Post operative care instructions

Root Canal Therapy

Some discomfort following the procedure is very normal. This discomfort can be due to: (1) soreness from the injection and treatment sites, as well as (2) a normal inflammatory response that can form in the bone and ligament surrounding the tooth as a result of the procedure. This discomfort usually lasts for only a few days, but can linger for up to 1-2 weeks. Some teeth that had more serious and larger infections can take several weeks or months to fully return to normal.

  • Unless your physician has instructed you otherwise, we recommend taking Ibuprofen (aka Advil, Motrin) to help address any pain. A safe dosing regiment to follow is to take 800 mg of Ibuprofen every 6 hours (do not exceed 3200mg in a day).
  • Unless you physician has instructed you otherwise, you can also take Tylenol (acetaminophen) with the Ibuprofen. A safe dosing regiment to take 500mg every 6 hours (do not exceed 3000 mg in a day)
  • The most effective regiment for pain control is to start with 600-800mg of Ibuprofen. 3 hours later, take 500mg of Tylenol. 3 hours later, take Ibuprofen again. Repeat this every 3 hours until pain improves.

Follow up with your general dentist within 4 weeks for a final restoration for the tooth. Most root canal treated teeth will be temporarily sealed at the end of the procedure with a provisional restoration that will require replacement with something permanent. Unless told otherwise, please try and return to your general dentist as soon as possible AFTER symptoms with the tooth have resolved.

  • Temporary filling material only reliably seals for approximately 6 weeks.
  • You can brush and floss like normal around temporary fillings. You may notice some gritty material coming from the area of the tooth. Very rarely, the temporary filling may complete dislodge. Please contact your dentist or our office should this happen.

Please be careful when chewing. Please do not eat or chew on the tooth until at minimum 30 minutes from the end of the procedure. Until a final restoration or crown has been placed on the tooth, the tooth can be susceptible to fracturing. In order to prevent this, please try and chew as much as possible on the opposite side until you see your general dentist.

When to call us:

  • You experience severe pain and/or swelling in the area. Approximately 2-3% of root canal treated teeth may experience a more intense inflammatory episode following treatment called a “flare-up”. This is still a normal inflammatory response, but can be very uncomfortable if it occurs.
  • Symptoms do not noticeably improve within 2 weeks
  • Numbness that lasts for longer than 24 hours
  • You have any concerns or questions about your treatment




  • Use your provided ice pack as much a possible following the procedureswelling and bruising are very normal following surgery. The ice pack can help reduce amount of swelling and can improve discomfort by reducing inflammation in the area.
  • Pain and discomfort is normal. You have been provided a stronger pain prescription to help manage symptoms. Unless your healthcare provider has recommended otherwise, you can try taking 800mg of Ibuprofen every 6 hours for pain first. The stronger pain medicine will not interfere with Ibuprofen and can be taken in addition to it.
  • Bleeding and oozing from the surgical area is normal for the first 1-2 days. You can try gently placing a wet teabag in the area to help with the bleeding. You can also rinse with water, or salt water as needed to flush the area.
  • Do not brush your teeth in the area where you had the surgery for 1-2 weeks. A prescription for a strong, antibacterial mouth rinse was provided to you to help keep the area clean. Please do brush and floss all of your other teeth normally. Please do not use the prescription mouthwash for longer than 2 weeks as teeth staining can occur (don’t worry, even if this does happen, it can be removed with a dental cleaning).
  • Avoid eating near the surgical site and looking in the area. Try to leave the surgical area alone – this means no pulling on your lip or cheek to take a glance. There are very tiny stitches in the area that are holding things in place and we don’t want any risk of them being disturbed by movement.
  • You may need to return for a quick appointment to remove stitches. We use two types of stitches – one that dissolves on its own after 3-4 days, and one that requires removal in approximately 2 weeks. Your Dr will have reviewed with you which one was used for your procedure and follow-up care instructions for it.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the office.

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