Post Operative Care

Taking the correct steps after your endodontic procedure is crucial to making sure the treatment is successful. Failure to follow post-op instructions could cause the tooth to get reinfected or fracture. 

Post Operative Care

Anesthesia 

You can expect that the “numb feeling” will begin to subside 2-5 hours after treatment is rendered. 

 

Pain Expectations 

As the anesthetic wears off, you are likely to experience tenderness/discomfort in your tooth, gums, and/or jaw. This is completely normal as your body needs time to heal. In general, symptoms tend to be related to the amount of pain you had prior to the procedure and the extent of infection that was present. Post-operative pain is a normal occurrence for 7-10 days. However, every person and every tooth is different. Some patients, generally with large infections, may experience discomfort for up to 2 weeks. 

 

Pain Control via Medications 

Routine/daily medications should be taken as usual unless you have been instructed by your doctor not to do so. 

Antibiotics treat bacterial infections and need to be taken until completion. NSAIDS (Aleve, Advil, Ibuprofen) decrease inflammation and reduce pain. Narcotics, if indicated, should be used in conjunction with NSAIDS to relieve pain. 

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not an NSAID. It helps with minor pain, but does not decrease inflammation or swelling. It should not be used with narcotic pain pills as many already include Tylenol (APAP). 

Always read the labels on your medications and be aware of what you are taking. Make sure that you do not exceed the maximum recommended daily doses. 

 

Swelling 

When procedures are completed in infected teeth, facial and/or gum swelling may occur. If you were prescribed an antibiotic, take as directed and finish the entire course. Otherwise, contact our office. 

*If significant swelling occurs and you have difficulty breathing or swallowing, please contact our office immediately and prepare to proceed to your nearest emergency room for emergency treatment. While this situation rarely occurs, a compromised airway is considered a medical emergency and needs immediate attention. 

 

Manage treated area or tooth with care

We recommend eating soft foods and chewing on the other side of your mouth until your dentist can place a permanent restoration. Teeth that have had a root canal are fragile and protecting your tooth from biting forces minimizes the risk that you will develop a fracture. No sticky, or hard foods should be consumed at this time. Additionally, your gum tissue will heal faster and the temporary filling will stay in place longer if you avoid biting on the tooth in question. 

 

Restoring Your Root Canal Treated Tooth

Our work (root canal) is only as good as the restoration that is placed on top, sealing it from food and bacteria in your mouth. It is extremely important for you to see your general dentist within 30 days of having the procedure completed to have a permanent restoration (filling, crown) placed. If your tooth had a crown prior to treatment, you will be informed of any imperfections and the possible need of replacement. 

 

Temporary Filling 

Your tooth was restored with a temporary filling so that your dentist can easily remove the material without a lot of drilling. If you are concerned that the filling has dislodged, either contact our office for a replacement or see your dentist for the permanent restoration. Above all, avoid chewing on the tooth until it is permanently sealed.