After Root Canal Therapy

After root canal therapy has been completed, the root canal system inside the tooth has been permanently sealed. However, the outside opening of the tooth is sealed with a temporary filling. An appointment to have a permanent restoration placed on your tooth is required in order to protect it against fracture or decay. This appointment should be scheduled with our office within one month of completion of your root canal.

  • Avoid drinking hot beverages or chewing until numbness from the local anesthetic has completely worn off.
  • To prevent the temporary filling or tooth from fracturing, avoid eating hard or sticky foods and do not chew excessively on the affected side until your root canal is completed and your tooth is permanently restored.
  • Sleep with your head in an elevated position for the first few nights if you do not have any physical limitations.
  • It is not uncommon for your tooth and surrounding gum tissue to be uncomfortable due to tenderness and pressure sensitivity (especially when biting or chewing) or even exhibit a dull ache for a few days or weeks after receiving root canal therapy. These conditions exist because the nerves around the tooth have been inflamed prior to initiating treatment and because of manipulation of the tooth during treatment.  The amount of post-operative discomfort is due to the treatment received and is often related to the degree of pulpal inflammation and infection of the tooth prior to treatment. Do not be alarmed by this discomfort as it is normal and should subside within a few days or weeks.
  • To alleviate any discomfort, we recommend that you take over-the-counter Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). In general, two to four tablets of Ibuprofen taken four times a day for the next several days is usually adequate to relieve any pain or discomfort. Aspirin and aspirin-containing products are NOT advisable, as they tend to increase bleeding from the area that was treated.
  • Continue to take any prescribed antibiotics for the indicated full length of time, even if the signs and symptoms of infection are gone.
  • Occasionally, a small “bubble” or “pimple” will appear on the gum tissue within a few days after completion of the root canal. This represents the release of pressure and bacteria which can no longer be sustained around the tooth. Do not be alarmed by this as it normally disappears within a few days after its’ initial appearance.
  • It is important to continue with your regular dental hygiene regimen of brushing and flossing daily.
  • Your tooth is more prone to fracture immediately after root canal treatment. Remember to avoid chewing excessively on the affected side until your tooth has been protected with a permanent restoration, usually a crown. It is only a matter of time before your tooth will fracture if you do not have it restored with a permanent restoration. If the strength of the tooth is seriously compromised, it may be necessary to place a post and core build-up inside the tooth before placing the permanent crown on the tooth. Please make an appointment at your earliest convenience to have your tooth permanently restored.

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