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Root Canals

Is it bad to wait to finish a root canal?

09/11/2007

Question:

I recently had a partial root canal done. The doctor put in a medication to eat away at a calcium blockage but I had to move the next week so we couldn`t finish the whole treatment. My new job here doesn`t give benefits for 90 days and without insurance I know a root canal is expensive. Am i risking my tooth by waiting 90 days to get the process finished? Should I get the root canal and then wait for the crown at least or it is ok to wait until I have insurance again? It hasn`t hurt or twinged since he medicated it. Thanks so much!

Answer:

It is usually okay to wait that long to have your root canal finished.  The main concern is that you can lose your temporary filling or it can leak in that period of time leading to reinfection of the root canal and possible pain and/or swelling.  If that were to happen, you could seek care emergently. 

My only concern is in relation to the medication you said that your doctor placed inside your tooth.  There are certain medicaments that can weaken tooth structure if left too long.  I would recommend that you speak to your doctor and explain your situation and any concerns you have so that he or she can speak directly to your case.  Often, you can have previous records sent to your new doctor that can help explain the treatment that was already done.

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Response by:

Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS
Assistant Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University