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Microsoft word - endodontic _root canal_ treatment
Post Treatment Instructions for Endodontic (root canal) Treatment
What to Expect:
1. It is not uncommon for the tooth to still be uncomfortable in the first few days following treatment.
The area around the tip of the root(s) of the tooth needs time to heal. Your dentist may have
given you prescriptions for pain medication and/or antibiotics. Taking theses prescriptions as
prescribed will make you more comfortable while healing occurs.
2. Your tooth may be sensitive to biting pressure and may feel loose for several days. This is not
abnormal and should last only a few days.
3. You may feel a depression or rough area (on the top of a back tooth or the back of a front tooth)
where the access to the pulp was made. This is a soft, temporary filling material that was placed
to temporarily close the opening. The material may wear as you chew on it, but it extends far into
4. Occasionally a small "bubble" or "pimple" will appear on the gum a few days after treatment. This
represents the release of pressure and bacteria from the infected area around the tip of the root
of the tooth. It should disappear within a few days as healing progresses.
5. It is normal for it to take a few days for your symptoms to subside. The important factor is that the
tooth should gradually feel better by 3 to 4 days following treatment. In general, the longer the
pain was present prior to treatment, the longer it will take to subside.
What You Should Do or Not Do
1. If you were given prescriptions for antibiotics (Penicillin, Keflex, Erythromycin, Clindamycin, etc.)
and/or pain medications (Vicodin, Tylenol #3, Darvocet, Ultracet, Lortab, Motrin, etc.) please fill
them immediately and begin taking them as prescribed. You should begin the pain medication as
soon as possible and not later than one hour after your appointment in order to allow it to take
2. Take the full course of the antibiotics (usually 7 or 10 days) even if the tooth begins to feel better
before you finish them. In general, it is best not to take both the antibiotic and the pain medication
at the same time because this can cause gastrointestinal problems. For the same reason, it is
best if you do not take the medications on an empty stomach unless the instructions specifically
state to take on an empty stomach. The pharmacist will give you a sheet for each medication that
lists precautions and side effects. Please read these sheets. Be particularly careful when taking
pain medications, because they can make you drowsy. You should not operate an automobile or
other machinery when taking these medications. If your discomfort is minimal, and you do not feel
that you need the prescription strength pain medication, over-the-counter pain medications like
ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin, etc.) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) may be adequate.
3. Eat soft nutritious foods or liquids at regular meal times. You need nutrition to promote healing,
maintain blood sugar levels, and make you feel better. Failure to maintain proper nutrition also
leads to increased side effects from medications.
4. In order decrease discomfort, try to chew on the opposite side from the tooth that was treated and
avoid unnecessary chewing (chewing gum, etc.).
5. Avoid hard foods that may fracture the tooth or temporary filling.
6. Avoid sticky foods (caramels, taffy, etc.) which could dislodge your temporary filling.
7. Brush and floss your teeth as normal.
Please contact your doctor if:
1. You have significant side effects from your medications that you cannot tolerate (itching,
2. Your encounter significant post-treatment swelling.
3. More than three days after treatment, you are experiencing no improvement in your symptoms.
5. The temporary filling material is dislodged or feels "high" when biting.
6. You body temperature goes above 101 degrees.
Teeth that have had root canal treatment normally need to have a crown (cap) placed on them as
soon as possible after the treatment is completed---unless advised otherwise by your dentist. This
prevents the fracture of the already brittle and damaged tooth. The most common cause of the
loss of a root canal treated tooth is failure to have a crown placed. Failure to do so makes the
tooth much more prone to fracture and/or become re-infected due to deterioration of the root
canal seal. The root canal is only the first step. Treatment is not complete until the crown is
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