When it comes to your teeth, keeping things intact, clean, and free from bacteria is incredibly important. Of course, as we all know, sometimes things like cracked teeth, gum infections and other related issues can occur even with the best of care. When this happens, you might be referred to an endodontist for a root canal. Root canals are usually a last resort to save your natural teeth prior to extraction, but thankfully have a 97% success rate. Once the procedure is complete, it’s vital that you seek to protect your mouth even if you have upcoming travel. Here are some of our recommended travel tips to consider after a root canal.
1. Plan for Your Trip
Depending on how you travel, it’s best to plan your departure date carefully. If sedation is used during your root canal, your endodontist will recommend you stay home and rest for at least 24 hours, especially if you’re the one driving. You’ll want the effects of the sedation to fully leave before taking off on your trip. If you’ll be heading to the airport, your endodontist will ask you to wait at least 5 to 7 days before flying to ensure there aren’t any post-operative issues.
2. Be Prepared for Altitude Changes
Your tooth will be sensitive for a few days following your procedure. Unfortunately, if you’re planning on flying, you might experience an increase in discomfort from changes in altitude. No need to worry though, any sensitivity will be minimal and can be controlled using an over-the-counter pain reliever.
For future trips, be sure to avoid discomfort by scheduling your root canal at least a month before you leave on your journey (as mentioned above). If you have plans to travel within a few days of your appointment, it’s best to tell your endodontist before having any procedures, including fillings and root canals.
3. Be Careful What You Eat
After your procedure, wait until the numbness in your mouth wears off before eating so you won’t bite your cheek or tongue. Don’t chew or bite down on the treated tooth until it is fully restored by an endodontist to avoid damaging it. While it is appropriate to eat a few hours after the procedure, don’t go crazy on the rough or chewy foods. Keep things soft for a bit until tenderness subsides.
Wanting to eat loads of new food while traveling is completely understandable. Just be sure to be extra mindful of your tooth and avoid foods that will dislodge or irritate the area.
An extra piece of caution, be highly aware of whether or not you can use that country’s drinking water. If it’s an area known for contaminated drinking water, pack bottled water for drinking and brushing. This will prevent additional bacteria from infecting your tooth.
4. Take Good Care of Your Teeth
While you’re away from home, your usual routine can be thrown off a bit. However, it’s more important than ever to maintain your oral hygiene in order to avoid infection or pain.
Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to clean all surfaces of your teeth for at least two minutes in the morning and at night. Also look for and use high-quality dental floss to clean in between each tooth before going to bed. You’ll also want to pay careful attention when cleaning your recently treated tooth so as not to be too rough. Your endodontist may also recommend using a saltwater rinse to keep your mouth clean. This saltwater rinse can also relieve pain and inflammation while your tooth is healing.
Always remember, a root canal can save your tooth from needing to be removed with the right care. Don’t compromise the long-term success of your treatment with short-term travel excitement. Protect your investment by taking extra precautions to ensure there aren’t any unexpected complications while you’re traveling. According to the AAE, you should contact your endodontist immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms while traveling:
- Severe pain or pressure lasting more than a few days
- Visible swelling inside or outside your mouth
- An allergic reaction to medication (rash, hives or itching)
- Bite feels uneven
- Temporary crown or filling, if one was put in place, comes out.
- Symptoms you experienced prior to treatment return
Experiencing any of the above issues before or after a root canal? Be sure to contact Endodontic Specialists to schedule an appointment!