Root Canal Post-Operative Instructions

Parts of your mouth may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid chewing and hot beverages until the numbness has worn off. You may feel some tenderness in the area for a few days as everything heals and some mild soreness in your jaw from keeping your mouth open for an extended period of time during the procedure. These temporary symptoms usually respond well to over-the-counter medication but your doctor may prescribe stronger narcotic medication as well.

It is normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal procedure. This can occur because of the existing infection and inflammation of the gum and tooth ligaments, as well as the instrumentation of the tooth during treatment. The gums may be sore and the tooth is often tender to biting or chewing. Over the counter analgesics such as Ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, Aspirin, Motrin, Excedrin and Tylenol should relieve most of the discomfort. Discomfort in the area in no way affects the outcome of treatment. To control discomfort, take any pain medication prescribed by the dentist. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them as directed (until completion), even if all signs and symptoms of infection are gone. Taking ibuprofen before the numbness wears off can greatly reduce post-operative pain. 

Between appointments, a temporary filling may be placed to protect the tooth. It is common (and not a problem) for a small portion of your temporary filling to wear away or break off. To protect the tooth and keep the temporary filling in place, avoid eating hard or sticky foods (such as nuts, hard rolls, gums), and try to chew on the other side of your mouth. Continue to brush and floss normally. If the entire filling falls out, please call our office and set up a time to come in and have it replaced. 

Usually, the last step in a root canal is the placement of a crown or permanent filling in the tooth. Don’t chew or bite down on the treated tooth until it is fully restored to avoid damaging it. A crown will protect the tooth from breaking in the future. Delay in obtaining a final restoration may result in fracture and/or possible loss of the tooth or require retreatment of the root canal.   

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