After Root Canal Therapy



What To Expect:

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 fairly quickly.  Your tooth will be sensitive to biting pressure and may even appear to feel loose.  This feeling is a result of the sensitivity of nerve endings in the tissue just outside the end of the root, where we cleaned, irrigated and placed filler and sealer material.  This sensitivity should be short- lived.  You may feel a depression or rough area on your tooth where the access was made.  There is a soft, temporary material in that area.  This temporary material may wear away to some degree before you next visit to restore your tooth with a more permanent filling.  Occasionally, a small “bubble” or “pimple” may appear on the gum tissue within a few days after completion of a root canal.  This is the body’s way of healing and it should disappear within a few days.


What To Do:

We recommend you take something for pain relief within one hour of leaving our office, so you get the medication into your blood system before the anesthesia wears off.  We recommend starting with 800 mg ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) followed by two acetaminophen (Extra Strength Tylenol) two to three hours later.  Continue taking 800mg ibuprofen every eight hours and acetaminophen in between ibuprofen doses for the next 24 to 48 hours.  This not only lessens the discomfort but also reduces the swelling and speeds healing.  Aspirin and aspirin-containing products are not advisable, as they tend to increase bleeding from the area that was treated.  Whenever possible, try to chew on the opposite side from the tooth we have just treated until you have a permanent restoration placed.  Until that time, your tooth still is weakened and could fracture.  Please avoid chewing gum, caramel or other sticky foods as well as hard foods.  They could dislodge the temporary material or fracture your tooth.


Please Call Us If:

  • You are experiencing symptoms more intense or of longer duration than those described above.
  • You encounter significant post- operative sensitivity or swelling.
  • The temporary material is dislodged, feels loose, or feels “high” when biting.
  • Your tooth fractures.
  • You have any questions at all.

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