Root Canal Treatment Care

Before Endodontic Treatment

This procedure will be performed using local anesthesia. There are usually no restrictions after the procedure concerning driving or returning to work. Our doctors are available for consultation at all times should a problem arise after your treatment. Please call our office to get in touch with our 24 hour answering service should a problem arrive.

Continue all medications for blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems and any other conditions as recommended by your physician. If there is a question, please call our office prior to your appointment.

Please eat a full breakfast or lunch as applicable.

If you have been advised by your physician or dentist to use antibiotic premedication because of mitral valve prolapse (MVP), heart murmur, hip, knee, cardiac or other prosthesis, or if you have rheumatic heart disease, please make sure you are on the appropriate antibiotic on the day of your appointment. If there is a question, please call our office prior to your appointment.

If you can take ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), it does help reduce inflammation when taken pre-operatively. We recommend 2 tablets of either medication 2 hours before endodontic therapy.

What should I expect following endodontic treatment?

The root canal system inside your tooth has been thoroughly cleaned, and the irritated tissue and bacteria that have caused you to need root canal treatment are gone.

It is normal to feel some tenderness in the area over the next few days as your body undergoes the natural healing process. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open for an extended period of time.

These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to over-the-counter pain medications. It is important for you to following these instructions specifically:

Please take: Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) 200mg tablets
3 tablets (600mg total) 3-4 times a day (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and if necessary at Bedtime) Please take this no matter what for the next 4-7 days.

If you are allergic, have medical conditions or are taking prescribed medicine that prevents you from taking Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) then please take:

Tylenol Extra-Strength (Aspirin Free) 500mg tablets
2 tablets (1000mg total) 3 times a day (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner).
Please take this no matter what for the next 47 days.

Remember that narcotic medications, if prescribed, may make you drowsy, and caution should be exercised in operating dangerous or driving a car after taking them.

Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your root canal treatment has been completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, please contact our office.

Guidelines for Post-Treatment Care

Do not eat anything until the numbness in your mouth wears off. This will prevent you from biting your cheek or tongue.

Do not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your general dentist.

Be sure to brush and floss your teeth as you normally would.

If the opening in your tooth was restored with a temporary filling material, it is not unusual for a thin layer to wear off in-between appointments. However, if you think the entire filling has come out, please contact our office.

Contact our office immediately if you develop any of the following:

  • 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 the original symptoms; or
  • your bite feels uneven.

Taking Care of Your Tooth

Root canal treatment is only one step in returning your tooth to full function. A proper final restoration of the tooth is extremely important in ensuring long-term success. Contact your general dentist within two weeks to arrange your next appointment.

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. After the tooth has been restored, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, regular checkups and cleanings.

We will periodically see you for follow-ups that will include taking x-rays of the tooth to ensure that healing has occurred. 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.