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Post-Operative Instructions

What To Expect Following Endodontic (Root Canal) Therapy

  1. It is not uncommon for a tooth to be uncomfortable or even exhibit a dull ache immediately after receiving root canal therapy.  This should subside within a few days.
  2. Your tooth will be sensitive to biting pressure and may even appear to feel loose.  This feeling is a result of the sensitivity/inflammation of nerve-endings and surrounding tissue just outside the end of the root(s) that were treated.  This is normal and will become progressively more comfortable within a few days.
  3. You may feel a rough area (on the top surface of a back tooth or on the back surface of a front tooth), where the access was made and sealed with a temporary filling.  The temporary filling seals and protects the root canal treatment from becoming contaminated and re-infected between appointments.  If the filling comes out or sinks down in the tooth it is important to contact our office to replace the filling to ensure the root canal therapy remains protected.
  4. A small percentage of patients may experience severe post-treatment pain and/or swelling in the area that was treated.  If this occurs, please call our office immediately so we may address this problem.

What To Do Following Endodontic (Root Canal) Therapy

  1. We recommend that you take an analgesic medication for pain-relief within one hour of leaving our office to allow the medication to be effective before the anesthesia administered begins to subside.  Generally only a single dose is required; however, some people may require pain-relieving medication over the next several days.
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) 400-800mg every 6 hours (not to exceed 3200mg/day) is recommended for patients able to take, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, or aspirin.
    • For people unable to take ibuprofen, non-steroidal medications, or aspirin, then Acetaminophen (Tylenol) 1000mg every 6 hours (not to exceed 4000mg/day) is recommended.  The consumption of alcohol is not recommended while taking acetaminophen or medications containing acetaminophen.
  2. Minimize chewing on the affected tooth until your root canal therapy is complete and your dentist has placed a final restoration on your tooth.  This is to avoid damage to the tooth.
  3. Please contact your dentist to have your tooth restored within 1-2 weeks following completion of your root canal therapy.  If the tooth does not get the necessary final restoration and the temporary filling wear out, the root canal will become infected and need re-treatment or extraction. That is why it is extremely important to follow up with your general dentist immediately.

The office telephone is answered day and night. If you need to call after hours, please have your pharmacy number available.  If you have any questions, please call our office at (650) 369-2555.