Root Canal Treatment Instructions

Before Treatment

This procedure will be performed using local anesthesia. There are usually no restrictions after the procedure concerning driving or returning to work. A doctor is available for consultation at all times should a problem arise after your treatment.

Continue all medications for blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems and any other conditions as recommended by your physician. If there is a question, please call our office prior to your appointment.

Please eat a full breakfast or lunch as applicable, unless otherwise instructed by the doctor.  If oral or intravenous conscious sedation has been arranged then it will be required that you fast for a specific period prior to treatment.  Instructions will be given to you by the doctor and staff.

If you have been advised by your physician or dentist to use antibiotic premedication because of any conditions listed below under “Antibiotic Premedication Guidelines,” please make sure you take the appropriate antibiotic on the day of your appointment, one hour prior to your appointment. If there is a question, please call our office before your scheduled appointment time.

If you can take ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve), it does help reduce inflammation when taken pre-operatively. We recommend 2 tablets of either medication 2-4 hours before endodontic therapy.

Antibiotic Premedication Guidelines

The current recommendations recommend use of preventive antibiotics prior to certain dental procedures for patients with:

  • artificial heart valves
  • a history of infective endocarditis
  • a cardiac transplant that develops a heart valve problem
  • the following congenital (present from birth) heart conditions: *
    • unrepaired or incompletely repaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including those with palliative shunts and conduits
    • a completely repaired congenital heart defect with prosthetic material or device, whether placed by surgery or by catheter intervention, during the first six months after the procedure
    • any repaired congenital heart defect with residual defect at the site or adjacent to the site of a prosthetic patch or a prosthetic device

    * Patients should check with their cardiologist if there is any question as to whether they fall into one of these categories.


Patients who took prophylactic antibiotics in the past but no longer need them include those with:

  • mitral valve prolapse
  • rheumatic heart disease
  • bicuspid valve disease
  • calcified aortic stenosis
  • congenital (present from birth) heart conditions such as ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy


The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), and the American Dental Association (ADA) found that there is insufficient evidence to recommend the routine use of antibiotics for patients with orthopaedic implants to prevent infections prior to having dental procedures because there is no direct evidence that routine dental procedures cause prosthetic joint infections. However, please consult with the doctor that performed your joint replacment, as their recommendations will be followed explicitly.

After Treatment

Endodontic treatment has now been completed.  If possible, avoid chewing on the treated tooth for two hours.  The root canal system has been permanently sealed. However, the outer surface is sealed with a temporary restoration.  This temporary filling is designed to protect the tooth until you are able to see your general dentist for a permanent filling or crown.  The timely placement of this permanent filling or crown is VERY IMPORTANT to protect your tooth against fracture and decay. Please telephone your restorative/general dentist for an appointment.  This permanent restoration/crown should ideally be completed within four weeks of completing your root canal, unless otherwise instructed.  Should your temporary filling come out, please contact our office so that we can replace it.  You may continue your regular dental hygiene regimen.  A complete report of treatment, including x-rays, will be sent to your restorative dentist.

Your tooth and surrounding gum tissues may be tender for several days as a result of manipulation during treatment and due to the previous condition of your tooth.  This tenderness is normal and is no cause for alarm.  Anti-inflammatory medication, such as Ibuprofen (brand names – Advil and Motrin) is recommended as a post-treatment medication.  It is effective against inflammation as well as pain.  Specific instructions on its use will be given to you at the time of treatment.  If any other medications are prescribed at the time of treatment, instructions for those will also be provided.  Please make any allergies known to the doctor and staff.  Please call our office should you experience extreme swelling or discomfort that is not controlled by Ibuprofen.  If you have been advised not to take anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen please notify the doctor and staff.

Oral Conscious Sedation

Before Treatment

Take the prescribed medication 1 hr prior to dental treatment while fasting.

Female Patients: If you are, or think that you might be pregnant, DO NOT take this medication. Please contact our office to go over alternative options for your appointment.

You must provide for us a current list of the medications that you are taking and the reason for each medication, including natural/organic and herbal medication.

The morning of your appointment you will need to be fasting prior to treatment. Please do not eat or drink for 8 hours before your appointment. Also, please DO NOT have any grapefruit juice the day prior to treatment. If you are diabetic then specific fasting instructions may need to be tailored depending on blood sugar levels and the stability of your diabetic condition.

You MUST have someone drive you to and from your appointment.

After Treatment

It is necessary now for you to re-hydrate your body. You should drink fluids for the remainder of the day and should try to have something as soon after the procedure as you are able.

Please understand that you are not to operate a vehicle while under this medication, this includes the remainder of the day.

You should defer any responsible or complicated tasks or any decisions requiring fine judgment for the remainder of the day.

You will need to refrain from drinking any alcoholic beverages for two days following treatment.

You will be tired for the remainder of the day and you are requested to rest.

Associates in Endodontics

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