What can I eat after having a root canal?

Getting a root canal treatment can be an uncomfortable experience. After the procedure is complete, the last thing you want is to eat something that could cause further irritation or pain. The good news is that while you may need to avoid certain foods initially, there are plenty of nutritious and delicious options you can enjoy during your recovery.


After a root canal, it’s important to choose softer, milder foods that won’t put too much pressure on the treated tooth. Stick with cool or lukewarm dishes instead of anything too hot. Avoid chewing on the side where you had the root canal, and cut food into smaller pieces to reduce the amount of biting force needed. Drink lots of water to help prevent infection, and avoid drinks like alcohol that can slow healing.

With a little bit of care, you can eat a variety of nutritious, satisfying meals as you recover from your root canal. Focus on soft, vitamin-rich foods like mashed potatoes, yogurt, eggs, fish, nut butters, soups and smoothies. Avoid very hard, crunchy, chewy or sticky foods that could dislodge the temporary filling. Stay away from extremely hot or spicy foods as well.

Within a few days, sensitivity should subside and you can slowly add more foods back into your diet. Just be sure to listen to your doctor’s and dentist’s advice about foods to enjoy or avoid as you heal. With some tasty, thoughtful meal planning, eating after a root canal doesn’t have to be a bland or boring experience.

Immediately After the Root Canal

It’s normal for the tooth and surrounding gums to be sore, inflamed and sensitive after a root canal. For the first 24-48 hours, stick with only soft foods that require little to no chewing:

  • Yogurt
  • Applesauce
  • Creamy soups (puréed if necessary)
  • Broth-based soups
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Custard
  • Pudding
  • Oatmeal
  • Cottage cheese
  • Milkshakes
  • Smoothies

Avoid anything too hot or too cold, as temperature extremes can cause discomfort. Don’t drink alcohol or consume caffeine, which can slow healing. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of room-temperature water.

You’ll also want to be diligent about oral hygiene to prevent infection and promote healing. Gently brush and floss around (but not directly on) the treated tooth. Use antiseptic mouthwash as recommended by your dentist.

2-7 Days After the Root Canal

As sensitivity decreases over the first week, you can gradually add more foods into your diet. But continue avoiding anything too crunchy, hard or sticky that could dislodge the temporary filling in the treated tooth. Stay away from very spicy foods as well. Some good options include:

  • Eggs
  • Well-cooked pastas
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Breads
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Tender meats
  • Soups and stews

You’ll still want to cut food into smaller pieces and chew carefully on the opposite side from your root canal. Avoid chewing gum or other sticky, chewy candies that could pull out the temporary filling. Continue to practice good oral hygiene and avoid extreme temperatures.

1 Week+ After the Root Canal

After your first follow-up appointment when the dentist replaces the temporary filling with a permanent restoration, you can resume eating normally. The tooth may still be sensitive to pressure and temperature changes. Avoid chewing hard foods like ice or popcorn kernels on the treated side.

Most sensitivity resolves within a few weeks, but it can occasionally last for months, especially if the tooth had severe inflammation or infection prior to treatment. Work with your dentist to find solutions if sensitivity persists long-term.

Here are some tips for transitioning back to a normal diet:

  • Start with softer versions of foods (i.e. canned fruit instead of fresh apples)
  • Cut food into smaller pieces
  • Chew slowly and carefully
  • Avoid very hot or very cold foods/drinks
  • Consider softening hard foods by cooking them

Foods to Avoid After a Root Canal

Some foods are too risky to eat immediately after root canal treatment. Avoid the following for at least 1-2 weeks after the procedure:

  • Hard candies
  • Ice
  • Popcorn
  • Pizza crust
  • Hard pretzels
  • Nuts
  • Raw vegetables
  • Hard breads
  • Corn chips
  • Steak

Also steer clear of:

  • Extremely hot foods or liquids
  • Spicy foods
  • Crunchy foods
  • Sticky, chewy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated beverages

Foods to Enjoy After a Root Canal

Focus on these tasty, tooth-friendly options as you recover:

  • Yogurt
  • Soups
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Fish
  • Tofu
  • Custard or pudding
  • Cottage cheese
  • Milkshakes
  • Smoothies
  • Mashed sweet potatoes
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Meatloaf
  • Cooked fruit
  • Bananas
  • Applesauce

Stick with lukewarm or room-temperature foods and liquids. Cut all foods into smaller pieces and chew on the opposite side of your root canal if possible.

