Instructions Following Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy often takes two or more appointments to complete. A temporary filling or crown is placed to protect the tooth between appointments.

After each appointment when anesthetic has been used, your lips, teeth and tongue may be numb for several hours. Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off.

Between appointments, it's common (and not a problem) for a small portion of your temporary filling to wear away or break off. If the entire filling falls out, or if a temporary crown comes off, call our office so it can be replaced.

It's normal to experience some discomfort for several days (typically 2-5 days) after a root canal appointment, especially when chewing. To help minimize this tenderness, please do not chew on the side that the root canal therapy was done – please only chew on the opposite side (chewing on the treated side will possibly cause the discomfort to last longer). To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended by Dr. Patel. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.

To further reduce pain and swelling, rinse three times a day with warm salt water; dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, then rinse, swish, and spit.

To protect the tooth and help keep your temporary in place:

  • Avoid chewing sticky foods (especially gum).
  • Avoid hard foods and hard substances, such as ice, fingernails and pencils.
  • If possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.

It's important to continue to brush and floss normally. Usually, the last step after root canal treatment is the placement of a crown on the tooth. A crown covers and protects the tooth from breaking in the future.

If your bite feels uneven, you have persistent pain, or you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call our office.


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