Few things in dentistry are dreaded more than a root canal procedure. Root canals were very painful in years past, so they got a bad rap. Thankfully, there are better anesthetics today, and root canals aren't any more painful than other dental procedures.

The one difference between a simple dental cleaning or filling and a root canal is that root canals have a longer recovery. However, there are many things you can do to make the recovery period after a root canal procedure shorter and less painful. 

Here are some tips:

Tip: Take Your Post-Procedure Medications as Prescribed

After your root canal, you may be prescribed antibiotics and pain medication. The antibiotics are to prevent a post-surgical infection, and you should take the entire course as prescribed. If you don't, the root canal can become infected, and the procedure could need to be repeated.

The pain medication prescribed is in line with how much trauma your teeth undergo and how much pain the dentist foresees you will have. If you have a simple procedure, ibuprofen or acetaminophen will be sufficient. However, your dentist may prescribe a stronger medication if your procedure is lengthy. 

Whatever you are prescribed for the pain needs to be taken on time and as prescribed. This isn't the time to be a hero. Take your medication and stay on top of the pain. If you don't, you will find yourself in a lot of pain waiting for medication to kick in.

Tip: Keep Your Head Above Your Heart

Keeping your head elevated after your root canal will help to control facial swelling. This is vital because inflammation is one of the significant contributors to post-procedure dental pain.

If you need to lie down after your dental surgery, make sure you use a few pillows and keep your head above your heart. If you lay flat on your bed or the couch, then your mouth will swell more because it will be at the same elevation or lower than your heart.

Tip: Gargle with Ample Amounts of Saltwater

Finally, saltwater has antibiotic properties and is fantastic for helping to control dental pain. After a root canal, you will want to mix up a cup of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of salt in it. Repeatedly rinse your mouth every time you feel pain or discomfort. Not only is the saltwater amazing for stopping dental pain, but it will also help prevent infection. 

For more info about root canals, contact a local dentist.