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Post-Operative Instructions: Root Canal Treatment


Swelling, minor pain, oozing, and/or skin discoloration may be experienced; this will be temporary. If the surgery was performed on the lower jaw, a tingling of the lower lip is possible due to stretching of the nerve supplying this area.

In order to keep swelling to a minimum, use of an ice pack on the face over the operated area is recommended. The ice pack should be used alternately 20 minutes on; 20 minutes off, for the duration of surgery day. Continue using ice off and on as much as possible for 2 days following surgery. Place the ice pack in the freezer during the “off” time. Do not lift the lip with your fingers to inspect the treated area, as you may pull out some of the stitches and delay your healing.

Avoid hot liquids and eat only soft foods for the first 48 hours. Do not brush teeth in the operated area for at least 5 days after surgery. Instead, use the mouth rinse prescription provided. Be sure to brush the rest of your teeth. 

Starting tomorrow, use warm salt water rinses (1 tablespoon of salt to a cup of warm water) on the treated area under the lip or cheek. This should be done 4 to 5 times a day, allowing for 1 minute of rinsing each time. Continue to rinse for the remainder of the week. Get plenty of rest and ensure normal intake of food, especially liquids such as water, tea, soup, and milk. Avoid alcohol or any liquids that bubble or fizz, such as sodas).

For pain, use over-the-counter analgesics. If you are able to take aspirin and ibuprofen, we recommend that you take 2 Aleve® and 2 Tylenol® every 6 hours for up to 3 days; we recommend breakfast, lunch, dinner, and bedtime. If you cannot take ibuprofen or aspirin, you may substitute acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed on the bottle. If you have been prescribed an additional pain pill that contains Tylenol, you may substitute this medication for a regular Tylenol. Please do not mix the pain pill/Tylenol combination with regular Tylenol.

The stitches we have placed will dissolve, but it is important that you return for your post-operative visit when instructed. Should any difficulties or questions arise, do not hesitate to call this office anytime-day, night, or weekend.

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