Post-Treatment FAQs

Now that my root canal is done, what else do I need to do?

The final step in the root canal process is to receive your permanent restoration. You will be instructed to return to your general dentist to receive the permanent restoration which is usually a crown or a stronger filling.

Will there be any lingering pain or sensation?

Any major pains or sensitivity should subside within a day or two of treatment. You should not experience pain in the tooth, but may have soreness in the areas of the jaw where anesthesia was administered or where infection was previously present. Such soreness can be alleviated with Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), acetaminophen (Tylenol), Aleve or Aspirin. Do not use these medications if you are sensitive or allergic to them. Full recovery can be expected in about 1 to 6 weeks. Note that you will still experience sensations around the tooth due to nerves that lie in your jawbone beneath the tooth.

What should I do if I still experience pain?

If you still experience major pains 2-3 days after treatment that is not controlled by medications, you should call your endodontist and review your concerns.

Will I be given antibiotics or pain medication?

Most root canal procedures will not require antibiotics or pain medication. Regular over the counter medications should usually suffice. In cases where there is excessive infection, the doctor may give antibiotics to combat the infection. Prescription pain medications are usually only given to patients who have had severe preoperative pain.

How long before the numbness wears off?

Depending on how long the procedure was and how much anesthesia was given, the post operative numbness usually lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Some patients may experience longer bouts of numbness, but this should not last more than 12 hours.

How long must I wait before eating?

You may begin eating 30 minutes after treatment. Take care not to chew on the tooth directly. It is better to keep hard foods away from that area of your mouth until you have restored the tooth permanently.

Can I go back to work immediately?

If you do not feel dizzy or nauseated you may return to work when you are ready. The numbness following treatment is normal and will wear off in a few hours. However, if you have taken an anti-anxiety premedication, it can cause drowsiness and you are required to arrange transportation to and from the office. It is not recommended that you return to work or operate any heavy machinery for the remainder of the day.

What happens if I do not restore the tooth in the recommended time?

As with any work, it must be done properly in order to ensure success. A tooth without a permanent restoration is susceptible to reinfection or contamination. Additionally, a tooth may fracture and subsequently become non-restorable rendering the root canal performed useless.

Will my tooth discolor after root canal treatment?

Modern materials and techniques do not discolor treated teeth. Older root canals may be discolored due to further bacterial growth underneath the restoration. Such cases should be seen by your general dentist for recommendations.