In many cases, a tooth that has some decay can be treated by getting a filling. But when a tooth begins to develop an infection and nerve pain, a root canal is typically needed. A root canal is a complex dental procedure, and there is a recovery period. The good news is that most people experience a drastic reduction in pain after the infected tooth is addressed. But, it is still important to pay careful attention to your mouth after a root canal. If you have a root canal scheduled, use the following tips in the days after the procedure as your tooth is healing:

Take Your Prescriptions According to Schedule

After a root canal, your dentist will most likely prescribe an antibiotic to take. It is extremely important to take the antibiotic exactly as prescribed and to finish the whole course of antibiotics. Root canals are necessary because a tooth becomes infected, and that is usually what causes the pain. Taking your antibiotics will help prevent any type of further infection from developing on the tooth that needed a root canal.

Manage Pain Levels

A root canal typically helps diminish the acute pain that one experiences with an infected tooth, but the recovery from a root canal is not always totally comfortable. In most cases, discomfort from a root canal can be treated with over the counter pain relievers from a drug store. However, if you are still experiencing intense pain in your mouth after a root canal, it is important to contact your dentist as soon as possible. If there are complications, you may need additional dental work. In some cases, your dentist may opt to prescribe pain killers to help you with the recovery.

Avoid Pressure on the Tooth

While a root canal greatly improves the health of an infected tooth in the long run, in the days after the procedure, your tooth may be quite tender. It is in your best interest to avoid all pressure on the tooth-- do not chew food on that side of the mouth, and try not to clench your jaw or grind your teeth while you are recovering from a root canal. 

Keep Your Mouth Clean

While the antibiotics that you are prescribed will help a lot, you still need to keep your mouth very clean after a root canal. Make sure to brush and floss regularly, and also gargle with warm salt water. Taking these steps will help ensure that your tooth heals nicely after a root canal. 

For more information about getting a root canal procedure, contact a local dentist.