After Your Appointment

Root Canal Recovery: Taking Care of Your Tooth After Treatment

While the below general guidelines are good to adhere to, it’s also important to ensure that you review any materials we provided to you post-procedure to help your recovery go as smoothly as possible.

Once you’ve completed your root canal therapy, there are some basic recommendations you’ll want to follow that will help keep your treated tooth on the right path to recovery:


     • Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid drinking through a straw or from a bottle
     • Avoid smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol
     • Reduce swelling and bleeding by keeping your head elevated on pillows
     • Apply ice to your face for 15 minutes at a time to help keep swelling down

You may experience some tenderness in the area that was treated for a few days post-treatment, especially as the numbing medication from the procedure begins to wear off. Some tooth pain may occur, but this can either be treated by over-the-counter medication or a prescription medication from your dentist or endodontist.


You may also notice some increased tooth sensitivity after your root canal therapy; however, this can be addressed by switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and using oral care products that are made specifically for sensitive teeth. Fortunately, this increased sensitivity is typically temporary and should only last four to six weeks.


While some persistent pain or sensitivity after root canal therapy can be common, there are some symptoms that might mean a bigger issue—and if you’re experiencing any of the below, you should reach out to your dentist or endodontist immediately:


     • Severe pain or pressure lasting more than a few days
     • Visible swelling inside or outside your mouth
     • An allergic reaction to medication (rash, hives or itching)
     • Your bite feels uneven
     • The temporary crown or filling, if one was put in place, comes out (losing a thin layer is normal)
     • Symptoms you experienced prior to treatment return


It’s vital to be aware of how your tooth feels to help ensure it’s healing correctly, so don’t hesitate to contact your provider if you’re concerned!

OTC pain medications such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen have been shown to greatly decrease inflammation and help you with any post-treatment discomfort. 


We recommend a regimen of the following*:


     • 2 x 200 mg ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin)
     • 1 x 500 mg acetaminophen (Extra-Strength Tylenol)


Please take them together with food every 8 hours for 3 days if needed.


*Please confirm with us or your medical provider to see if you are healthy enough to take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs).

It’s helpful to wait until the numbness wears off in your mouth before eating, as this can minimize the risk of you biting your cheek or tongue. Additionally, you should ensure that you avoid biting down or chewing on the treated tooth until it’s fully restored by your dentist as this will help you avoid damaging it.


Soft foods tend to be the recommended route for post-treatment meals, including:


• Fruit smoothies
• Yogurt
• Bananas
• Oatmeal
• Mashed potatoes
• Thin pastas (cut up well)
• Pancakes
• Soup


Crunchy, chewy or hard foods should all be avoided (think carrots, nuts or gum). These can pull out the temporary filling, damage the tooth—or just cause unnecessary pain. Plus, you’ll want to limit excessively hot foods or spicy foods, as they can cause increased sensitivity or unnecessary discomfort.

A tooth that has undergone root canal therapy will almost always need a crown or other tooth restoration that will help protect the tooth. If this is the case for you, you’ll need to schedule a second appointment after your procedure, which will typically occur a few days or a week later.


The permanent restoration is an integral part of the treatment process, as it helps the root canal therapy last as long as possible. It’s imperative that you schedule—and attend—any necessary follow-up appointments as determined by your provider.

After recovery is complete, you should continue to prioritize your oral health to help reduce the risk of additional problems later on. The below are a few steps that can be taken to help maximize your mouth’s health!


     • Brush your teeth and gums at least twice a day
     • Floss your teeth once a day
     • Rinse daily with an antiseptic (or antibacterial) mouthwash
     • Visit your dentist at least once every six months


You should also talk to your dentist about getting x-rays during your routine dental appointments to ensure no cavity has developed in the treated tooth. Taking proper care of your teeth and gums can help them stay healthy throughout your life—and this can help decrease your risk of tooth decay or gum disease.

Our focus is patient-centric and to maintain the highest quality of care.

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