Tag Archives: Root Canal Treatment

Gross Negligence Caused Serious Problems

I had pain and sensitivity to my back left 1st molar. I don’t have a regular dentist so I went to see a dentist who recently sent out advertisements. I told him about the sensitivity to cold and that the tooth was also painful to touch. He did an exam and x-ray and said the problem was with my wisdom teeth. He felt one was impacted and pressing a nerve. He thought some fillings would help. I agreed to the fillings and we did them right then, which I was grateful for at the time. However, two days later I ended up in massive pain. He adjusted the fillings. That didn’t help, so I called back and he prescribed me antibiotics and pain killers.

When those ran out, the pain flared back up in a serious way. His suggestion was I extract that wisdom tooth. I mentioned the pain felt in a different place, but he said it was probably referred pain. I went ahead and had the teeth extracted and started another course of antibiotics. Everything felt fine until the antibiotics ran out. He prescribed me another one, but by morning I was so miserable that I went to the emergency room.

They said I had an abscessed tooth at the left first molar I originally went to the dentist for. I called the dentist again and he referred me to an endodontist. The endodontist couldn’t see me for several weeks. I was in too much pain to wait so I went back to the oral surgeon who took out the wisdom tooth. He thought the molar needed to be removed as well, so I went ahead and had that taken out. I’m quite frustrated because I felt like I went through quite a few unnecessary appointments and procedures that were very expensive. Do I have any recourse for this?

Benjamin

Dear Benjamin,

Man holding his jaw in pain

This is gross negligence on the part of your dentist. There are so many things he did wrong here it is hard to know where to start. My suggestion is you tell him you would like him to cover the cost of the additional appointments and procedures you needed, in addition to a dental implant and crown which will be necessary to replace the first molar.

There is a good possibility this tooth could have been saved if he’d done his job properly to begin with. Plus, when he finally was told you had a dental emergency, he referred you to an endodontist that couldn’t see you for weeks, which put you at greater risk. Now that you’ve lost that tooth, if you don’t replace the tooth, the other teeth will begin to shift and tip into that space. That will throw off your bite and lead to expensive and painful TMJ disorder. You could go straight to a lawyer and I think you’d get everything you ask for, but I believe in giving a dentist a chance to make things right.

The things he did wrong are so basic, that I almost find it hard to believe that he actually graduated from dental school. That might be worth looking into. When you talk to them about the costs, ask one of the staff where he graduated from. I’d check to see if that is true.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Is Needing a Root Canal a Dental Emergency?

If a tooth needs a root canal treatment but doesn’t have any pain, is it a dental emergency or can it wait? On that note, if it can wait, how long can it wait?

Tyson

Dear Tyson,

Root Canal Treatment

This is kind of tricky to answer because I have not examined your tooth. I think, however, I can give you some general guidelines. If the tooth is hurting in any way (which you say yours is not) then, I would consider it a dental emergency and you would need to get treatment as soon as possible. You would not necessarily need to schedule it for that day, but as soon as they can.

I would say that if it starts hurting again, go in fairly soon as well. Both of those scenarios indicate that you have an active tooth infection that needs to be treated. Dental infections spread and can blow up pretty quickly. You do not want it spreading to your heart, lungs, or brain, all of which are close to your jaw.

If it is not hurting and has not for a while, you should be able to wait. I had a colleague who had a patient with a tooth that needed a root canal that waited several years. This was only possible because the infection was not active.

What was interesting to me about this case is that apparently, even though the infection wasn’t active, the fact that it had been infected was having an impact on his health. The patient felt unexplainably worn down all the time, even though he was getting enough sleep and his thyroid levels were good. The cause turned out to be the tooth. After he had his root canal treatment, he told my colleague that he felt better than he had in a while.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Do I REALLY Need a Root Canal Treatment?

