After Endodontic Treatment
Endodontic treatment has now been completed. The root canal system has been permanently sealed. However, the outer surface of the tooth is sealed with a temporary restoration. A follow-up appointment with your general dentist will be necessary so that he/she will be able to place a permanent restoration to protect your tooth against fracture and decay. You should contact their office for a follow-up restoration within a few weeks of completion at our office. Your restorative dentist will decide on what type of restoration is necessary to protect your tooth. A complete report of treatment will be sent to your restorative dentist.
Your tooth is more prone to fracture immediately after endodontic treatment. You should chew on the other side until your restorative dentist has placed a core build-up and a protective restoration, usually a crown. If your tooth’s strength is seriously compromised, your endodontist or restorative dentist may place a post and core build-up inside the tooth. Your restorative dentist and endodontist will determine the appropriate restoration to best protect your tooth.
Are There Any Potential Problems After Treatment?
- Lower teeth and nerve injury. There is a slight possibility that nerve injury can occur during root canal surgery to the lower posterior teeth. Your endodontist is trained to assess this possibility prior to treatment and will advise you accordingly. For lower posterior teeth, the root tips may be near a nerve that supplies feeling to the lip, chin and gums. Your endodontist is trained to design your surgery to minimize the chances of damaging this nerve. Rarely, this nerve can become irritated during the process of surgery. In these cases, when the local anesthesia wears off, you may experience tingling, altered sensation or, in rare cases a complete lack of feeling in the affected tissues. Should this occur, it is usually temporary and will resolve over a period of days, weeks or months. In rare cases, these changes can be permanent and/or painful.
- Upper teeth and sinus communication. The upper teeth are situated near your sinuses, and root canal surgery can result in a communication between your mouth and the adjacent sinus. Should this complication occur, it will usually heal spontaneously. We will give you special instructions if this is apparent at the time of surgery. We prefer that you don’t blow your nose for two to three days after surgery. If you have to sneeze, you should sneeze with an open mouth into a tissue. You should not create any pressure in the sinus area. If you sense a complication after surgery, please contact us.
- Post-operative infections. Post-operative infections occasionally occur. This usually requires just an office visit and examination. Many times placing you on an antibiotic for one week will take care of the infection. Occasionally, other follow-up procedures will be needed.
Home Care Instructions
Your tooth and surrounding gum tissue may be slightly tender for several days as a result of manipulation during treatment and previous condition of your tooth. This tenderness is normal and is no cause for alarm. You may want to avoid chewing on the affected side for a few days while the area heals. When your root canal is completed, we place a temporary restoration in the tooth to protect the root canal. Your endodontic therapy is not fully complete until your tooth is covered with a permanent protective restoration provided by your restorative dentist. You may continue your regular dental hygiene regimen. Discomfort may be alleviated by taking ibuprofen (Advil), aspirin, or acetaminophen (Tylenol) as directed.
NOTE: Alcohol intake is not advised while taking any of these medications. Should you experience discomfort that cannot be controlled with the above listed medications, or should swelling develop, please contact this office immediately.
The office telephone is answered day and night. If you need to call after hours, please have your pharmacy number available.