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Root Canal


A root canal is a procedure to remove diseased pulp from your tooth. The pulp is tissue that contains nerves and blood vessels that fill your tooth roots. Each root secures your tooth to your gum and jawbone. You may need a root canal if your tooth is damaged or infected. An abscess (pocket of pus), cavities, or an accident or injury can also lead to a root canal.


Seek care immediately if:

  • You have increasing pain in or around your tooth that does not go away with pain medicine.
  • You have new or increased swelling in your gums or face.
  • You have tooth pain that spreads up to your gums and cheek.

Contact your dentist or endodontist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your new filling or crown falls out or feels like it is out of place.
  • Your tooth cracks or breaks.
  • Your tooth hurts when you bite down.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Antibiotics may be given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Care for your teeth as directed. This may help prevent cavities, tooth injuries, and other tooth problems. Visit your dental provider regularly to have your teeth cleaned and checked.
  • Do not smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause blood vessel damage and delay healing. Ask your dental provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your provider before you use these products.

Follow up with your dentist or endodontist as directed:

You may need to return to have your temporary crown replaced with a permanent crown. You may also need more tests to make sure your tooth is healing. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.