After Endodontic Treatment FAQ

What should you expect after a root canal?

Typically, you will experience some discomfort for two to three days. Following this the tooth may still be tender to chewing for a few more days. Usually the amount of pretreatment pain is a good indicator of the amount of discomfort you will experience following the root canal procedure. While this is the norm, it is not uncommon to be sore for up to two weeks. As long as the tenderness is gradually getting better, you should not be concerned.

  • The discomfort you do experience is due to inflammation of the Periodontal Ligament, which is between the tooth and the bone. This was inflamed prior to the root canal treatment, and the procedures performed today also caused some inflammation to occur.
  • Try and avoid chewing on the treated tooth for a few days so that the inflammation will hopefully subside more quickly.
  • It is very important that you take the Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as recommended (unless you are unable to take Ibuprofen) and any other medications as prescribed. We recommend 600 mg. every 6 hours for 4 days . The Ibuprofen does two things for you: 1. It serves as pain medication and thus decreases your discomfort 2. It is a strong anti-inflammatory medication, so it speeds the healing process.
  • A report of your treatment along with a final x-ray will be forwarded to your family dentist. If we did not place a permanent filling in the tooth, it is important that you return to your family dentist to have that done. Many times a tooth that has had a root canal needs to have a crown. Your dentist is best qualified to determine what the best restoration for the tooth is.
  • It is important that the tooth is permanently restored; otherwise the long-term success of the root canal treatment will be compromised.

What should you Expect after an Apicoectomy?

  • Please go directly home and take it easy the rest of today.
  • Apply an ice bag to your face over the area that was treated. Alternate 20 minutes on and then 20 minutes off for 6 to 8 hours.  This will help minimize any swelling.  Swelling and bruising may still occur.  The swelling may be worse in the morning when you get up, and then get better through the day.
  • Take Ibuprofen as instructed. The Ibuprofen does two things for you, it helps control any discomfort and it is a strong anti-inflammatory agent so it will help in the healing process.
  • Take the antibiotics as instructed on the package until they are all gone.
  • Use the Chlorhexidine mouth rinse two times daily until the bottle is empty. Use the rinse in the morning after eating breakfast and brushing your teeth and also the last thing before you go to bed.  If you eat or drink anything within about 45 minutes of using the rinse you will get a bad aftertaste.  It is very important to use this rinse until it is gone, because it speeds up the healing process significantly due to the antibacterial action.
  • Do not use any other types of mouth rinses because many of them contain a much higher percentage of alcohol than the Chlorhexidine does and can burn the healing tissue.
  • Starting the day after surgery, you can brush your teeth as usual. Please be careful around the area of surgery.
  • Please do not pull on the lip or cheek to look at the area of surgery. This can dislodge the healing tissue and significantly delay healing.
  • Avoid chewing on the teeth in the area of the surgery. Be especially careful with hard foods.
  • If you smoke, please refrain from smoking for 48 hours. This is extremely important!  The longer you go without smoking, the faster it will heal.

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