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What Should I Expect from a Root Canal after a Crown?

A cross section of a tooth.
A dental impression is made to create a crown after root canal surgery.
Article Details
  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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For most patients, there are few complications from a root canal after a crown is put on. The procedure is commonplace, and pain and discomfort are usually no greater than after a filling is put in. The first few days can be uncomfortable, but unless there are serious complications, the tooth should last for a long time after the crown is put on.

A crown may be put on right after the root canal procedure, or a dentist may choose to wait a week or so before the permanent crown is applied. Once the permanent crown is in place, the patient may experience some pain and discomfort. Generally, the pain is not so severe that it requires prescription medication, and most patients can medicate with over-the-counter pain medication. Patients can brush and floss normally the day after the crown is applied, and can chew on that side of the mouth very shortly after the procedure is completed. If a temporary crown is put in place, the patient should exercise caution in chewing with the tooth until the permanent crown is in place

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In about 95% of cases, there are no complications from a root canal after a crown is put on. Extracting the infected tooth pulp, filling the canal and covering it with a crown is enough to stave off future infections. The tooth is almost always saved for the duration of the person’s life, and there are no adverse long term effects from the removal of the nerve and the pulp.

Rarely, a person can have a problem with a root canal after a crown is in place. One such problem may be that one of the root canals was missed during the initial cleaning. If this happens, the dentist or endodontist may remove the crown and re-drill into the tooth to remove the rest of the tooth pulp.

A problem with the material used to fill the root canal, after a crown is in place, can also lead to complications. Though the material usually lasts for the life of the person, sometimes the materials degrade over time. The dentist may choose to perform a second root canal, refilling the tooth and replacing the crown if possible.

Occasionally, gum surgery is used to try to solve a problem with a root canal after a crown is in place. The tip of the root may be removed through an incision in the gums, and infected tissue may be removed. It is possible that these efforts will not save the tooth, and it may need to be extracted.

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