One of the key questions you may have after a root canal is what to eat. Planning your menu ahead of time and having some recommended foods on hand can help. Learn more here about what to expect and how to prepare.
What Is a Root Canal?
In order to plan your recovery menu, it’s helpful to understand what happens during a root canal. This procedure may be needed when decay reaches the nerve of your tooth, or when the tooth has become infected. To perform a root canal, your dental provider will:
- Clean out, disinfect, and seal the inside of the tooth to prevent infection
- Restore the tooth with a dental crown or filling
When Can I Start Eating After My Procedure?
Your mouth will be numbed during your root canal procedure so you should not feel any pain. It will take a little while after your procedure for the numbness to wear off. During this time, you should avoid chewing or drinking hot beverages in order to avoid injuring yourself (e.g., biting your cheek or tongue, or burning your mouth).
Also, you will have a filling to seal the hole in the affected tooth. You should plan to wait at least 30 or 40 minutes before having a cold or warm drink so you can give the filling time to harden.
Will I Need to Change My Diet After My Root Canal?
This is the time when you may need to take extra care to protect the work that was done in your mouth. Don’t worry – diet changes are temporary, and you can still eat good foods! First, here’s an important factor to keep in mind:
- Most of the time, a temporary filling will be placed in the tooth while you wait for a permanent dental crown. If you’re waiting for a crown, you will need to avoid certain foods temporarily.
- If your tooth was restored with a permanent dental filling and you do not need a crown, you can return to a normal diet after the numbness from your root canal procedure goes away.
How Should I Eat While Awaiting My Crown?
Your temporary filling isn’t as strong and sturdy as your regular tooth. To help avoid possible problems, you should:
- Avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where you had your root canal treatment.
- Avoid hard and sticky foods. For example, stay away from things like pretzels, crackers, crunchy fruits and vegetables (such as apples and raw carrots), nuts, seeds, chewing gum, and candy (primarily the hard and/or sticky variety).
What Kinds of Foods Are Best?
You may have some tenderness in your mouth after your root canal procedure, and this can also impact the types of foods that are best to eat. Aim for foods that are soft and soothing. Some examples may include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Mac ‘n cheese
- Ice cream
- Soft fruits
- Tuna salad
- Cream of Wheat
- Nut butter
What Happens Next?
Within two weeks of your root canal procedure, you should have your dental crown placed (unless you had a permanent filling placed earlier). A dental crown looks and functions like a real tooth.
You may be advised to stick with softer foods for a bit longer after getting your crown. However, you can expect to go back to eating like normal in a short time – and you can feel better knowing that you’ve taken steps to help keep your tooth healthy.