In late April, an endodontist did a root canal treatment on one of my bottom right molars. I had delayed the appointment, but the pain and inflammation were so bad that I couldn’t wait for COVID-19 restrictions to relax. The first appointment was okay, but the endodontist scheduled a second appointment because she thought there might be a fourth canal in the tooth that she didn’t clean. She found the fourth canal and spent what felt like an hour digging in it. It was so uncomfortable. She also found a crack in the fourth canal. After the procedure, I had pain and swelling for four days, but most of it is better.
I’m concerned because sometimes I feel dull pain at the bottom of the tooth near my jaw, along with a dull ache that radiates to my ear. It feels like a dull headache. I take ibuprofen every 6 hours. Is the dull pain normal? I’ve returned to a soft diet because I’m afraid that there is still infection, and I’ll need an extraction and a dental implant.
My next appointment is in two weeks to get a crown on the tooth. Should I postpone it, or is the pain normal? I had a Zoom meeting with my dentist, and he had me come to the office for an x-ray, but he didn’t see anything abnormal. My dentist said that it might be a good idea to delay the appointment another week or so for the crown, but he still seemed somewhat hesitant to disagree with the endodontist’s recommendation. Is it okay to get the crown, or should I wait?
Dahlia from Augusta, GA
Your dentist’s advice to wait for the crown was good. But it may take more than a month to determine if the tooth is healthy enough to survive.
Reasons to Wait Before Getting a Dental Crown
- A cracked canal might not heal – Root canal treatment isn’t always successful. A crack in the canal increases the risk of losing the tooth. In that case, your endodontist would recommend a dental implant instead of placing a crown on a tooth that can’t be saved.
- It takes time for an infection to become evident – Some dental schools teach dentist to wait six months after root canal treatment before crowning a tooth. But a dentist doesn’t always wait that long because each patient’s case is different. Waiting to place the crown allows time for problems to surface. For example, a tooth infection is seen on an x-ray after it’s settled in. Before that, a dentist might recognize any subtle signs of infection on the x-ray.
- An endodontist can re-evaluate your case – You can schedule an appointment with your endodontist or ask your dentist to send her the x-ray. Describe your symptoms, tell her about your concerns, and ask her to review your x-ray.
After your endodontist takes a second look at the tooth roots, they’ll give you a recommendation. You’ll have to decide if you want to wait for the crown or receive it as scheduled.
This post is sponsored by Hoffman Estates dental implant provider, Dr. William Becker, of Poplar Crossing Dental.