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Post-Op Instructions

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After Treatment Instructions

It is important to call your general dentist soon for an appointment to have your tooth permanently restored after root canal therapy. The temporary filling material we placed (per your general dentist’s instructions) will not permanently protect your tooth from reinfection or fracture. Your tooth may be uncomfortable for a few days and tender to chewing pressure up to a week or more after treatment. This is normal. Anti-inflammatory pain medications are highly recommended.

Please notify us if, when you bite down, your tooth feels high after treatment and is creating soreness. A short office visit to adjust the problem usually leads to quick and dramatic improvement. Long appointments and associated sore teeth may also lead to stimulation of clenching and grinding habits in many patients. This is frequently manifested as sore jaw joints, ear pain, multiple tooth sensitivities and facial achiness. Anti-inflammatory drugs and moist heat to the affected area are usually helpful. Please note, however, that heat on infection induced swelling usually worsens the situation.

If your tooth was more complex requiring a second visit for completion, please keep your appointment even if your tooth becomes perfectly comfortable after the initial visit. Long-term success depends on total completion of your root canal therapy with us and subsequent restoration by your general dentist.

All patients are given their endodontist’s home phone number along with our office number after treatment. If you have any after-hours questions, call your endodontist at home first, and if they are not available, call our office number. Our voice mail will notify one of our doctors to contact you promptly.

An endodontist is on call after hours. If you need to call after hours, please have your pharmacy number available.

Post-Surgical Instructions

It is recommended that you limit your physical activity the first 24 hours after dental surgery. This helps prevent bleeding problems from the surgical area. However, some bleeding may be expected for 24 hours. You may want to cover your pillowcase with a towel or use an older pillowcase.

To minimize swelling, use ice packs intermittently, 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off, until bedtime if possible. Swelling is normal and may take up to a week to resolve. Sometimes it may increase and peak as late as 3 or 4 days following surgery. The surgical area may be uncomfortable for several days. Tenderness should decrease slowly as the area heals and may remain evident for several months as deep bony healing progresses.

Be sure to take any prescribed antibiotics as directed, as they must be taken for the full course to insure that 100% of the bacteria are eliminated. If you are taking birth control pills and antibiotics, an additional method of birth control is recommended through the completion of the cycle, as the antibiotic may inactivate the birth control pills. Call us or your pharmacist if unusual side effects are noted.

The second and third day after surgery, rinse after meals with warm water (salt optional). Keep all other areas brushed and flossed as usual. Begin gentle brushing of the surgical area on day three, using your soft Mylar bristled toothbrush. Resume full mouth regular brushing and flossing after one week. Do not lift your lip to examine the stitches, as this may cause them to tear. However, early loss of a dissolving suture or two is not cause for concern.

Follow a soft diet the day of and day after your surgery. After that time, cut food into small pieces. No toast. Soft nourishing foods are excellent. Examples include juices, pureed vegetables, soups, gelatin, ice cream, yogurt and applesauce. Drink plenty of liquids.

Smoking or chewing tobacco products during the first week after your surgery will increase the risk of infection and hinder the healing process.

All patients are given their endodontist’s home phone number along with our office number after treatment. If you have any after-hours questions, call your endodontist at home first, and if they are not available, call our office number. Our voice mail will notify one of our doctors to contact you promptly.