Post-operative advice

Post-operative advice: Orthograde treatment (initial and retreatment)

It is normal to feel some sensitivity in the area for a few days after your endodontic treatment as your body undergoes a natural healing process. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw due to it being opened for an extended period of time. These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to over-the-counter pain medication (Level I painkillers). It is important to follow the instructions on how to take these medications. Remember that weak morphine medications (Level 2 pain medication), if prescribed, can make you drowsy. Caution should be exercised when operating dangerous machinery or driving a car after taking them. Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your treatment is completed. However, if you experience any shooting pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, contact your endodontist.

Steps to follow

  • Don’t eat anything until the numbness in your mouth goes away. This will prevent you from biting your cheek or tongue.
  • Don’t chew or bite on the treated tooth until you have it restored by your dentist.
  • Be sure to brush and care for your teeth as you normally would.
  • If your tooth opening has been restored with a temporary filling material, it is not unusual for a thin layer to disappear before the next appointment. This is of no consequence. However, if you think all of the filling has disappeared, contact your endodontist.
  • Contact your endodontist immediately if you develop any of the following:
    • visible swelling inside or outside your mouth,
    • an allergic reaction to medication, including rash or itching (nausea is not an allergic reaction),
    • a return of the original symptoms,
    • your bite is impaired.

Taking care of your tooth

Root canal treatment is only one step in bringing your tooth back to full function. A proper final restoration of the tooth is extremely important to ensure long-term success. Contact your dentist as soon as possible to schedule your next appointment. If your tooth is treated in multiple visits by an endodontist, do not return to your dentist for the final restoration until the root canal treatment is complete.

Outcome of the treatment

A tooth that has had proper endodontic treatment followed by a good restoration can last as long as your other natural teeth. Once the tooth has been restored, good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing or interdental brushes, regular checkups and scaling, is all that is needed. Your dentist or endodontist may periodically x-ray the teeth to ensure that healing has occurred. Sometimes a tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment does not heal or the pain continues. At this point, the tooth may become painful or infected several months or even years after successful treatment. Often, when this happens, repeating the endodontic procedure can save the tooth again.

Unless prescribed by your endodontist, antibiotics are not necessary and do not improve the healing of the treated tooth.