By saving your tooth with endodontic treatment, you have made a significant step towards better oral health. This guide is intended to answer questions you may have about the post-operative period and to give you information on how to preserve the health of your tooth following root canal treatment.
What to Expect Following Endodontic Treatment
The root canal system inside your tooth has been thoroughly cleaned, and the irritated tissue and the bacteria that caused you to need endodontic treatment have been removed.
It is normal to feel some tenderness in the area over the next few days as your body undergoes the natural healing process.
You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open for an extended period of time.
These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to over-the-counter pain medications.
It is important for you to follow your endodontist’s instructions on how to take these medications. Prescription pain relievers are very rarely necessary. Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment has been completed. However, if you have severe pain, contact your endodontist.
Guidelines for Post-Treatment
- Do not eat anything or drink hot beverages until the numbness in your mouth wears off. This will prevent you from biting your cheek or tongue.
- Do not chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have had it restored by your dentist.
- You may find it helpful to use warm compresses or a heating pad on the outside of your face if you experience muscle soreness or jaw pain.
- Be sure to brush and floss your teeth as you normally would unless otherwise instructed by your endodontist.
- If the opening in your tooth was restored with a temporary filling material, It is not unusual for a thin layer to wear off between appointments. However, if you think the entire filling has come out,contact your endodontist.
- Contact your endodontist right away if you experience any of the following:
- a visible swelling inside or outside of your mouth; an allergic reaction to medication, including rash, hives or itching (nausea is not an allergic reaction); a return of original symptoms; or your bite feels uneven.
Taking Care of Your Tooth
Endodontic treatment is only one step in returning your tooth to full function. A proper final restoration of the tooth is extremely important to ensure long term success. Contact your dentist within two weeks to arrange your next appointment. If your tooth is being treated in more than one visit by an endodontist, do not return to your dentist for the final restoration until the root canal treatment is completed.
What the Future Holds
The tooth that has undergone appropriate endodontic treatment followed by a proper restoration can last as long as your other natural teeth. After the tooth has been restored, you need only practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, regular checkups and cleanings. Your dentist or endodontist may X-ray the tooth periodically to ensure that healing has occurred. Occasionally, an endodontically treated tooth does not heal or pain continues. At times, the tooth may become painful or diseased months or even years after successful treatment. Often when this occurs, repeating the endodontic procedure or performing endodontic surgery can save the tooth.