What To Expect Following Root Canal Therapy

After Treatment

Your endodontic (root canal) treatment is now complete. Taking an analgesic before the numbness wears off may help maintain an acceptable comfort level. Please wait to eat or drink on the affected side until after the numbness has worn away. Please do not chew or attempt to eat on the affected side while you are still numb.


Discomfort or soreness in the area is normal for a few days (or even weeks) and will range from mild to severe. This occurs because of existing infection and inflammation of the gum and tooth ligaments as well as the manipulation of the tooth during treatment. The gums may be sore and the tooth is often tender to biting or chewing. Over the counter analgesics such as ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, aspirin, Motrin, Excedrin, and Tylenol should relieve most of the discomfort.

We recommend 600 mg. of ibuprofen and 1 extra strength Tylenol together every 6 hours as needed. The maximum that can be taken is 800 mg. of ibuprofen with 1000 mg. of Tylenol every 6 hours. Rinsing with warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt per glass of warm water) will help. Discomfort in the area in no way affects the successful outcome of treatment.

If antibiotics and/or pain medications were prescribed, please take them as directed. If you were given a prescription for pain, it is meant to help you with more serious discomfort only for a couple of days. In the unlikely event that swelling, fever, or severe pain should occur, please call the office promptly.

Temporary Filling

A temporary filling has been placed in the entry made into your tooth. It is normal for a thin layer of the temporary filling to be worn away between appointments. An unusual taste can be expected. Should all of the temporary filling come out, please call our office. It is important that your temporary filling stays intact until the placement of a permanent restoration.

Final Restorations

IF AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR DENTIST TO PLACE A FINAL RESTORATION HAS NOT BEEN MADE, PLEASE SCHEDULE THIS APPOINTMENT PROMPTLY. Your dentist will evaluate the tooth and determine the appropriate final restoration to protect the tooth from potential fracture, decay and/or contamination of the root canal filling. Delay may result in possible loss of the tooth or require retreatment of the root canal.


A periodic recall examination is often recommended to be sure that healing is progressing well and that normal function of your tooth is restored. This may not be necessary for all cases. If we do advise returning for a recall appointment, we will contact you. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to call our office for consultation.