Aftercare Following Endodontic (Root Canal) Therapy
What to Expect
- It is normal for a tooth to be uncomfortable after receiving root canal treatment. This discomfort can range from throbbing for several hours once the numbness goes away to a dull ache or even a very sore and sensitive tooth which can last for a few days.
- This sensitivity or discomfort will be noticed anytime your tooth comes into contact with food or other teeth. This can range from simply a sore tooth to a very paintful sensation that you want to avoid. The sensation may even be noticed when you touch the tooth with your tongue or toothbrush.
This feeling will usually last for 5 to 7 days but some will remain uncomfortable for 2 weeks. These feelings are the result of sensitivity to nerve-endings in the tissue around the root which has been cleaned, irrigated and filled.
- You may feel a depression or rough area (on top of a back of a front tooth) where our access was made. There is a temporary material in this area which may wear away to some degree before your next dental visit.
- Occasionally, a small “bubble” or “pimple” will appear on the gum tissue within a few days after completion of a root canal. This represents the release of pressure and bacteria which no longer can be sustained around the tooth. This should disappear within a few days and not be noticeable after a month.
- Please be aware that some teeth that have endodontic treatment (root canals) will feel different (just because they are). This sensation may persist for months. Only be concerned if you are unable to use the tooth, visible drainage or the tooth feels elevated).
What to Do
- Do not eat until the numbness has gone away completely.
- We recommend you take some type of pain reliever as soon as possible to get the medication into your blood stream before the anesthesia wears off. Take ibuprofen (Nuprin, Advil or Motrin)-600 to 800 mg (3 to 4 tablets) or actaminophen (Tylenol or Excedrin)-1000 mg (2 extra strength tablets) initially. These can be repeated as needed, but do not exceed the maximum dose recommendations.
- Prescription pain relieving medicines are sometimes necessary. These are either powerful anti-in-flammatory drugs in the same class as Ibuprofen or narcotics. If you have a narcotic prescription please be careful as they make you drowsey and less alert. They are also addictive and should be used as little as possible. Do not share these drugs with others as they can produced adverse reactions.
- Antibiotic prescription medicine is sometimes required. These should be taken as directed until gone.
- Whenever possible, try to chew on the opposite side of the mouth we have just treated and continue to do this until the tooth is permanently restored (crowned or filled). Please remember the tooth requires a permanent restoration in form of a durable filling or in most cases a crown (cap) if it is not already crowned or if the tooth has decayed underneath the existing crown.
Please Call Us If…
- You are experiencing symptoms more intense or of longer duration than those described above.
- You have significant swelling.
- The temporary feels “high” when biting or if the material comes completely out.
- You have any questions at all.