Home Care Instructions

Non-surgical Root Canal Therapy

Proper endodontic treatment requires one or more appointments during which the root canal space inside your tooth is cleaned, shaped, disinfected, and filled with a permanent filling material. Complete healing cannot take place until these procedures have been completed.


Today you have received ROOT CANAL THERAPY. Soreness is normal and can usually be controlled by taking 600mg of ibuprofen (Advil) every six hours, (not to exceed a total of 2400mg in a 24 hour period). Tylenol (or any other type of over the counter analgesic) may be used if you can not take ibuprofen. The area may remain tender for several days, and occasionally for a few weeks. Rinsing the area with warm salt water will aid in healing the area. PLEASE DO NOT USE A HEATING PAD ON THE OUTSIDE OF YOUR FACE. This could cause swelling in the area.


After selected cases, we will place a permanent restoration in your tooth to eliminate the need for a second visit with your restorative dentist.  Most cases will be restored with a temporary filling.  Those cases with a temporary filling will require a permanent restoration or crown to be placed by your restorative dentist as soon as possible.  Cases not restored properly will develop complications necessitating extra procedures or extraction of the treated tooth. If you experience loss of the temporary filling, please call our office or your general dentist. PLEASE DO NOT CHEW ON THE TREATED TOOTH UNTIL IT IS RESTORED.


If another appointment is needed for you to complete your root canal treatment, it is important that you keep this appointment. Until this appointment, avoid chewing on the tooth to protect the interim filling we have placed in your tooth. The initial Root Canal Therapy will not continue to prevent infection unless the canal(s) is/are properly filled.


We will send you a postcard to take a follow-up x-ray of the area to make sure the bone tissue is healing well. This is a courtesy visit with no additional charge.


If you experience pain or swelling that is not controlled by over-the-counter medications, please contact our office. Normal office hours are 8:00am – 5:00pm Monday through Thursday.


In order to update your dental records, your family dentist will receive a written description of your treatment and a radiograph of the completed root canal therapy.


Surgical Root Canal Therapy

Cleanse the mouth with a mild rinse consisting of 1/2 tsp of table salt and 1/2 glass of warm water. An antimicrobial mouthwash may be prescribed by your doctor. Talking and strong, over-the-counter mouth rinses may stimulate bleeding and should be controlled for the first few days.


It is normal for blood to seep from the site of a surgical procedure for several hours after the operation. If bleeding continues or becomes profuse, try to locate the exact spot the blood is originating from. This can be done by flushing the mouth clean and using a mirror. When the area of bleeding is located, hold gauze, a small towel, or a tea bag against the tissue or bone, and apply firm but gentle pressure for 10 minutes without moving the fingers away from the site. This should be done in a seated position. If heavy bleeding occurs or continues, call the doctor on-call, or go to the nearest emergency room.


It is normal to experience pain in the period following surgery. If you are safely able to take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), take 400-600 mg (2-3 regular strength Advil or Motrin) every 6 hours on the clock for the 2 days following surgery. Ibuprofen is an anti-inflammatory, and if taken by the clock ( before pain occurs ), can help reduce inflammation. Your doctor may elect to supplement the ibuprofen with a prescription pain medication. The prescription pain medications, in general, will have acetaminophen in the formula, and thus should not be taken with any extra Tylenol products. Ibuprofen can be alternated with the prescription pain medication for maximum effect.


An Ice Pack will be given to you at our office. It is important to use the ice pack externally on the area of the surgical site. The ice pack should be applied for 20 minutes, and removed for 20 minutes. This routine should be followed for 6 hours after surgery. Leaving the ice pack on continuously will result in the body overcompensating for restricted circulation, and bleeding may worsen.


Post-surgical infection is unusual, but possible. Signs of infection can include: increased tenderness in the surgical site, increased swelling in the surgical site, elevated temperature, redness and heat from the area surrounding the surgical site, and chills. If this occurs, use hot salt-water rinses or a prescription mouth-rinse ( if ordered by your doctor ). Call our office as soon as possible.


Your nutrition may be affected by the tenderness in the surgical site. Multi-vitamins, and soft, high-protein foods help your body and tissues heal faster.


Tooth brushing after an endodontic surgery should be limited to the tooth structure, and the bristles of the tooth brush should not contact the surgical area ( gum tissue ). This is important to follow for the first 48 hours after surgery.


Please do not hesitate to call our office at (605) 88-0180 with any questions.