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Lost Temporary After Root Canal Therapy


    It's normal for your temporary to have a medicinal taste.


    It is possible that the ďclay likeĒ temporary may wear away or seem like it fell out. Don't be alarmed. Use a well lit mirror, and try to look in your tooth or feel with your finger. In most situations, the temporary has simply worn down and the seal is intact. Keep your scheduled appointment. If you donít have an appointment, please call, we will help.


    In general, the ďroot canalĒ therapy is completed solely to clean & fill the roots of your tooth. In all situations, after the root canal filling has been placed to seal your roots, you will need a final restoration to replace the chewing surface of your tooth. Dr. Landers usually recommends a Post & Crown. A crown will also help support the remaining tooth and seal out bacteria. With out a final restoration as a seal, the bacteria could eventually break down the root canal cement.



If Your Root Canal Is Complete & You Have Lost Your Temporary

If you are unsure, Dr. Landers usually finishes Root Canal Therapy in a single visit. As long as the root canal is complete, your main concern should be: donít eat in the area as to avoid  tooth breakage. You should though, still make sure you have a temporary. Over time, bacteria will leak into the root canal sealer cement. If this happens you may need to redo the root canal therapy.


If Your Root Canal Is Not Complete & You Have Lost Your Temporary

If your Root Canal therapy is not complete and you have lost your temporary, call our office as soon as you get a chance. Donít be mislead because you are not likely to experience pain, since the nerve has been removed. On the other hand, the temporary seals in medicine and seals out bacteria. If the access is to remain open, the bacteria will travel through your tooth into the surrounding bone. If the temporary is not professionally replaced in a timely fashion, the bacterial leakage could affect the success of your root canal therapy. If the seal is broken for more than a few days, it is likely that you will need to use an antibiotic and have a new temporary & dental medicaments placed by Dr. Landers.



If you have Pain or Old Temporaries


Do Not Replace The Temporary If You Have Pain!

If you have pain there is a possibility that your tooth may have cracked. If you suspect a broken tooth, see the section on: broken teeth.


Do Not Replace The Temporary  If The Temporary Is More Than A Few Months Old!

The intention of dental temporaries is to last for a two weeks maybe a month or so at the most. Often patients will think their old temporary simply fractured from chewing pressure and will not realize that bacterial decay has invaded the understructure of the tooth.  The subsequent weakened decayed tooth structure is in many cases the reason you lost your old temporary. In this situation, if you replace your temporary, it may lock in bacterial and may serve little benefit. A temporary can also lead to a false sense of security and a delay your needed professional treatment.


Suggestions For Your Situation:


          As a rule of thumb, do not let a tooth go more than a couple days without a temporary to cover it, as you may be risking tooth movement, micro leakage and possible tooth breakage.


         If you have any rough or sharp edges which are cutting your cheek or tongue and you are unable to get to our office, you can use orthodontic wax to cover it. Do not smooth or alter a sharp tooth which your dentist has already shaped for a final restoration.


         In all cases, rinse your mouth with warm water, keep the area clean. Yes, if itís not too sensitive you can brush the area. Tooth paste is good for the exposed tooth structure.


         Finally, do not eat in the area! This could result in tooth fracture and tooth loss! Additionally, eating could result in food impaction and a gum tissue infection.


Your Options Only If your root canal therapy is complete and you donít have pain.


First Option

Often you can save yourself an immediate trip to the office if you can simply clean the area around the tooth and place orthodontic wax, or Vaseline. If you donít have an appointment we recommend that you call us for an appointment.

Second option

If  your temporary comes out a few days before your appointment itís ďOKĒ just to keep your scheduled appointment. Under no circumstances should you allow any chewing on the tooth without a temporary. The tooth will break!


Third option

If the previous does not resolve your situation, please know that our assistants are trained to help you. Please call and set up a convenient time to have your temporary replaced.



If the latter is not stable enough, and/or if you can not make it conveniently to our office, there is temporary material available over the counter. Generally, if you are unable to reposition your temporary it is not an urgent situation.



Steps to consider if you decide to place your temporary using an over the counter temporary product.


  1. Read and follow the directions for the temporary carefully.
  2. Remove any loose old temporary material from your tooth and/or any food.
  3. Dry the tooth. Make sure you tooth is not broken or painful.
  4. Place Vaseline on the teeth opposite the temporary.
  5. Mix the temporary material. Please try not to overfill since you will need to clean the excess cement.
  6. Hint: use a cotton tip applicator wet with water to mold and shape or remove excess.
  7. Place the temporary into the tooth in question. While the temporary is setting, Bite down on both sides on the back teeth and occasionally grind your teeth side to side. If the temporary seems high in your bite, remove excess immediately. Itís actually better if the surface of the temporary does not touch in any direction when you bite.
  8. Clean off excess temporary. Gently use a tooth pick in a horizontal sweeping direction. We do not recommend flossing or any force that could lift the temporary up.




© Advanced Cosmetic & General Dentistry Inc.