Root Canal Aftercare Mistakes to Avoid

If you have an infection in one of your teeth, then you will likely need to have a root canal completed. Root canals are typically straightforward procedures. However, you will need to care for your tooth properly once the treatment is over. If you make a mistake with aftercare, then your dentist may need to complete more invasive treatments, or your tooth may need to be pulled. To avoid this problem, learn about some of the post–root canal mistakes you may make and also how you can avoid them. 

Mistake - Placing Pressure on Your Treated Tooth

If you have a major infection in one of your teeth, then your dentist may decide to fill your tooth cavity with a medicated dressing before the cavity is filled in. The dressing will sit inside the pulp chamber and kill bacteria that may have been left behind in the tooth. The medication helps to reduce the chances of a future infection. Once the dressing is packed inside the tooth, a temporary filling is placed in the natural tooth crown. Temporary fillings are soft, flexible, and self-curing cements that seal your tooth. Since the medicated dressing only needs to remain in the tooth for a short period of time, the filling can easily be drilled out.

Temporary fillings can also be scratched, scraped, or dislodged quite easily. If a hole forms in the filling, bacteria can make their way into the tooth, and then microorganisms may be able to stay alive and form a new infection. To avoid this problem, make sure to stay away from crunchy, hard, and chewy foods until the temporary filling is removed. Fruit snacks, taffy, pretzels, and raw carrot sticks are a few examples of foods that you should avoid. 

When you do chew and grind your food, move food away from the treated tooth. Also, inspect the temporary filling every day to make sure it has not been damaged. The filling should appear smooth on the top. If you notice chips, cracks, or any other types of damage, then make arrangements to see your dentist. The professional will examine the filling to see if it has been punctured enough that debris can reach into your tooth cavity. If it has, then your tooth will be rinsed and medicated again, and then a new temporary filling will be placed. 

Mistake - Grinding Your Teeth

Once your tooth is medicated, your dentist will fill in the pulp chamber and the tooth roots with a rubbery material called gutta percha. A more permanent filling made from resin composite material can then be placed inside the tooth. The tooth will be prepared for a crown, and an acrylic temporary crown will be placed over the tooth to keep it safe while the permanent one is made in a laboratory. 

Temporary crowns, like temporary fillings, are not as strong or secure as permanent varieties. Also, natural tooth material underneath the crown will be susceptible to damage like cracks and fractures. Fractures are more likely to develop because your dentin and enamel will no longer contain as much fluid as they used to. Fluid is supplied to teeth through the capillaries that sit in the dental pulp. Once the pulp is removed, the tooth dries out. This makes the tooth a bit more brittle. While a temporary crown will add some strength, you will need to make sure that you limit tooth stress until the permanent tooth covering can be cemented in place. 

One of the worst things you can do is grind your teeth after the temporary crown is added. Do your best to stop yourself from grinding during the day. Keeping your mouth busy by sipping on water or sucking on hard candies can help. If you know that you grind your teeth at night, then ask your dental professional to make an occlusal guard for you. The guards are thick coverings made from typically hard materials that cushion the teeth when you bite down. 

Talk to a dental professional such as Michael G Landy DDS for more information.