Home Care Instructions

After Endodontic Treatment

Your tooth and surrounding gum tissue may be slightly tender for several days as a result of manipulation during treatment and previous condition of your tooth. This tenderness is normal and is no cause for alarm.  Please follow the following recommendations:

  • Schedule an Appointment with Your Restorative Dentist  

    We recommend scheduling a crown or a restoration to seal the tooth with your family dentist after root canal therapy is performed.  We typically will make this phone call before you leave the office.  However, if their office was closed or you needed to check your calendar, please call their office to schedule as soon as possible.  This appointment should ideally be scheduled soon after root canal therapy due to the risk of fracture, cracking of the tooth, or re-contamination of the tooth with bacteria.  Occasionally, a tooth has to be extracted because it wasn’t restored in a timely manner.  A fracture or cracked tooth can render a tooth unrestorable.  The temporary filling that we placed is just that- a temporary filling.  It will wear down and allow leakage of bacteria in time.

  • Take Over-the-Counter Medication within One Hour after Treatment

     We recommend that you take some over-the-counter medicine for pain relief within one hour of leaving the office.  This allows the pain relief medicine to take effect before the local anesthesia begins to wear off.

    • We recommend that an anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve) be taken within one hour after treatment.  Tooth pain is a result of inflammation so an anti-inflammatory is our first choice for pain relief.  Please do not take an anti-inflammatory medication if you have been advised not to take ibuprofen or aspirin containing products, are allergic to ibuprofen or naproxen sodium, have a history of kidney problems, have a history of ulcers, or if you have asthma. 
      • We recommend 400-800 mg of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) every 6-8 hours for the first three days after treatment, not to exceed 3200 mg in a 24-hour period.
      • If more pain relief is needed beyond the ibuprofen dosage, then 1000 mg of acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be added along with the ibuprofen every 6-8 hours, not to exceed 4000 mg of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period.  Please do not take an acetaminophen if you have been advised not to take acetaminophen, are allergic to acetaminophen, or if you have a history of liver problems.
    • If you cannot take ibuprofen and you need pain relief, 1000 mg of acetaminophen can be taken every 4-6 hours as needed for pain.  It is only for pain relief and is not an anti-inflammatory.  Do not exceed 4000 mg of acetaminophen in a 24-hour period.
    • Please call our office if you encounter significant pain or post-operative swelling that is not controlled by over-the-counter medications.
  • Avoid Chewing on the Tooth 

    Please avoid chewing on the treated tooth until the tooth is restored with a crown or a protective restoration provided by your restorative dentist.  You may continue your regular dental hygiene regimen.

  • Warm Salt Water Rinses

      Rinsing the area around the tooth treated with warm salt water (1 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water) every two to three hours may help soothe the area around the tooth.  You may use ice on the outside of your face for pain or swelling.  Please do not use a heating pad on the outside of your face.  This could cause swelling in the area.  Remember warm on the inside, cold on the outside.

  • Swelling 

    Please call our office or use the emergency numbers given in the text message sent after your treatment if you experience any visible swelling.

NOTE: Alcohol intake is not advised while taking any of these medications. Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with the above listed medications, or should swelling develop, please contact our office immediately.

If you have any questions, please call our office Monday through Friday from 7:30 am – 4:30 pm at Ankeny Office Phone Number (515) 965-4456.

If the office is closed and you need assistance, please call your doctor using the number available in the text sent to you after your treatment.