I want some advice from you. I am six months pregnant. A few weeks ago, I went to see the dentist for a normal cleaning and check-up. I didn’t do any x-rays because of the baby. He said he found a small cavity, but not to worry, it was so small that I wouldn’t need any Novocaine. He was going to do a silver filling, but I heard those have mercury in them so I told him I would only do the white fillings that don’t have mercury. He said the danger of silver fillings was overblown, but I insisted so he gave in. Now, I’m having sensitivity to that tooth, especially to cold. I went back in for him to look at it and he said that it needs a root canal treatment. How can it go from being such a small filling it doesn’t need Novocaine to now needing a root canal in just a few short weeks? Obviously, if I have an infection I need to deal with it, but I don’t want any unnecessary procedures while I am pregnant. How would you advise me?

Kelsey

Dear Kelsey,

Pregnant woman at the dentist before treatment

You have a right to be suspicious of the advice you are getting for several reasons. If there is a cavity, it means the decay is in the dentin. That would need Novocaine. Then, all of a sudden this super small cavity needs a root canal treatment? Yeah, you need a second opinion.

While you are correct that if the tooth is infected you will need treatment, based on what you have said, I think the most likely culprit is the filling itself.

You mentioned your dentist generally does silver amalgam fillings. The procedure for white composite fillings is completely different. My guess is that filling was not properly placed and that is what is causing your sensitivity.

I would like you to see a mercury-free dentist to have this looked at and done correctly. They will be amply skilled with composite fillings. By the way, I do not think this is the best dentist for you. He is not keeping up in his field. Composite fillings should be the standard at this point. I think it is time you look for a new dentist.

On the off chance it turns out you do need a root canal treatment, you can ask for Lidocaine instead of Novocaine. This is used safely during both pregnancy and delivery, which will put your mind at each about any medication going into your body during the procedure.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Dental Emergency Disaster

I need some help for my poor husband who is suffering and in great pain. He had an injury which caused some pretty bad damage to teeth number eight and nine, as well as his head. He was treated at the ER and then we went to a dentist. The dentist wanted to wait two weeks for everything to calm down before doing anything. When we returned, the number eight tooth had turned dark but the dentist said there was only dried blood there and she didn’t think it needed a root canal treatment. She did a temporary crown. Then, a couple of weeks later the permanent one was bonded on. Barely a month later he was in excruciating pain. We went back to our dentist who gave him five days’ worth of amoxicillin and did the root canal treatment a week later. The pain did not go away so she root-canaled the tooth next to it, which I think was a totally unnecessary treatment. HIs pain still hasn’t gone away. He is still in pain. I don’t feel like he is getting good treatment. What do I do for him now?

Angela

Dear Angela,

Man in pain in need of an emergency dentist

You obviously know this already, but your husband has received quite poor care from your dentist. Let’s start with the original, “It doesn’t need anything.” What did she think was going on when the tooth turned dark?

The second real issue I see is the way the root canal treatment itself was handled. First, she didn’t give him enough antibiotics to make it through to the treatment, which means the infection will flare back up. Then she did the treatment itself which risks closing the infection in.

Finally, when the pain didn’t go away, instead of thinking maybe the root canal treatment failed, she treats the tooth next to it that had no pain. That is incompetence on a whole new level.

My recommendation is you call an endodontist. They are root canal specialists. Let them know what has been going on so you can get an emergency appointment.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Problem with CEREC Crown

I went to my dentist because of pain with pressure and sensitivity to hot and cold. My dentist suggested a crown and we decided on a CEREC crown for the first time on a back tooth. I’d had other crowns before so I wasn’t new to the gig. I like how fast it went and having the crown that day. A few days later though, I still had the same problem. I went back to see the dentist and he checked to make sure it was on right. He felt it was and told me to give it eight weeks. That was discouraging because I was going on vacation, but what else could I do? I bought some pain meds and left town. I was in so much pain and practically lived on those pain meds. At about the eight-week mark, it did start to get better. That’s a lot of pain to go through with a crown. Normally, I have the pain go away with immediate relief. Is this a pattern with a CEREC crown?

