Endodontics Post-Operative Care

Endodontic surgeries such as Root Canal Therapy are considerable procedures that require time for the patient to recover and heal.

The following information is only a guide and post-operative patients should follow professional instructions to the letter.

All time periods are indicative only and will vary based on each individual case, the nature of the surgery performed, medications prescribed and general health of the patient.

General post-operative care instructions may also apply.

What to Expect

For the first few days immediately following Root Canal Therapy, the post-operative patient may experience swelling, pain and increased sensitivity in the treated area. Pain may radiate into other areas of the face and jaw, including the ears.

Discomfort when biting will be evident as a result of agitation of the the nerve ending in the tooth. Heighted sensitivity in the nerve can last for several weeks but will generally begin to subside after a few days.

Inflamed nerves may also result in increased sensitivity in the gums. Sleeping with a slightly elevated head during the recovery period can aid in the reduction of swelling and minimise the drainage of post-operative fluids into the throat.


Post operative patients will receive medication during the procedure and may experience numbness to the area for up to two hours after surgery has concluded.

Pain medication may be prescribed by the dental surgeon and should be taken precisely as indicated.

As pain medications take 30-45 minutes to take effect in the body, it is generally recommended the first dose be taken within an hour of the root canal therapy being completed.

Patients will be medicated throughout the procedure and may still feel numb for up to several hours following surgery. Antibiotics will be prescribed to treat any active, present infection and prevent infection during the recovery process.

Prescribed pain relief can be taken in windows of between 2.5-4 hours or as prescribed, starting as soon as the post-operative numbness begins to wear off.

It is not recommended the post-operative patient attempt to self-medicate using additional pain relief. Some, including aspirin based products, can increase bleeding in the treated area.

Some pain medications can cause drowsiness. Refer to the prescription and avoid driving during the immediate recovery period.

Ice packs may also be indicated to aid the reduction of swelling but should never be applied directly to the skin.


Antibiotics are prescribed to treat any active infection and to prevent infection from forming.

If prescribed, it is essential the full course of antibiotics be taken as directed and the full course completed.

Rinsing and Cleaning

Regular rinsing of the mouth aids proper healing. Post operative patients should follow the rinsing instructions provided by the dental surgeon carefully.

General guidelines include rinsing the mouth well with lukewarm saline (salt) solution. This should be done several times a day and completed routinely after eating, before going to sleep and after rising in the morning until advised.

This routine should be maintained until otherwise instructed.

Extraction sites should not be cleaned with anything other than with the regular daily rinse routine. Remaining teeth can continue to be cleaned as normal, although taking additional care is recommended.

Rest and Relaxation

It is advisable to maintain a quiet profile for at least the first 5 days following surgery, even for patients that recover quickly.

It may be advisable to avoid exercise for up to 2-3 weeks in order to avoid raising blood pressure, as an elevated pulse may continue to cause pain in the surgical sites.

Eating and Drinking

Post operative patients are discouraged from eating and drinking immediately following surgery as numbness to the face may result in biting, burning or otherwise injuring the teeth, gums and lips.

Very hot or cold food and beverage should be avoided due to increased sensitivity in the tooth and gums. Patients should avoid chewing on the treated side of the mouth until pain and swelling have passed.

Adjust the diet to include soft food and exclude hard, sticky, chewy and brittle foods for up to a week following the root canal procedure.

Post Operative Concerns

Root Canal therapy is a standard non-surgical procedure with a high success rate. Post operative consultation should be sought where pain and swelling has not subsided within 5-7 days of the procedure.


Find an experienced root canal dentist in your area.

Dentist Sydney | Dentist Canberra | Dentist Melbourne | Dentist Brisbane | Dentist Perth | Dentist Gold Coast |
Dentist Adelaide | Dentist Hobart | Dentist Auckland

Find a DCN Dentist


Learn About a Service