• AS A REMINDER, ROOT CANAL THERAPY CAN TAKE 1-2 APPOINTMENTS TO COMPLETE. Please return for any subsequent appointments as needed you will know if this is the case.
  • IF POSSIBLE, DO NOT EAT UNTIL THE ANESTHETIC HAS WORN OFF to avoid accidentally biting lips, cheek or tongue.
  • DO NOT EAT ANYTHING STICKY, CHEWY OR HARD AND IF POSSIBLE EAT ON THE OTHER SIDE as this may pull off or break a temporary restoration or can crack the remaining tooth structure present. These temporary restorations are not just cosmetic; they serve to protect the tooth from bacteria contaminating the root canal surfaces until a permanent crown can be placed. It is normal to sometimes feel that the temporary restoration feels shallower than when it was first placed. The temporary restoration is placed deeply into the tooth so there should still be enough of it in place to protect the tooth. However, if your temporary restoration come out completely prior to the placement of your permanent crown, please give our office a call so that we can advise you on how to proceed or if you will need to come in.
  • BE CAREFUL WHEN BRUSHING AND FLOSSING. It is important to continue your normal brushing and flossing routine but it is normal for the root canaled tooth/teeth and surrounding gum tissue to be sore for the first 24-48 hours so gentle brushing and flossing of that area may be more comfortable. If you use an electric toothbrush, you can try turning off the brush and manually brushing that tooth gently.
  • YOUR TOOTH/TEETH AND THE GUM TISSUE AROUND IT MAY FEEL ACHY AND SORE BUT THIS IS NORMAL and should subside over the next few days. If the pain is severe or you are unable to bite on the tooth after 7 days, please call our office as your tooth/teeth may need further evaluation.

SWELLING. Swelling (more formally termed “edema”) is a normal postoperative tissue reaction in response to having a root canal and while the amount that forms will vary with each patient and the type of procedure they’ve had, there is a standard set of remedies used to minimize and manage this complication. Experiencing swelling and bruising following a root canal is common and may increase 48-72 hours before diminishing.

Cycles of Cold (ice) applications on your face in the area of your surgery.

Treatment time frame for cycles of cold application.

  • With root canal therapy where the level of edema that forms is expected to be just minimal, application cycles performed over the 24- 48 hours after your root canal are usually sufficient. The purpose of using on/off application cycles is that it creates the beneficial effect of this treatment while minimizing the potential for damage to the tissues in the region from the effects of cold. Keep in mind that on the day of your treatment you may still be numb. So you must be careful not to create a temperature extreme that you might not be aware of. Cold application should only be performed during waking hours, so the cyclical on/off nature of the treatment can be maintained.
    Positioning your head so its blood pressure is slightly reduced can help to minimize the amount of swelling that forms.
  • The general idea is to keep your “head above your heart.”
  • As opposed to lying down, sit (or recline) upright.
  • When lying down, elevate your head using 2 or 3 pillows.


  • RINSE WITH WARM SALT WATER TO REDUCE GUM TISSUE SORENESS. It is normal for your gum tissue to be slightly swollen or sore following this procedure. Use 1 teaspoon of salt per 1 cup of water and gently rinse and repeat this action 3-4 times per day for the first 1-3 days as needed. If a prescription rinse is prescribed to you instead, please use as directed.
  • HAVE A FINAL CROWN OR RESTORATION PLACED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Root canaled teeth are more susceptible to fracturing, contamination and decay so it is important to have a final crown or similar restoration placed as soon as possible. A delay in obtaining this restoration may result in fracturing of the tooth beyond repair and possible loss of the tooth.
  • TAKE MEDICATION as instructed by the doctor. If prescribed any medications, please take as directed. If antibiotics were prescribed, continue to take them for the indicated length of time, even if all symptoms and signs of infection are gone.

For pain relief: take 400mg ibuprofen (2 Advil) with 1,000 mg acetaminophen (2 Extra-Strength Tylenol) immediately, then repeat every 8 hours as needed. *Do not take more than 3000mg in 24 hours. *Advil Dual Action with acetaminophen is the above already combined. Take 2 tablets every 8 hours.

This is the most scientifically proven effective medication regimen to reduce pain and swelling. This can be taken unless you are allergic or have otherwise been instructed not to take it.

Please call our office if:

  • If your tooth fractures or your temporary restoration comes out completely prior to the placement of your permanent restoration.
  • If you experience severe persistent pain or swelling 7 days after your treatment.
  • If after the first 2-3 days, your bite feels uneven or you are unable to bite down on the tooth without experiencing sharp pain.
  • If you have an allergic reaction to any medication you have taken.