Following Your Root Canal Treatment
Now that your endodontic procedure has been completed please follow these recommendations to best ensure your comfort as well as to provide the most appropriate follow up care for the involved tooth.
- Your root canal procedure has been performed under local anesthesia. This means that you may continue to feel numb on the affected side of the mouth for a couple of hours following your appointment. Please take care to avoid eating or drinking anything hot as you may not feel the heat and unintentionally burn your lips or the inside of your mouth.
- You may experience some discomfort or swelling in the area of the tooth that has been treated. Your gums may be sore and your tooth may feel tender when biting or chewing. These symptoms commonly occur for a few days following the procedure, but may linger for a few weeks. It is helpful to chew on the other side of the mouth until symptoms have resolved and a more permanent restoration is in place.
- If your medical history will allow you to take ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin (e.g., Advil, Aleve, or Bayer), we recommend that you take ibuprofen 600 mg (with food) every 6 hours for up to 3 days. We recommend breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. If you cannot take ibuprofen or aspirin, you may substitute acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed. If you have been prescribed a narcotic analgesic that contains Tylenol, you may substitute this medication for the regular Tylenol. Please do not mix the narcotic/Tylenol combo with regular Tylenol. Depending on your health, the maximum dose of Tylenol that can be safely taken in one day is 4000mg. Soaking your mouth with warm salt water rinses (tablespoon of table salt in a warm glass of water) can reduce inflammation. Ice packs utilized over the affected area can reduce inflammation. Do not place heat packs or a heating pad for this can lead to swelling. NOTE: Alcohol intake is not advised while taking any of these medications.
- Please take any other prescribed medications (antibiotics and/or pain medications) as directed. Notify our office promptly of any problems that arise with taking these medications. In addition, if you experience swelling, fever, or severe pain, please contact our office immediately.
- Your general dentist will receive a complete post-operative report indicating what type of procedure has been performed and that it has been completed. We will typically place a filling to seal the opening to your tooth once your root canal procedure is finished. If you don't have a crown it is very important to contact your regular dentist in the weeks subsequent to the completion of your root canal and set up an appointment for the fabrication and placement of a permanent restoration. Your dentist will recommend the best way to restore optimal strength, form and function to your tooth. Often a full coverage crown is the best way to guard against a fracture or reinfection that could once again compromise the tooth. We recommend that you set up an appointment with your general dentist within the next 2-4 weeks to begin the restorative process. Waiting too long, or an extensive delay in obtaining a final restoration for your tooth may result in a fracture, failure of the root canal, or even the loss of the tooth.
- A re-evaluation of the treated area may be indicated within 6-12 months following the procedure. A phone call or post card in the mail will be sent to advise you to schedule this appointment.