Morgan

Dear Morgan,

Block of porcelain for a CEREC crown

I would like you to see a different dentist and have this looked at, including an x-ray. CEREC crowns are equally effective as traditional crowns. The biggest difference is the same-day service. When there is the type of pain you were having, just crowning the tooth will not necessarily solve the problem on its own. The fact that it was still hurting afterward bears this out in your case.

With it gradually getting better over that length of time, it sounds more to me like the pulp of your tooth was dying. I’d like to know if the original problem was some type of dental infection.

Usually, when there is a sensitive tooth that also needs a crown, the first thing to do is remove any old fillings or decay. Then place some glass isomer or bonded build-up material and give it a bit of time. This is to see if the tooth settles down. If it doesn’t and the pain persists, that is a signal the tooth needs a root canal treatment.

Have this looked at elsewhere so you don’t risk an infection flaring back up.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Surgeon Won’t Take OUt Both My Teeth

I am very frustrated. I had a root canal treatment that I think has failed and the tooth needs to be removed. Near that, I have an impacted wisdom tooth that my dentist says is infected and he thinks needs to be removed. I am fine with that, but he refuses to remove the tooth on which I had the root canal treatment. Shouldn’t I be the one to decide that? I’m refusing the procedure because I do not want to do them separately and I am certain the other needs to be removed. What do you recommend I say to convince him to do both teeth?

Linda

Dear Linda,

I want you to be very careful here. An infected tooth is nothing to mess around with. It appears your dentist feels very strongly that this wisdom tooth IS, in fact, infected. If you think about how close your jaw is to your throat (which could swell up and close), heart, and brain, you definitely do not want this infection to spread. This is one of the reasons we consider tooth infection a dental emergency.

So, if your dentist is trying to get you to remove one tooth, why not two? He’d certainly make more money if he did. The only reason I can think of is that your dentist does not believe the tooth with the root canal treatment is infected and he has too much integrity to take your money on a tooth that is saveable.

I am sure if you searched you would find a dentist willing to remove both. While you do not have to replace an extracted wisdom tooth. The other tooth will need to be replaced. This will give the dentist even more money, especially if you choose to get the best tooth replacement option, a dental implant.

If you choose not to replace it, the other adjacent teeth will either shift or tip into the tooth’s empty space. This will throw your bite off and can lead to painful TMJ Disorder.

The fact that your dentist is not wanting to remove this tooth and gain all this extra money tells me your tooth is healthy and you have a dentist of great integrity. I’d stick with him.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Will Crest Whitestrips Damage a Tooth?

I have a damaged incisor that has always been a bit darker than the other teeth. It has started to embarrass me now that I am older. I wanted to whiten it, so my dentist suggested I try Crest Whitestrips. I bought their strongest. After a week, that tooth started to hurt, so I stopped using them. However, the tooth doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It is sensitive to both cold and heat. Do you think it needs a root canal treatment? Is it normal for teeth whitening to do that?

Livvie

Dear Livvie,

Woman covering her mouth with hand. Seeing something shocking surprised and speechless face expression.

In general, using Crest Whitestrips are safe. That is mostly true because they are not very strong. For safety reasons, the over-the-counter brands are weaker than what you would get if you were doing teeth whitening with a dentist. I’ve only heard of one other time someone needed a root canal treatment after using Crest Whitestrips and the situation is eerily similar to yours.

My recommendation would be to have your dentist do a cold test on your teeth. That will help him know if the tooth needs further treatment.

The Right Fix for a Dark Tooth

One further thing here. Crest White strips (or any teeth whitening) was the wrong treatment for this. When your teeth are whitened, they whiten uniformly. That means the dark tooth would still be darker than the other teeth.

A better treatment for this would have been either dental bonding or even a porcelain veneer. Either way, don’t allow your current dentist to do the treatment.

Teeth whitening is one of the easiest cosmetic procedures available. Every dentist should be able to do it properly. It seems, however, that your dentist doesn’t understand even that. Dental bonding and veneers are much more advanced. When you are ready to get this tooth fixed, you will want to seek an expert cosmetic dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Thimmesch and Foreman.

