This sheet will go over some information about what to expect for the next few weeks now that the root canal procedure has been completed. Please follow the instructions outlined below, and contact us should any questions or problems arise.

  1. DO NOT bite or chew anything until the numbness wears off. You could easily bite your tongue or cheek.
  2. You should have a permanent filling or a crown placed on your tooth within 1 MONTH of the root canal being completed. It is essential for you to follow up with your dentist on this. If this is not done the tooth is likely to fracture or could develop new decay around the temporary filling, which could cause your root canal to fail. This is very important--you will be responsible for all costs incurred if you fail to follow this instruction.
  3. DO NOT use the tooth to bite down on anything hard (peanuts, pretzels, candy, ice, etc.) until the permanent filing/crown has been placed on the tooth. The tooth is prone to fracture and if you bite down on anything hard or crunchy you could possibly crack the tooth.
  4. It is normal for the temporary filling to “divot” in with use. It is very rare for it to fall out entirely. If the temporary filling does come out you should contact us, or your general dentist as soon as possible. If it happens when our office is closed, we recommend you purchase some temporary filling material from a pharmacy and place a dab in the tooth until you have an opportunity to see us at our office.
  5. Some minor discomfort in the area is normal following the root canal procedure. It is normal for the tooth to be un-comfortable for several days after treatment. Your tooth will take some time to heal.  Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, the tooth and surrounding tissues may remain sore for a week post treatment. The most common reasons for post treatment pain are:
    • sore jaw joint from having your mouth open for a prolonged time.
    • sore muscle from the anesthetic injection site.
    • sore gum from the rubber dam placement.
    • inflammation/infection in the bone around the tooth.
  6. WHAT DO I DO ABOUT PAIN?  It can be handled primarily with over the counter medications. We recommend you take: 600mg ibuprofen (3 Advil or the generic equivalent) AND 500mg Acetaminophen (1 Tylenol) every 4-6 hours as needed for pain.  Take these at the same time.  Studies have shown that this works better than taking hydrocodone prescription medication; without the same potential for nausea, dizziness, addiction, etc.
  7. If you are unable to take ibuprofen take 1000mg Acetaminophen (2 extra strength Tylenol) every 6 hours as needed for pain.
  8. 90% of the time this is enough to manage your discomfort. If it is not, please contact our office and we will discuss other prescription options.
  9. If you are given prescription medications related to this treatment please take them as instructed by our office.
  10. You may brush your tooth as normal, unless told otherwise by the dentist.


Although about 90% of root canals cause little discomfort after treatment is completed, there are some cases which can cause significant pain. They mostly occur on badly infected/abscessed teeth, teeth that are extremely irritated, or teeth that have a history of prior endodontic treatment (retreatment).  Sometimes however, they occur randomly, even on patients that have had successful root canal procedures performed previously without problems.  Every tooth and every situation is different.

If you have a flare-up you may experience moderate to severe pain, swelling, bruising, throbbing, and general discomfort, which could last for several days.  Please contact our office if you experience any of these symptoms and we will do everything we possibly can to get you some relief. You may be prescribed antibiotics, stronger pain medication, a steroid prescription, and/or you may be asked to come to the office to receive further therapy.  Please call if you need us to help.