After 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. The amount of discomfort will vary depending on each individual. If you were in pain when you came in for treatment, expect to have some pain after the treatment.

Take the recommended doses of ibuprofen, aspirin, or Tylenol as discussed at your appointment to control the discomfort. Call the office if your pain increases, especially with pain medications, if you notice any visible facial swelling in the area, or if you develop a fever.

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, contact your endodontist.

Post-Treatment Care Guidelines

  • Most patients experience some inflammatory discomfort following root canal treatment. The amount will vary for each individual. It will take time for the area to heal.
  • Take the recommended regular doses of ibuprofen, aspirin, or Tylenol as discussed at your appointment to control the discomfort.
  • Avoid hard, crunchy foods for the next few days. DO NOT use your tooth for chewing until a final restoration has been placed by your dentist.
  • Rinse with warm salt water rinses for the next 3-4 nights.
  • Brush and floss your teeth as you normally would.
  • If the opening in your tooth was restored with an interim 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, contact your endodontist.
  • 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 dentist within two weeks to arrange your next appointment.

Acute Pain Management Guidelines

Mild pain: Ibuprofen 200-400 mg every 4-6 hours: as needed for pain.

Mild-to-moderate pain: Ibuprofen 400-600 mg every 6 hours: fixed intervals for 24 hours. Then ibuprofen 400 mg every 4-6 hours: as needed for pain.

Moderate-to-severe pain: Ibuprofen 400-600 mg plus acetaminophen 500 mg every 6 hours: fixed intervals for 24 hours. Then ibuprofen 400 mg plus acetaminophen 500 mg every 6 hours: as needed for pain.

Severe pain: Ibuprofen 400-600 mg plus prescription pain medication as directed on label: fixed intervals for 24-48 hours. Then ibuprofen 400-600 mg plus acetaminophen 500 mg every 6 hours: as needed for pain.

  • Maximum dose for acetaminophen (Tylenol®) is 3000 mg/day.
  • Maximum dose of ibuprofen is 2400 mg/day. Higher maximal daily doses have been reported for osteoarthritis when prescribed under the direction of a physician.

Contact us if you develop any of the following:

  • a visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth, or if you develop a fever;
  • an allergic reaction to the medication, including rash, hives or itching (nausea is not an allergic reaction);
  • a return of original symptoms; or
  • your bite feels uneven.

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.

Your dentist or endodontist may periodically x-ray the tooth to monitor  healing. Six month or 1 year follow-ups are typical. You should receive a post card to remind you to schedule these appointments.

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.

If you have any questions, please call our office at (218) 727-7557.