Tips for Eating After Root Canal

Follow these tips and precautions when eating after your root canal:

  • Cut food into small pieces
  • Chew slowly using teeth on the opposite side
  • Avoid chewing gum or other sticky foods
  • Choose soft, mild foods
  • Stay away from hard, crunchy, chewy foods
  • Avoid extremely hot or cold foods
  • Don’t drink alcohol
  • Drink lots of room temperature water
  • Take medication as directed by your dentist
  • Practice good oral hygiene
  • See your dentist promptly if you experience ongoing sensitivity, swelling or pain

When to Call the Dentist

Sensitivity and discomfort after a root canal is normal initially, but contact your dentist right away if you experience:

  • Severe pain that medication does not relieve
  • Swelling in your face or cheek
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Increased sensitivity to hot or cold many days later
  • Chipping or loss of the temporary filling
  • A bad taste that won’t go away
  • Persistent bleeding
  • An elevated temperature

These could be signs of complications like infection that require prompt treatment. Don’t hesitate to call the dentist if your symptoms don’t subside within a few days or they suddenly seem to get worse.

Stay Nourished While Recovering From a Root Canal

Eating a balanced diet is important for your overall health, especially when recovering from dental work. Focus on getting the recommended daily amounts of:

  • Protein – Helps repair and maintain tissues. Choose fish, poultry, eggs, yogurt, cheese.
  • Vitamin C – Promotes healing. Citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli and peppers are good sources.
  • Iron – Speeds delivery of oxygen for healing. Found in lean meats, spinach, lentils.
  • Zinc – Boosts immunity and cell growth. Oysters, nuts, seeds, legumes.
  • Vitamin D – Aids bone and tissue repair. Get it from fortified milk, eggs, salmon.

Stay hydrated as well by drinking lots of water and limiting caffeinated or alcoholic beverages.

Sample Post-Root Canal Diet Plan

Here is a sample one day meal plan with tooth-friendly foods:


  • Oatmeal with mashed banana and cinnamon
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Glass of milk


  • Pea soup
  • Yogurt
  • Blueberries


  • Pasta with marinara sauce
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Applesauce
  • Herbal tea


  • Smoothie
  • Cottage cheese
  • Mashed avocado on soft bread
  • Soft-cooked carrots

Focus on getting adequate nutrition while still being gentle on your tooth. With a little planning, you can eat satisfying, healthy meals as you recover from your root canal.

When You Can Resume Normal Eating

Your dentist will let you know when it’s safe to resume your usual diet after a root canal. Typically, this is around 7-10 days after the procedure, but it varies. With a temporary filling, continue eating soft foods only.

Once the permanent restoration is placed, you can slowly add more normal foods back in. But avoid chewing hard items like ice or popcorn directly on the treated tooth.

Even after the tooth is permanently restored, you may experience some residual sensitivity, especially to temperature extremes. This usually fades over time. But if it persists beyond a few weeks, see your dentist as a root canal re-treatment or apicoectomy may be needed.

Long-Term Care After a Root Canal

A root canal removes infection, but you’ll need to take good care of your tooth going forward:

  • Practice excellent oral hygiene with twice-daily brushing and flossing
  • See your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings
  • Avoid chewing extremely hard foods on the treated tooth
  • Wear a mouthguard if playing contact sports to prevent trauma
  • Get dental work like crowns or bridges as recommended

With proper home care and maintenance, a tooth that has had root canal treatment can last for many years. Avoiding future injury and decay will help it remain healthy and functional. Alert your dentist promptly if you notice any symptoms like swelling, sensitivity or discoloration.

When to See an Endodontist

An endodontist is a dentist who specializes specifically in root canals and interior tooth treatments. They have advanced training and expertise in:

  • Diagnosing tooth pain
  • Performing root canal procedures
  • Retreating previously done root canals
  • Surgeries like apicoectomies
  • Treating dental injuries or trauma

Consider seeing an endodontist for your root canal if:

  • Your tooth has complex anatomy that makes treatment difficult
  • Your general dentist was unable to completely remove the tooth’s nerve or infection
  • You have severe tooth pain that is difficult to diagnose
  • You need a surgical endodontic procedure like an apicoectomy
  • You require a re-treatment or follow-up procedure

With their advanced expertise, these dental specialists can often treat challenging tooth issues and get relief from stubborn infections.

Foods to Eat After an Apicoectomy

An apicoectomy is endodontic surgery to remove root tip infection after a failed root canal. After this procedure, follow these diet guidelines:

  • First 24 hours – Liquids and soft foods like yogurt, apple sauce
  • 3-7 days – Soft foods like mashed potatoes, pasta, oatmeal
  • After 1 week – Gradually resume regular diet as tolerated
  • Avoid very hot, spicy, crunchy, chewy, sticky foods
  • Cut food into small pieces
  • Chew gently on the opposite side of the apicoectomy

An apicoectomy removes just the tooth root tip, so you may be able to resume normal eating a little sooner than with a regular root canal. But take care not to disturb the surgical site as it heals.


After a root canal, be patient with your tooth’s recovery. Stick to soft, mild foods the first 1-2 weeks. Slowly add more variety back as sensitivity fades. Avoid chewing on the treated side initially. See your dentist as recommended, practice good oral hygiene, and contact the office if severe symptoms arise. With some simple precautions, you can enjoy tasty, nutritious meals during your healing process.

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