Permanent crown fitted on a temp basis - how long to wait for my tooth to cool it?
February 7, 2012 3:06 PM   Subscribe

My dentist inserted my permanent crown in a temporary fashion due to my tooth's uncertainty about whether it likes all of this intrusive behaviour - how long to wait to see if it will settle down? Potentially triggering dental details inside.

My rear molar (tooth 46 for those in the know) was prepared for a crown because it had a massive filling and I was experiencing (X maybe 10 months) some sensitivity when biting - no pain when not actually biting down on something hard. There was some urgency to repairing it because I am losing my dental insurance at the end of February. I have three other crowns, which were all done because I had big chunks of tooth crack off, making the need for a crown really obvious. This most recent crown was a little more preventative, but it looks like it could turn out to be the biggest PITA.

Since the prep and placement of the filling, I've had some continued sensitivity when biting down, but it's only in one very specific place at the back outside corner of the tooth. I have zero pain when not actually biting and no issues with heat or cold sensitivity.

My dentist tried out the permanent crown today and even with it on, I could still feel some sensitivity when biting on that horrible bite stick. My dentist placed the permanent crown on the tooth but used a temporary adhesive so that it could be removed should my tooth not settle down and it becomes necessary to do a root canal. My dentist said that he would like to wait a good, long time to see if my tooth will settle, rather than rush into a root canal. This kind of bites (ha) because if I had the root canal now, my insurance would cover it. I was told that it will cost $1000-$1200 CAD if the root canal is required.

So, getting to the question - now that I have the permanent crown fitted on a temporary basis, what is a reasonable amount of time to wait to see if my tooth will calm down? My dentist is a good guy FWIW. Thanks in advance for recollections of your experience.
posted by analog to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
I tend to treat all dental issues as if I'm going to Africa with Jane Goodall next week and won't have access to any dental care. I know that dentists hate to destroy an otherwise good tooth, but my luck has been that I will wait, and it will calm down until the very day after my coverage expires, or there's a hurricane. YMMV.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 3:12 PM on February 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also recently got a crown on a rear molar because of a huge filling that made a chunk break off the side of the tooth. The tooth was painful to heat and cold and to chewing after getting the crown even though it never was before I got the crown.

I thought the nerve in the tooth would never calm down. So after a couple of weeks of pain, I started to preventatively take a dose of ibuprofen before I ate so I could chew pain free. It took a week or so of consistently taking the ibuprofen, and it helped calm the inflammation from the dental work. I also started using Sensodyne toothpaste and it has helped a lot with the hot and cold sensitivity. Now it's been about six weeks total since the crown and the tooth is fine.
posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 3:44 PM on February 7, 2012

Not an uncommon practice. It can take months or longer for a tooth to completely calm down, or a week if it was just a high spot in the temporary that has been resolved in the shape or fit of the permanent crown.
If your dentist has recommended this course and explained to you the precautions you have to take with the temp cement (which should be few if he used IRM) he will be prepared to deal with the possibility of recementing it a time or two.
Sometimes the sensitivity will disappear immediately, sometimes it's a long slow fade, and sometimes it plateaus but never goes away all together. there should be a plan for each eventuality, or, as some patients do, you could just say doc, i hear what you are saying but i can't afford the endo if this goes sour but i can afford it now so just do it and have done.
posted by OHenryPacey at 3:45 PM on February 7, 2012

Normally I would say wait two months or so. But you have insurance now. You won't have insurance then. That is the biggest consideration here. Get it fixed now.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 5:58 AM on February 8, 2012

All useful comments, thanks. I am inclined to do everything I can to keep my tooth alive, so I will wait it out and make sure I have some money set aside in case I need the root canal.
posted by analog at 10:27 AM on February 11, 2012

I doubt anyone will read this, but in case they do - update: the pain never went away, and after about 9 months, I had a $1200 root canal in an endodontist's office (which looked like a spa, by the way) - a couple of weeks later, the crown was put back on (permanently this time), and things are now golden.
posted by analog at 5:59 PM on December 29, 2012

Happy this is resolved for you.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:00 PM on December 30, 2012

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