Root Canal After Care Instructions

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Next Steps


What To Expect


Pain Management


Post-Treatment Instructions

Next steps – where are you in your treatment?

Your root canal is not complete

If your treatment requires more than one visit, it’s essential for you to return to our office as scheduled to complete the root canal.

  • Depending on how much anesthesia was used during your treatment, you will want to be cautious eating so as to prevent biting your cheek, lip, or tongue.
  • You will want to be selective in the foods you are eating so as not to provide too much force to your tooth until the final filling and/ or crown is placed, which will ultimately provide structural strength to your tooth.
  • Even if you were not experiencing any discomfort prior to treatment, it’s completely normal for you to experience some degree of tenderness for a few days.


Your root canal is completed with a temporary filling

The canal or canals have been sealed and your immune system must now have time to repair the damage that the original irritant produced.

  • Avoid chewing on the tooth until all tenderness is gone.
  • Although the roots are permanently sealed, the outer surface is filled with a temporary filling, which is only meant to last for several weeks. If this is the case, it is imperative to return to your general dentist as soon as possible for your permanent filling and or crown if needed.
  • A letter and copy of your final radiographs will be sent to your general dentist. Please contact your general dentist to schedule your permanent restoration (crown or filling) within one month, however, the sooner the better unless instructed otherwise.

Your root canal is completed with a permanent filling

Your root canal is now completed and we have placed a permanent filling in your tooth. If a crown is necessary, which is the case for all molars and some premolars/ anterior teeth, you will need to return to your dentist.

  • The canal or canals have been sealed and your immune system must be given time to repair the damage that the original irritant produced.
  • Avoid chewing on the tooth until the tenderness subsides.
  • A letter and copy of your final x-ray will be sent to your general dentist.

What to expect following treatment

As the anesthetic wears off, you may feel some tenderness and mild soreness in your jaw from keeping your mouth open for an extended period. These temporary symptoms usually respond well to over-the-counter medication.

After your procedure, wait until the numbness in your mouth wears off before eating to avoid biting your cheek, lips, or tongue. Be careful chewing on the treated tooth until it is fully restored (permanent filling or crown) to avoid damaging it. Remember to brush and floss daily as you normally would to keep the area clean and avoid infection.

Though you may experience a slightly different sensation from your treated tooth than your other teeth for some time, you should contact Dr. King immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain or pressure lasting more than a few days
  • Visible swelling inside or outside your mouth
  • An allergic reaction to any medication (rash, hives, or itching)
  • Your bite feels uneven
  • The temporary crown or filling, if one was put in place, comes out (losing a thin layer is normal)
  • Symptoms you experienced prior to treatment return

Pain Management Tips

Discomfort may be alleviated by one of these over-the-counter medications…

  • Ibuprofen/Advil 600mg every 6 hours- this is the gold standard for managing tooth pain
  • Tylenol Extra Strength 1000mg every 6 hrs
  • Aleve or Aspirin as directed

You can also try warm salt water rinses.

Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with the above medications or if swelling develops, please contact our office.

Post-Surgery Instructions


The medication prescribed for you will control the post-surgery discomfort. Take it exactly as directed on the label and do not exceed the dosage listed. Eating with the medication will minimize any nausea/upset stomach. Do not drink any alcohol or operate a motor vehicle or any machinery while taking narcotics.

Swelling & Bruising

It’s common for swelling and bruising to occur following endodontic surgery. This may begin anytime from immediately after surgery up to 2-3 days later. If swelling increases after the first day, especially if accompanied by fever and pain, contact our office immediately.

Ice Packs

To minimize swelling, apply ice packs over the surgery area: 30 mins on, 30 mins off. Repeat this cycle as much as possible for 24 hours post-surgery.


There should be no heavy bleeding following the surgery. It’s normal for some oozing to occur for several hours following the surgery which will cause the saliva to have a pink tinge.


Reduce activity as much as possible the first week following surgery. Be sure to rest.


You are advised not to smoke during the first 48 hours after surgery. However, smoking at all during the healing process poses a threat to reinfection and inhibition of healing.


A soft food diet is advisable for the first 2-3 days after the surgery. It is very important to maximize your intake of fluids. Avoid hot, spicy, and really hard foods. Avoid drinking through a straw for one week following surgery.

Oral Hygiene

Rinse the surgical area with one capful of Peridex twice a day until the bottle is empty (morning and night). Do not swallow the mouth rinse. DO NOT brush the surgical area for 3 days but do brush all other areas in your usual manner.


Sutures will be removed about one week after surgery. Avoid lifting or unnecessarily exercising your lip. It is possible to accidentally tear or loosen the sutures thus opening the incision and delaying healing.

Save Your Smile, Comfortably

We’re proud to be highly referred to by dentists throughout the greater Atlanta area, but a dentist referral is not necessary to make an appointment. We’ll provide answers to your questions or even a second opinion.

Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Or learn more about becoming a patient.

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