Aftercare for a Root Canal
Typically after receiving a root canal, patients will have a temporary restoration placed on the tooth. It will take about 2-3 weeks for the final restoration to be made by the dental lab and returned to our office, at which point the patient can have the permanent restoration placed. As the anesthesia wears off, it is not uncommon for patients to experience tenderness or mild soreness in the jaw. These symptoms can generally be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication.
Temporary dental crowns are meant only to serve your needs while a permanent crown is being made for you. Although we make the temporary crown to resemble the final crown, it may not look exactly like the permanent one. It is not unusual to have some temperature sensitivity while the temporary crown is in place. This will, in most cases, be relieved by the replacement of the temporary crown with the permanent crown. Taking over the counter pain relievers as directed such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen should handle any post treatment discomfort. It may be a good idea to take one of these immediately after the appointment before you experience any discomfort.
Hygiene After a Root Canal
Patients should brush and floss as they normally would following a root canal procedure. It is especially important that patients maintain good oral hygiene during their time with the temporary crown to make sure the restoration remains free of infection. A dental restoration that is properly taken care of can last as long as natural teeth, but it is up to the patient to see this through. Additionally, to help protect the tooth from infection following the procedure, it is important for patients to take any prescribed antibiotics for as long as prescribed, even when the infection feels better.
Temporary Crowns Are Not Meant to Last Forever
Temporary crowns are not strong; they may occasionally become loose, break or come off. Though this is not a dental emergency, please contact our office immediately, bring your crown with you and we will replace or re-cement the temporary crown. If this happens at night or on the weekend, replace the temporary crown on your tooth after filling the crown with toothpaste, Vaseline, or Fixodent to hold it in place until you can contact us to properly cement it. It is important that the temporary crown remains on the tooth to protect the underlying tooth structure. Without the temporary crown, your teeth may move and then the permanent crown may not fit.
It is also imperative that patients return to our office at the appointment time to receive the permanent crown. Failure to do so may result in the need to re-prepare the tooth and re-make the crown at the patient’s cost. Please contact our office if you have any unusual developments with your temporary crown, such as:
- Severe pain or pressure
- Visible swelling near the restoration
- An uneven feeling in the bite
- An allergic reaction to medication
Other Things to Keep in Mind:
1. The temporary cement requires about 30 minutes to set. Please do not chew during that period of time.
2. You should be able to use the temporary crown normally when eating. Certain foods will stick to the temporary crown. Please refrain from chewing gum, candies or foods that might stick to the crown or even pull it out. (gum, gummy bears, caramels, ice, etc.)
3. Temporary crowns are not strong; they may occasionally become loose, break or come off. If this should happen to you, this is not a dental emergency. However, please contact our office immediately, bring your crown with you and we will replace or re-cement the temporary crown. If this happens at night or on the weekend, replace the temporary crown on your tooth after filling the crown with toothpaste, Vaseline, or Fixodent to hold it in place until you can contact us and allow us to properly cement it.
4. It is important that the temporary crown remains on the tooth to protect the underlying tooth structure. Without the temporary crown, your teeth may move and then the permanent crown may not fit!
5. Please clean around the temporary crown as you would any other tooth. Do not brush or floss too vigorously around your temporary crown. Remember that it is important to keep the area clean/healthy and not bleeding – but use caution.
6. It is imperative that you return to our office at the appointment time for you permanent crown. Failure to do so may result in the need to re-prepare the tooth and re-make the crown at your cost.
Caring for Your Permanent Crown
Once permanent dental crowns are placed, patients should be aware of a few things to best care for the new crown. It is important to not chew on hard food with the restorations for 24 hours from the time they were cemented; to attain optimum strength, the cement must cure for approximately 24 hours.
Sensitivity is common after a permanent crown is placed, especially to hot or cold foods. This sensitivity will disappear gradually after a few weeks. Infrequently, sensitivity lasts longer than six weeks. Please notify us if this occurs.
The most significant reason for prosthesis failure is inadequate return for examination. Visit us at regular examination periods determined by your Doctor. Often times, problems that are developing around the crowns can be found at an early stage and corrected easily, but waiting for a longer time may require redoing the entire restoration. Call us immediately if any one of these conditions occur:
- A feeling of movement or looseness in the crown
- Sensitivity to sweet foods
- A peculiar taste from the restoration site
- Breakage of a piece of material from the restoration
- Sensitivity to pressure
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