Care After a Root Canal

Pain After Treatment

In the majority of cases, you will feel much better after the root canal than you did before. In most cases, there may be some sensitivity; you will feel like you have been "worked on". In a small proportion of cases, particularly if the infection was very severe at time of treatment, it may take a while for the infection to resolve, and there may be pain for a few days. We will prescribe pain relievers when you leave in case pain does develop. Call us if pain after treatment is so severe that pain relievers do not work.


Call the office if you have any facial swelling. That is a sign that the infection has spread beyond your tooth area and you need to be on an antibiotic. If you are on an antibiotic and swelling increases and you have a fever, you may have a serious infection and need to be seen either by the dentist or an emergency room physician. Do not take chances with infections; if in doubt go to an emergency room!


Depending on your specific needs, we may prescribe an antibiotic. If there is no sign of tissue infection at the time of treatment, and we are simply removing a dead nerve, there is usually no need for antibiotics. We will give you an antibiotic prescription if there is an active infection. Be sure and take all of the medicine prescribed.

Follow up Treatment

Root canal therapy is usually completed in one visit. In complicated cases where unusual anatomy or pathology is present, the treatment will take more than one visit. You must have the root canal finished and sealed to prevent reinfection of the root canal space. Many times these reinfections are harder to treat and involve more serious infections than the original problem.

Tooth Restoration and Crowns

Root canal therapy cleans out and seals the internal space in the root of your tooth. The access opening leading to this space as well as any remaining decay must be repaired quickly to prevent leakage into the interior of the tooth. Usually a bonded composite restoration is used but occasionally other materials and post buildups are required. Often this "filling" is done the day of the root canal but occasionally a return visit is necessary. Since the tooth is weakened by the decay and access opening to the root canal, most teeth require the strength of a cast crown restoration to protect them from the forces of chewing. If crown restoration is delayed, you run an extreme danger of fracturing the tooth and occasionally catastrophically leaving extraction as the only treatment option.