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What should I do after root canal treatment?

Almost all root canal treated teeth will require a proper final restoration, typically a crown, to ensure long-term success.

Root canal treatment is a procedure that removes your tooth nerve while saving your original tooth. Here are some basic instructions after receiving a root canal treatment:

Modify your diet

Do not eat anything until your numbness has fully worn off. This way, you won’t have to worry about accidentally biting your cheek or tongue! Also, be careful with chewing or biting on the treated tooth, especially with hard food, for the next few days. Your tooth may continue being tender for several days afterwards, so take it easy until the pain has gone away.

Take it easy on your root canal treated tooth

Be careful on your tooth for the next few days. You may receive a temporary filling or crown after your root canal. It is not unusual for this temporary filling or crown to wear off in-between appointments. Should this happen, you can contact your dentist to replace your temporary restoration. If you can’t see us right away, use temporary dental filling or cement sold at pharmacies to seal the tooth in the interim. If you’re not in pain, then it’s okay to wait a short while until your next appointment.

Take your medication

We typically recommend that you take an analgesic medication for pain-relief within an hour of leaving your root canal appointment. This allows the medication to kick in before the anesthesia wears off. You may require pain relieving medication over the next several days if your infection was extensive.

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) 400-800mg every 6 hours (not to exceed 3200mg/day) is recommend for patients able to take, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. If you can’t take ibuprofen, non-steroidal medications, or aspirin, then take Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 500mg every 6 hours (not to exceed 4000mg/day). Note that it’s not recommend to take alcohol while taking acetaminophen. You may be prescribed a prescription strength pain reliever and/ or antibiotics. Be sure to take these medicine as prescribed.

When should I contact my dentist after root canal treatment?

It’s normal to experience some pain and discomfort following your root canal therapy. Typically, pain will go away within 2 to 3 days after your root canal treatment. However, should you develop any of the following symptoms, contact your dentist or endodontist right away:

  • A visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth
  • An allergic reaction to medication, including rash, hives or itching (nausea is not an allergic reaction)
  • A return of original symptoms or severe pain
  • If your bite feels extremely uneven or uncomfortable

Am I done after finishing my root canal treatment?

Getting a root canal treatment is only the first step in returning your tooth to full function. Almost all root canal treated teeth will require a proper final restoration, typically a crown, to ensure long-term success. We recommend that you have your tooth restored within a few weeks following completion of root canal therapy. If you wait longer, there is the possibility that your tooth fractures and you lose your tooth despite having completed the root canal therapy. Your dentist will discuss the need for a crown following root canal therapy and will schedule you accordingly.