Instructions for Root Canals

Symptoms to expect after numbness wears off

  • Tenderness or dull ache in the area for a few days as your body undergoes the natural healing process.
  • Soreness in your jaw from keeping it open for an extended period of time.
  • Sensitivity to pressure when chewing on the treated tooth. This may last a few days to weeks depending on how swollen the bone, gums and ligaments surrounding the tooth is.
  • Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your root canal treatment has been completed.
  • Hot and Cold sensitivity should NOT occur

Symptoms are usually temporary and typically respond very well to over-the-counter pain medications. However, if you have severe pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, contact the office.

Pain management

  • Over the counter pain medications will help to control discomfort.
    • 600mg Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox) and 500mg Acetaminophen (Tylenol) every 4-6 hrs for mild-moderate pain
    • If you are given Tylenol #3 (w/Codeine) or Ultram. Take it as directed or only before bedtime as drowsiness may occur.
  • On rare occasions, antibiotics may be prescribed. Continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.
  • Rinse with warm salt water 2 times a day; dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then rinse, swish, and spit. It's important to continue to brush and floss normally.
  • Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with pain medications or should swelling develop, please call our office.

Temporary phase

  • A temporary filling or crown is placed by your dentist to protect the tooth and hold its place between appointments. It is not a concern if a small portion of your temporary breaks or wears away. If the entire filling/crown falls out, please call our office so it can be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Avoid chewing on the side of the root canal and stay away from sticky foods (especially gum). Avoid biting hard foods and hard substances, such as ice, fingernails and pencils.
  • Brush and floss normally, but avoid flossing up around the temporary. Pull the floss through the contacts and not back out as this may pop the temporary off.

What the Future Holds

The tooth that has had appropriate endodontic treatment followed by a proper restoration can last as long as your other natural teeth. Practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, regular checkups and cleanings. Occasionally, a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or pain continues. At times, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, repeating the endodontic procedure can save the tooth. Root fractures can occur because the tooth no longer has vital blood supply and the tooth can become brittle. This may lead to the extraction of the tooth at which time, your dentist will go over your restorative options.