Expert: Frederick R. Liewehr DDS, MS, FICD - 3/19/2013
Question hi, I recently got a root canal. but that tapped my insurance for the year. Anything else will have to come out of my pocket. the dentist said that I need to come back for a post and crown. the sooner the better. he filled the root canal with a temporary filling it's like a clay like substance. I am saving the money for the post and crown but it is very expensive. the question I have is in the meantime the temporary filling is wearing away. can I prolong getting the crown by going to the drugstore and purchasing over the counter dental cement? the kind they use when people have a crown that came loose or a filling that came out? can I keep putting some in there and build it back up until I can finally afford the procedure. I don't plan on doing this for a very long time. just a couple of months and only when it needs it. any light you can shed on this subject would be greatly appreciated thank you very much.
Answer I can't tell you because I have no idea what is sold over the counter. You would have a great deal of difficulty placing it properly to ensure a leak-proof fit. I can't tell you whether or not you need a post and core and crown; it depends on which tooth is involved and how much tooth structure remains. The best bet would be to use some form of credit like Care Credit, which many offices offer. The dentist actually pays the fees and interest, so you get an interest-free loan. That way you could get it done now. If you don't, you risk having the tooth re-infected from a leaky temporary restoration, or if it is a posterior tooth, fracturing and needing to be extracted because it wasn't protected by a crown. Just last week I had a patient, who did not schedule a crown preparation after her endo as she was told, call in 6 weeks later with the tooth fractured and needing extraction. Now it will cost her the extraction and a bridge, which is a lot more than the original crown would have been.
I can answer your questions about root canal therapy in general. PLEASE DO NOT ask me to diagnose your particular problems or recommend treatment as I cannot do this without examining you and seeing your x-rays.
I am a Board-certified endodontist, former university department Chairman, teach dental residents, and have a private practice.