Aftercare Following Root Canal Treatment

What to Do

  • See Your Dentist: After root canal therapy is completed, it is necessary to return to your dentist to restore your tooth with a permanent crown, filling, or bridge. This should be done ASAP – no longer than four weeks. Until the tooth is permanently restored, it is susceptible to fracture and decay which may result in the loss of your tooth.
  • Avoid Chewing on The Tooth: Since the tooth is susceptible to fracture, you should avoid chewing on the tooth until your dentist performs the permanent restoration.

What to Expect

  • Numbness – The area around your tooth will be numb for two to five hours after treatment. Be careful not to bite your cheek or lip until the anesthetic has worn off.
  • Temporary Filling – A temporary filling was placed to close the opening in your tooth. It may feel rough or like there is a depression in your tooth. The surface of the temporary may wear away which is normal.
  • Pain – As with any medical or dental procedure, it is normal to have discomfort following root canal treatment. Most frequently there will be a tenderness to biting or a general soreness in the area. Pain normally diminishes within 2-3 days and subsides by one week.
  • Pain Relief
    • Mild Pain:
      • Take 400-600mg of Ibuprofen (2 or 3 Advil®, Motrin®) every six hours (not to exceed 3,200mg daily).
      • If you are unable to take Ibuprofen, 500-1,000mg of acetaminophen* (1 or 2 Extra Strength Tylenol®) every four to six hours (not to exceed 3,000mg daily).
    • Moderate to Severe Pain:
      • Take 600mg of Ibuprofen and 1,000mg of acetaminophen* at the same time. If this does not provide you adequate pain relief, please contact us for advice.
        * Note that when taking acetaminophen, alcohol consumption is not recommended.

When to Call

  • Swelling – If you have significant post-operative swelling, please contact us. If you were prescribed an antibiotic, it is important to take the entire course until they are gone.
  • Severe Pain – A small percentage of root canal treated teeth can go through what is called a “flare-up” where there could be significant pain and/or swelling for 2-3 days. Please call if this occurs.
  • Prolonged or Lingering Pain – If your pain is not improving after a few days, contact us.
  • Bite (Occlusion) – When appropriate, the occlusion (bite) of the tooth is reduced (adjusted) to minimize post-operative symptoms. If your bite seems high, if it seems like you are hitting only the tooth we treated, you may have to have us adjust your tooth.
  • Temporary Filling Loss – If your temporary filling or existing crown comes off or gets dislodged, it is important to contact our office and schedule a visit to replace it in order to protect the root canal from contamination.
  • Tooth Fracture – If you suspect your tooth has fractured, please call us and schedule a visit so we can evaluate the tooth.
  • Concerns or Questions – If you have any other concerns or questions, please don’t hesitate to call.