Instructions after Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy, often called Endodontic Treatment, 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 dental office so it can be replaced.

It’s normal to experience some discomfort for several days after a root canal appointment, especially when chewing. To control discomfort, take pain medication as recommended. 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-spit.

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

    -Avoid eating 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 permanent crown on the tooth. A crown covers and protects the tooth from breaking in the future.

If you have persistent or unusual pain, or you have any other questions or concerns, please call our office.

Caring for your temporary restoration

Your temporary is made to last for at least a few weeks. This allows us to evaluate any potential problems prior to your final restoration.


The temporary must stay on:
Your temporary is held on with strong cement. Occasionally, it may loosen or come off before it should. If this happens, the tooth may move, become sensitive or cause inflammation. Any of these conditions may prevent timely placement of the final restoration.

To prevent loosening:
Be careful with biting and chewing foods. Avoid hard, tough, crunchy and/or sticky foods. Floss carefully. Avoid pulling up or down on the temporary. After introducing the floss between the teeth, merely pull the floss out the side.

What to do if it comes off:
Call us. We would like to recement it for you in a timely manner. If you cannot come in, replace the temporary with finger pressure or secure it with a small amount of denture adhesive such as Poli-Grip or Fixodent.

The tissue around your temporary must be kept very clean and healthy:
Flossing and brushing are the most important things you can do to insure good tissue health. If you were prescribed PerioGard, it was to improve the tissue health and to facilitate the placement of the final restoration. Dip your brush in a small amount of the solution; massage it into the tissue around the tooth for 20 seconds, twice daily.

Normal Expectations:

    – Some tenderness
    – Some soreness, but only for a few days.