Instructions For Root Canal Aftercare

*If we medicated your tooth today, treatment is NOT complete on this tooth. You must return to our office for further treatment.

Recovering from a root canal is relatively straightforward! You can return to work or school right after treatment. There's no need for an extended period of rest. However, there are some things to note for aftercare!

It's typical for the treated area to feel tender for up to 72 hours after the procedure. A stiff jaw is also common after treatment. It's best to stretch your jaw slowly until your entire range of motion returns! If you continue to feel pain, aching, or discomfort for longer than a week, don't hesitate to contact the Northwest Arkansas Endodontic Specialists team.

Pain Management

Advil or Motrin (Ibuprofen) typically works best for post-treatment discomfort. We generally recommend either of the following:

  • 600 - 800 mg of Ibuprofen every six hours for two days.
  • 1000 mg of Tylenol (Acetaminophen) every six hours for two days.

If you're experiencing moderate to severe pain, take 800 mg of Ibuprofen, wait three hours and take 1000 mg of Acetaminophen. You can continue this rotation every three hours. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen work well together when alternated.

A small percentage of patients may experience a flare-up 3-4 days after treatment. Please continue taking your medications as prescribed; this usually will resolve on its own within 1-2 days without further treatment.   

Immediately stop any medications that cause an upset stomach or allergic reaction.

Eating & Drinking After Root Canal

Do not eat anything for 1 - 2 hours after your root canal. This will allow time for the numbness to subside. Until we've placed a PERMANENT restoration, please avoid chewing anything on the tooth that's receiving root canal treatment. For the first 48 hours, please don't drink out of a straw!

Your tooth needs time to recover! During that time, your tooth might be sore or more sensitive than usual; you should avoid eating the following:

  • Hard foods (nuts, hard candies, corn on the cob, raw carrots, raw apples, raw pears, pretzels, etc.)
  • Sticky foods (taffy, caramel, chewing gum, sticky candy bars, gummy candy, dried fruits, fruit snacks, etc.)
  • Chewy foods (jerky, particular bread, steak, chicken wings, turkey legs, starburst, skittles, etc.)
  • Very hot or very cold foods and drinks

We always recommend a diet of soft foods. As long as you avoid chewing with the treated tooth, you should be able to eat them without any issues. Here's a list of some foods we recommend:

  • Applesauce, Yogurt, Pudding, or Jell-O
  • Soft cheese/Cottage cheese
  • Soups
  • Eggs
  • Steamed vegetables or Mushy peas
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Rice or Pasta
  • Oatmeal
  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Hummus
  • Meatloaf
  • Tuna or chicken salad (no celery)

Generally, soft food should be acceptable, but if a certain food starts to cause discomfort, we encourage you to avoid eating it! Once we place a permanent restoration, you can return to your regular diet.

Hygiene After Root Canal

There's no need to change up your hygiene routine. You can brush and floss your teeth as usual. Brushing twice daily and using an antiseptic mouthwash can help prevent infection.

If you're an aggressive brusher, please do not brush harshly on the treated tooth.

Have Questions or Concerns?

You'll have a follow-up appointment for further treatment, but if you need anything in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our Northwest Arkansas Endodontic Specialists team is happy to answer any questions and help with any concerns you have!

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