What to Do After a Root Canal

A male patient smiling at dentist after his root canal treatment

Root canal therapy often takes two or more appointments to complete, and a temporary filling is placed to protect your tooth between appointments. After each appointment when anesthetic has been used, your lips, teeth, and tongue may be numb for several hours after the appointment. Avoid any chewing until the numbness has completely worn off. Be aware that between appointments it is common (and not a problem) if a small portion of your temporary filling wears off or breaks away.

Managing Pain & Discomfort

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. To further reduce pain and swelling, rinse three times a day with warm salt water; a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water, rinse-swish-spit. If antibiotics are prescribed, continue to take them as prescribed, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.

Root Canal Aftercare

To protect the tooth and help keep your temporary filling in place, avoid eating sticky foods (especially gum), hard foods, and if possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth while the area heals. It’s also important to continue to brush and floss normally to prevent infection or decay.

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 experience persistent swelling or pain, or have any other questions or concerns, please call our office.

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