After Completion of Endodontic Treatment
Endodontic treatment has now been completed. The root canal system has been permanently sealed. However, the outer surface is sealed with a temporary restoration. A follow-up permanent restoration must be placed to protect your tooth against fracture and decay. Please telephone your general dentist for an appointment to have this permanent restoration completed. We advise that you make an appointment with your general dentist as soon as conveniently possible. A complete report of treatment will be sent to your general dentist. If a follow up appointment is required following completion of your endodontic treatment, we will schedule it for you before you leave the office. Follow up appointments are free of charge and they usually last for a few minutes.
Your tooth is more prone to fracture immediately after endodontic treatment. You should chew on the other side until your general 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 general dentist and endodontist will determine the appropriate restoration to best protect your tooth.
Are There Any Potential Problems After Treatment?
Post operative discomfort. This is common after root canal treatment and it may last for a few days. Most patients describe their discomfort as mild and can easily be controlled with over the counter pain/anti-inflammatory medication like Ibuprofen, Aleve, Tylenol etc. We also advise that you avoid chewing on the treated side of your mouth and continue optimum oral hygiene home care until your discomfort is alleviated.
Varying degree of numbness. Depending on the area of your mouth where treatment took place and depending on the amount of local anesthetic you received during your visit (for example, if you receive a lower jaw nerve block) you might feel numbness on the cheek, lips, tongue and gum for anywhere between half an hour to a few hours after treatment is completed. We advise care during chewing or talking to avoid biting your cheek, lips or tongue.
Post-operative infections. Post-operative infections occasionally occur. In most cases it will be in the form of a localized swelling, fever, lymphadenopathy (enlarged lymph nodes under the jaw or on the neck) or in some cases localized pain on the tooth for an extended period of time.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.
Tooth or root fracture. This is a rare complication and depending on the extent of the fracture, treatment may involve polishing the tooth, simple restoration, or a crown. In the rare occasion of root fracture, and depending on the extent of the root fracture, extracting the tooth might be the only option available. The best way to avoid such complication and loss of tooth is to avoid biting on the tooth following your root canal treatment and seeing your general dentist as soon as conveniently possible for your final coronal restoration (crown in most cases). Only after your permanent restoration or crown are placed will it be safe to resume normal biting and chewing on the tooth.