Dentistry/Root canal


Hi how you are well,
I'm wondering about a patient who presented with facial swelling. He had a root canal two weeks earlier tooth 18, , it was vital tooth but decay into nerve, was never symptomatic. He came in today with buccal cheek swelling and huge  ulcerated bite mark on the inside of his cheek. Said he Bit his cheek very hard last week and started to swell,    root canaled tooth 18, looked ok on radiograph, fill about 2.5-3 mm short on one of the root, no swelling in the facial or lingual vestibule around 18 and not sensitive to palpating.
He said only problem post root canal was jaw pain, so  I'm assuming swelling just from cheek biting. How long would be a proper time to wait for healing prior to crowning tooth to make sure swelling not associated with the  root canaled tooth?

Hi Dee,

Nice to hear from you again! Happy holidays...

Since the root canal was done 2 weeks before all this started, I would tend to agree with you that the swelling is coming from the cheek bite. It's really impossible to give you a timeline, because the swelling in the area sets up a situation of continued bites and continuing trauma, even if the patient consciously tries to not bite himself, it can still happen and delay healing. In the absence of other symptoms, I would just wait until the swelling totally resolves. If any other symptoms develop, like soreness to bite, vestibular swelling, etc., then you need to take a harder look at the endo.

Hope this helps.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD


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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD


I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.


25 years practicing as a specialist

American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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