss, and dental cysts. Immediate treatment is necessary for severe pain, swelling, or signs of an abscess. 

Root Canal Failure Symptoms

Recognizing root canal failure symptoms is crucial to prevent complications. Signs include persistent pain, swelling, sensitivity, discoloration, and gum issues. Failures can occur due to complex root structure, secondary decay, or breakdown of sealing material. 

Root Canal Recovery Time

Recovering from a root canal typically takes a few days to a week, varying based on procedure complexity and personal health. Following aftercare instructions, managing pain with medication, resting, and sticking to a soft diet aid in smooth recovery.