Root Canal Post-Operative Pain Management

As with any medical or dental procedure, it is normal once the numbness wears off, to have discomfort following root canal therapy. The amount of discomfort is usually directly related to the condition of the tooth prior to treatment. This feeling occurs because the tissues and bone around the tooth and roots become inflamed, which is part of the normal healing process. Most commonly there will be tenderness to biting pressure or a general the area. In addition, there may be some swelling. The pain and swelling usually diminishes within 2-3 days and should subside by one week.

We invite you to call us if you encounter significant pain or swelling, or for any questions and/or concerns you may have. Call the office where you were treated and if it’s after normal business hours, a member of our staff will answer and offer advice and further instructions. There is always an Associated Dental Specialists’ doctor “on call” to address emergencies.

Pain Medications (Analgesics)

Recent studies on pain control are indicating that taking a non-steroidal anti—inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) together with acetaminophen (Tylenol®) has more significant post-operative pain relief than taking one drug alone. Of significance – the ibuprofen and acetaminophen combination has more pain relief than narcotic medications such as codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin®, Norco®, Lortab®), and oxycodone (Percocet®, Percodan®).

For mild discomfort following endodontic treatment, 400-600mg of ibuprofen (2 or 3 Advil®, Motrin®) is usually adequate (or, if you are unable to take ibuprofen, 500-1000mg of acetaminophen (1 or 2 Extra Strength Tylenol®). If you are experiencing moderate-to-severe pain, we recommend that you take 600mg of ibuprofen and 1000mg of acetaminophen at the same time. If this does not provide adequate pain relief, please contact our office for advice and guidance.

Maximum daily doses for these over-the-counter (OTC) medications:

Drug Chart

Note: Many OTC cold relief medications contain some of the above medications and must be considered when calculating your maximum dosage.