After Root Canal Treatment

Root Canal Treatment Postoperative Instructions

What to expect:

It is normal for your tooth to be sore for 2-3 days after treatment. Much of the tenderness is a result of anesthetic and pressure around the tooth. Tenderness to biting may persist for up to two weeks following treatment but will gradually improve each day.


Generally, ibuprofen is all that is needed for post-operative pain. We strongly recommend that you take 600-800 mg (3-4 over-the-counter 200 mg tablets; i.e. Advil, Motrin, or generic) of ibuprofen every eight hours for two days. At this dosage ibuprofen acts as both a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory. It is a good idea to take the ibuprofen even if the tooth is not sore to help prevent soreness in the next few days.


If the ibuprofen alone does not provide adequate pain relief, you may take up to 1000mg of acetaminophen (i.e. three regular Tylenol tablets or two extra-strength Tylenol tablets) every six hours in between your doses of ibuprofen. If more severe discomfort is anticipated we will prescribe a narcotic (i.e. hydrocodone or codeine) that can be used in place of the Tylenol in between doses of ibuprofen.


If an antibiotic is prescribed take all of the pills as instructed, unless you experience complications (i.e. rash, diarrhea, etc.).


Often your referring dentist will want a “temporary” filling placed. It is critical that you make an appointment with your dentist for placement of the definitive restoration as soon as possible. Your dentist will place a crown, onlay, or permanent filling to seal the root canal filling and help protect the tooth from fracture. Avoid chewing on the treated tooth until the restoration is placed.

If you experience swelling or pain (which is not comfortably controlled by the medications prescribed) or there are complications with your medicines, please call the office.