A root canal is a method to treat a damaged tooth. Family dentists remove the infected portion of the tooth, seal the canals, and reinforce the tooth with an artificial crown.

A root canal is a common dental procedure for outpatients, but sometimes people tend to forget the care directions their dentists tell them following their appointment. 

If you forgot when you can eat, what you can eat, and other post-root canal care advice, you don’t have to worry—this article has got your back.

When to Eat

Most dentists recommend waiting a few hours before eating. The best indication is when your gums and teeth no longer feel numb. 

Eating when your mouth feels numb can lead you to bite your cheeks or tongue. You can even burn your mouth if you can’t feel the temperature of the food you’re eating.

Additionally, eating too early can damage the newly installed temporary filling. The temporary filling protects the tooth until the permanent crown is available. 

What to Eat

Although you can eat in a few hours post-procedure, it’s ideal until you’re no longer sore before going back to your regular diet. However, if you must eat a few hours after your root canal, it’s best to stick to soft foods.

A few great food choices for a post-root canal meal or snack include:

  • Apple sauce
  • Bananas
  • Flans and puddings
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Pasta
  • Peanut butter
  • Rice
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Soft bread
  • Soft cheese
  • Sorbet
  • Soups
  • Yogurt

What to Avoid Eating

Since you are still healing, some of the worst food you can eat are things that can disrupt the healing process. These are typically the hard foods you have to munch and crunch to eat. 

Other not-so-great choices are food items that are generally bad for your teeth, like overly sweet and acidic food.

Here are examples to give you a better idea of the food to avoid:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Candies
  • Caramels
  • Citrus
  • Gums
  • Overly cold foods
  • Overly hot foods
  • Peanuts
  • Seeds
  • Sodas 

Post-Root Canal Best Practices

It’s completely normal to feel a bit sore after your root canal. You can manage the pain through over-the-counter medication like Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen, but it’s best to take them if the pain is unbearable. If it’s mild discomfort, put a cold compress on the side of your face where you feel sore.

Here are other helpful root canal after-care tips that family dentists recommend.

  • Brush as normal.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene.
  • Don’t floss around the temporary crown.
  • Gargle with a saltwater rinse (a teaspoon of salt to eight ounces of warm water) three times per day to reduce inflammation.
  • Drink antibiotics only when and exactly as your dentist prescribes it.

When to Call

Root canals are safe procedures that dentists are trained to do. However, there are instances when you need to go back to your dentist to get additional treatment.

These instances include:

  • Fever
  • Itching, rashes, and other signs of an allergic reaction
  • Severe pressure and pain in the mouth
  • Severe swelling 


When getting a root canal, it’s important to understand when you can eat after the procedure. Generally, you can enjoy soft foods once the anesthetic has worn off. You can return to your typical diet after the soreness has gone.

It’s understandable that you feel a bit out of it after a root canal. That is why if you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask your family dentist and your dental team.

If you are looking for some of the best family dentists in Chattanooga, TN, Shallowford Family Dental is at your service. We are a licensed, family-focused dental clinic that has been offering top-notch dental services since 1940. Whether you need a root canal or a dental veneer, our experienced and highly qualified team can do it all. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!

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