Root Canal FAilure

I’m a bit worried about something. I had a root canal treatment done about 3 years ago. About a month ago it started hurting. My dentist did a retreatment. A week later the pain increased quite a bit. I called him and he prescribed an antibiotic. It started to feel a bit better but now it is worse again. I called his office again and he said to give it time, some people take longer to heal than others. I am in tremendous pain. Is he right about this? If so, how much is a reasonable amount of time to give it?

Nicole

Dear Nicole,

Something isn’t right with how your dentist is handling this. It appeared like you said that your pain went down and then started back up. This is a clear signal you still have an infected tooth.

Though root canal treatments are successful about 95% of the time, when it does fail, the chances of a re-treatment being successful go down with each successive try.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t worth trying. It is always better to save a tooth whenever possible. I would consider your situation a dental emergency. This infection will continue to spread. Dental infections can turn life-threatening because they are so close to your heart, brain, and lungs.

Because of the severity of your situation, I am going to suggest that you call a prosthodontist. These are root canal experts. Explain the situation when you call. They will likely try to get you in right away. If they can’t, make sure they call in a new, different antibiotic for you.

If it turns out the prosthodontist tells you the tooth can’t be saved, then extraction will be the only option. When that happens, you will need replace the tooth. Ideally, you’d get a dental implant for that as it will help preserve the underlying bone structure.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Thimmesch and Foreman.

Antibiotics for Tooth Infection

I had a severe toothache and went to see a new dentist. My regular one closed permanently shortly after the quarantine started. He was close to retirement anyway. This dentist gave me an antibiotic that I was taking three times a day. My tooth started to get better, but now has gotten worse. What do I do now? I have never had this happen before.

Alice

Dear Alice,

Woman grabbing her jaw in pain needing an emergency dentist

I hope your new dentist didn’t think giving you an antibiotic was enough. He should have scheduled a follow-up appointment with you to have a root canal treatment. If he didn’t, that is a real problem.

An antibiotic is useful to hold off an infection until you are able to have the treatment you need. However, it does not heal the tooth. The only way to do that is for the dentist to get in there and physically remove the infected pulp.

If the tooth can be saved, you would do that with a root canal treatment and many times a dental crown will need to be placed as well. If the tooth can’t be saved, then you’d need a tooth extraction.

It is a bad sign that the infection started to get better and then progressed again. This is a dental emergency and needs to be seen right away.

If You Lose the Tooth

My guess is you will still be able to save the tooth. If, however, you get back in and it isn’t possible, then the tooth will have to be extracted to keep the infection from spreading. Dental infections can turn life-threatening.

When a tooth is extracted, it is important to replace it. If you don’t, the other teeth will shift and tip into the open space, which will throw off your bite. In some cases, it can lead to TMJ Disorder and daily jaw pain and migraines.

Hopefully, this dentist didn’t cost you a tooth.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Root Canal with a Porcelain Veneer

I have eight porcelain veneers that I love. I recently found out that one of the teeth needs a root canal treatment. I am a bit worried the procedure will damage my porcelain veneer. Is this safe or will I need to replace the veneer?

Maggie

Dear Maggie,

A single porcelain veneer being placed on a tooth

If your tooth needs a root canal treatment, you don’t want to leave the infection untreated. That would be quite dangerous. Dental emergencies have a way of turning into life-threatening medical emergencies when you don’t get timely care.

To put your mind at ease about your porcelain veneer, though, it shouldn’t have any impact on the porcelain veneer itself. One thing that does become an issue is the underlying tooth turning dark, which in turn will cause your porcelain veneer to turn dark. There is a way to forestall this, however.

Have your dentist carefully follow these instructions if they don’t already know this procedure.

The most important step is to make sure they get all the underlying material out of the canals from the root tip all the way to the crown of the tooth.

Once that is done, your dentist will want to put in a white fiberglass post. From there, he or she will fill the remainder of space with white composite material.

Doing this will keep the tooth white much longer than would otherwise be possible. It works even better when the tooth has a porcelain veneer, as yours does.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.