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Root Canals

Medication

07/06/2005

Question:

do you get meds. after a root canal? if so what? and how long am i going to be in pain after the root canal? thanks

Answer:

Unfortunately without knowing more about your case, I really cannot answer your question. Post-treatment pain is not uncommon following root canal treatment - especially if you had pain prior to treatment. How long the pain will last depends a number of variables that are too numerous to discuss here. Medications can help resolve some of the post-treatment symptoms. However, not all patients require medications after they have completed treatment. Here are some general ideas about the need for medications.

If there is an active infection antibiotics are usually prescribed. The dentist needs to make the determination for the need for these drugs. Not all root canals require antibiotic treatment, especially those where the nerve was still vital (alive). Antibiotics help the patient's immune system overcome an infection. They do not heal an infection. The overuse of antibiotics have led to some major problems in medicine with bacteria becoming more resistant to the drugs. Thus a more careful approach to the use of antibiotics is now taking place.

Pain medications may be prescribed, or over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications may be recommended for the patient. The prescription pain medications usually contain a narcotic drug that helps patients cope with the potential post-treatment pain. However, OTC pain medications often do a better job in controlling pain after treatment. If you are unsure of what type of medication you should use for pain, call the dentist and explain what problems you may be having, and they can either write or recommend a medication for you to use.

I hope this helps.

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Response by:

John M Nusstein, DDS John M Nusstein, DDS
Associate Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University