SAVING A TOOTH through root canal treatment is a process that goes beyond the actual treatment. In the weeks that follow, there’s a lot the patient can do to encourage healing and to protect the temporary filling or crown (if they have one) until the permanent restoration is in place.
The Recovery Process
After the anesthesia wears off, there may be some discomfort during the early stages of recovery, particularly if the tooth was abscessed or there was swelling or inflammation. The discomfort is typically much milder than the tooth pain before the root canal treatment. You can manage it with over-the-counter medication, but you should also avoid chewing with that tooth until the tenderness is gone.
Why Temporary Crowns and Fillings?
In many cases, it is necessary to protect a tooth with a temporary crown or filling until the permanent restoration can be made and delivered to the dental office, which may take a few weeks. A temporary restoration won’t always match the color of the surrounding teeth, but it will allow you to eat and speak normally. They are attached with temporary cement so they can easily be removed later.
Taking Care of a Temporary Restoration
The temporary filling or crown should last until the permanent restoration is ready, but it’s important to be gentle with it. Don’t be too rigorous with your brushing and flossing around that tooth. Pull your floss to the side so it doesn’t snag on the edge of the temporary filling, for example. Also, try to avoid chewing on the side of the mouth with the temporary filling.
When to Contact the Endodontist
Sometimes, complications may occur with a root canal, and the faster these can be addressed, the better for the patient and the tooth. In the weeks following your root canal therapy, call us if you experience any of the following:
- Initial discomfort following treatment persists longer than the first several days
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Pain from chewing
- The temporary filling or crown came loose
The First Step Back to Great Oral Health
Root canal treatment is step one on the road back to good oral health, and you can stay on that road through good daily habits. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush, floss (gently) every day, schedule your regular dental appointments and cleanings, and make sure to ask us any questions you have about taking care of your tooth after treatment!