It is common to feel some discomfort in and or around the tooth following root canal therapy, retreatment or endodontic surgical procedures. You may feel “bruised” in the socket of the tooth. While this is normal for a short duration (1-3 days), it may last for several days before slowly improving. In general, the longer your tooth was hurting prior to treatment, the slower it will heal…but it will heal. A common question is, “If the nerve was removed, why does the tooth still have feeling?” The “feeling” comes from the surrounding socket and tissues which is likely to remained inflamed for a period of time after treatment. This same tissue is why an endodontically treated tooth will still feel like a natural tooth following treatment unlike the sensation of a tooth replaced by a dental implant, bridge, or denture.
Most importantly, use common sense. If your tooth and or surrounding tissue is sore, do not chew on it and allow time for the inflamed tissues to heal. Chewing will delay healing…just like walking on a sprained ankle. Over-the-counter ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) is a good medication for post treatment inflammation. If you cannot take ibuprofen or ibuprofen-like products (aspirin, Aleve), you may want to consider Tylenol. Alcohol intake is not advised while taking any of these medications. If you were prescribed medication, take the medication as written. If antibiotics were prescribed, it is very important to take ALL of the medication as written. Failing to do so may cause you to have a prolonged resistant infection.
Do not put heat on your face or area surrounding the tooth. Heat may make your symptoms or swelling worse. Cold may be a better idea, if directed to do so.
Throbbing at night – When you lie down to sleep, the blood pressure will increase to your head (gravity’s effect) and thus increase the perception of throbbing, “tooth has a heartbeat”. The solution for this is simple. Raise your head with a second pillow – throbbing is gone. Also, anti-inflammatory medication could be taken (ibuprofen (Advil / Motrin), naproxen (Naprosyn / Aleve) or aspirin).
Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with the above listed medications, or should swelling develop, please contact this office immediately. If you need to contact us after hours with a problem, please call our office. Your doctor’s contact number will be listed in the answer machine’s greeting. Also, please have your pharmacy’s telephone number available.