You are currently viewing When Can I Eat After a Root Canal?

 Medically Reviewed by Dr. Charles Dennis, DMD, on October 3, 2022

When can I eat after a root canal? Following a root canal, your dentist or endodontist will advise you on the next steps regarding your aftercare. This article discusses when you can eat, what you can eat, and what you shouldn’t eat after a root canal.

Root canals are an easy, quick, relatively painless procedure. To save the tooth and minimize pain, a dentist or endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp (the connective tissue within the tooth that provides blood supply and connects to the root).

A crown is eventually placed over the damaged or reconstructed tooth to ensure regular use and stability. The process is quick and does not require time-off afterward from daily life to heal. This in-and-out procedure is one of the most popular dental treatments in the U.S., with more than 15 million performed every year.

There are two outcomes following a root canal procedure. First, you might immediately have a permanent crown fitted onto your tooth, or more likely; you will get a temporary crown until the permanent one is made and fitted- which may take a week or two.

 

Your mouth will be numbed after your root canal.

Under both circumstances, your mouth will be numbed with a local anesthetic for the initial procedure. Effects of numbing will cause you to lose the majority of feeling within your gums, teeth, and tongue.

The problem with this is that since you won’t be able to feel your mouth for a few hours, you run the risk of biting your cheek or tongue if you try to eat or even burning yourself with food that you’re unable to tell is too hot. Typically you can begin drinking fluids 30 minutes after your procedure.

Once you are no longer numb, try eating soft foods.

While unlikely, it is possible to pull out, damage, or crack a temporary crown or even a permanent crown with hard food. In addition, your mouth may be sore from the procedure, in which case you can take an OTC medication such as Ibuprofen (Advil) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol). Finally, you’ll likely be told to avoid chewing food in general on the tooth that received the root canal until the permanent crown is fitted and adhered (which may take up to a day after the crown is put on).

Soft foods you can eat include but are not limited to:

  • Scrambled eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Rice
  • Soft bread
  • Ice cream/sorbet
  • Pasta
  • Soft fruits
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Soft cheese
  • Peanut butter
    Etc…

What shouldn’t I eat after a root canal?

– Hard foods

  • Following a root canal, you risk damaging the temporary or permanent crown, but you also risk hurting yourself! This could elongate your healing process and cause pain.
  • Problematic hard foods include but are not limited to nuts, ice, raw vegetables (i.e., carrots), hard candies.

– Chewy foods

  • Chewy foods such as certain meats and candies put excess pressure on your freshly fixed tooth and can cause pain and damage.

– Spicy foods, hot foods, & cold foods

  • After surgery, your tooth or teeth will naturally be more sensitive than usual. Following your procedure, it’s essential to try and avoid any spicy, hot, or super cold foods that may irritate your teeth. This should go away with time and healing.
  • If you still experience sensitivity long after your dentist or endodontist suggests, contact them immediately.

Summary

  • Always consult with your dentist or endodontist to determine what aftercare plan is best for you.
  • It is standard practice to wait until 30 minutes after your root canal to drink liquids such as water.
  • It is recommended to wait until your mouth is no longer numb (a few hours) before you eat to avoid biting your cheek/tongue and eating food that is too hot or cold.
  • If you receive a temporary crown after your root canal, you’ll likely be encouraged to stick to a soft food diet until your next appointment.
  • Once you receive a permanent crown, you’ll likely be told to avoid eating with that tooth until the adhesive that binds the crown to your tooth hardens fully. This may take a few hours or one day.
  • Following your permanent crown, it’s okay to slowly transition back to your regular diet, avoiding super hard foods (like chewing ice) in general.
  • Contact your dentist or endodontist immediately if you experience intense pain or discomfort.

 

Dr. Charles Dennis is certified in endodontics. In other words, he has all of the formal training of a dentist, with extra experience and education in the preservation and restoration of infected or injured teeth. The primary procedure in endodontics is root canals.

If you are in the Northeastern Pennsylvania, Scranton area, and require a root canal or think you may need one, use our online booking system or call Abington Center of Cosmetic and Family Dentistry at (570) 587-4031.

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