Root canal therapy is a last attempt to save a tooth. Keep in mind not all teeth are maintained even after root canal treatment. Therapy can take 1 or 2 appointments depending on each case. A temporary filling is placed to protect the tooth between appointments. When your root canal is complete, the canals inside the roots of your tooth will be cleaned, irrigated, medicated and permanently sealed.

What to expect:

1. It is not uncommon for a tooth to be uncomfortable or even exhibit a dull ache immediately after receiving root-canal therapy. This is created by inflammation and swelling that naturally occurs in the healing process. This should subside within a few days (or even weeks).

2. Your tooth will be sensitive to biting pressure and may even appear to feel loose. This feeling is a result of the sensitivity of nerve-endings in the tissue just outside the end of the root, where we cleaned, irrigated and placed filler and sealer material. As a bruise hurts when you touch it, discomfort in this area for a few days to a couple of weeks is common. Warm salt-water rinses for the next two days will help. Avoid chewing on this side until all tenderness is gone.

3. Occasionally, a small “bubble” or “pimple” will appear on the gum tissue within a few days after completion of a root canal. This represents the release of pressure and bacteria which no longer can be sustained around the tooth. This should disappear within a few days.

4. The gums may be sore and the tooth may be tender when biting or chewing. These conditions exist because the nerves around the tooth have been inflamed because of the conditions that existed before treatment was started and due to the manipulation of the tooth during treatment.

5.  Between appointments it is 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 us so that it can be replaced. To protect the tooth and help keep your temporary in place, avoid eating sticky foods (especially gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.

What to do:

1. Please DO NOT chew or attempt to eat on the side of your mouth that has been worked on while still numb.

2. To reduce swelling, rinse three times a day with warm salt water (a tea spoon of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit).

3. Sleep with your head in an elevated position for the first few nights if possible.

4. Please take any prescribed medication as directed. If you are given antibiotics, please take the full course of medication until finished. If you were given a prescription for pain, it is meant to help you with more serious discomfort only for a couple of days.

5. Whenever possible, try to chew on the opposite side from the tooth we have just treated, until you have a crown place. Please avoid crunchy or hard foods which could cause the tooth without a crown to fracture.

6. We recommend you take something for pain-relief within one hour of leaving our office, to get the medication into your blood system before the anesthesia we administered begins to subside. Generally, only one dose is needed. We recommend to take ibuprofen (Nuprin, Advil, Motrin)-600 mg (three tablets), alternating with 1000mg, of Tylenol for the next 3-4 days to help control the sensitivity in this area. Aspirin and aspirin-containing products are NOT advisable, as they tend to increase bleeding from the area that was treated.

Remember: Delay in obtaining a final restoration (crown) may result in fracture and/or possible loss of the tooth! Please call Willowdaile Family Dentistry with any questions or concerns you might have. We’re always here to help!