A root canal allows you to save your natural tooth to avoid needing a replacement. Whether due to trauma or decay, a root canal procedure is similar to getting a filling, and you’ll need to follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions to avoid complications. So it's understandable to be worried about what you can eat after a root canal. Basically, you just need to focus on the right foods that help accelerate the healing of your restoration and avoid unnecessary discomfort or worse, damage to your newly-restored tooth.
What Can You Eat After a Root Canal? Here Are Some Easy Suggestions
After a root canal procedure, your mouth may be numb for a few hours due to the anesthesia used during the treatment. It's essential to be gentle with your teeth and avoid chewing on the treated area until the numbness wears off completely. You’ll also want to brush and floss your teeth lightly for a few days, initially avoiding the treated tooth until your dentist says it’s okay.
Additionally, follow these dietary guidelines to ensure proper healing and prevent any damage to the treated tooth. Here are some tips most dentists recommend about what to eat after a root canal.
- Soft foods. They require minimal chewing, so you won't put pressure on the treated tooth. Examples include mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, yogurt, smoothies, pureed soups, and well-cooked pasta.
- Cold foods. The cold may help reduce any swelling or discomfort in the treated area. Try eating soft, chilled foods like ice cream or chilled fruit smoothies.
- Water. Staying hydrated is essential for healing. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
What to Avoid After a Root Canal
After a root canal procedure, if you need to eat something that requires chewing, use the opposite side of your mouth from the treated tooth and take it slow. However, there are some things you should avoid until your dentist gives the green light.
- Crunchy or hard foods. These force undo pressure on the treated tooth. Refrain from snacking on foods like nuts, popcorn, chips, and raw vegetables.
- Hot and spicy foods. They might irritate the area around the treated tooth. Stick to lukewarm or cool foods for a few days.
- Sticky foods. Caramel, chewing gum, and other sticky foods can be problematic after a root canal, as they may dislodge temporary fillings or crowns.
- Straws. The sucking motion can create negative pressure in your mouth, potentially dislodging the blood clot in the healing socket. Avoid using straws for the first few days after the root canal.
Keep in mind that every person is different, so always follow your dentist’s post-operative recommendations for oral care that are designed to meet your specific needs during the healing process.