Tag Archives: root canal treatment

Dentist Won’t Remove My Tooth

I have been having a lot of dental work done. I recently had two root canals done. One of them has never felt quite right. I have a wisdom tooth that is infected and my dentist wants to remove it. I’m all for that. However, I also want to remove the tooth that had the root canal treatment. He won’t do it. I’m waiting until I can get both done. Is there anything I can say to convince him to take that tooth out?

Stacey

Dear Stacey,

A woman holding her jaw in pain

While I am sure you can find a dentist who would be willing to take out the extra tooth that you would like removed, I’m not sure you want to do that. If your dentist thought the tooth was infected, he would certainly take it out. After all, he would make more money taking out an extra tooth. So why is he saying no? The only reason I can think of is he has integrity and is not willing to take your money unnecessarily. In all honesty, I think that is something to be grateful for.

Please don’t put off getting that infected wisdom tooth removed. A tooth infection is serious and will spread. If you think about how close your jaw is to your heart, you do not want the infection reaching there. You are putting yourself in serious risk by holding out to try to convince him to do this other tooth.

If you still want to insist on having both removed, as I said earlier, I am sure you can find a dentist willing to take your money.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Premium Home Whitening Versus the Dentist

I want to whiten my teeth but I’ve been avoiding going anywhere with the surge of covid cases. I just feel like I need something to cheer me up. Looking online, one kit I see that has some positive reviews is Premium Home Whitening. How does this rank with what I’d get from my dentist? Will it actually whiten my teeth?

Gina

Dear Gina,

teeth whitening trays
Professional teeth whitening trays

I’ll start with the positive about this kit. The teeth whitening ingredient is valid and will whiten your teeth. So, if you decide to use this product and really stick with it, you could get some good results. That being said, I have some concerns.

Disadvantages to Premium Home Whitening

This first one I would not call a disadvantage as much as a red flag. The light they provide does nothing. It is simply a marketing ploy. Why not just sell the kit without it and lower the price. To me, that calls into question the integrity of the company and I’d wonder if the rest of what they list is true. For instance, is the whitening ingredient really the percentage they say it is?

The second is the whitening trays. These are not custom fit the way you would get with your dentist. Instead, you DIY them at home. This causes two problems with the whitening gel. Your saliva can get into the tray, which will weaken the strength of the gel. Now it will take more kits to do the same amount of work. In addition to that, your gel can leak from the tray. Not only does this further weaken the gel, but it puts your gums at risk of irritation. There have been cases where patients needed a root canal treatment as a result of an over-the-counter whitening kit because of this type of leakage.

My Recommendation

I would get your teeth whitening done with your dentist. In the long run, you should save money and it is safer. You mentioned concerns about COVID for not wanting to go in. Dentists are all taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of their patients, especially at this time. Something you could request is to ask to come at a time when they have fewer patients, that way you are not surrounded by as many people. Also, some patients have even requested they wait in their car and the receptionist just texts them when it is time to go back.

I hope this helped.
This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Using a Cheap Alloy Instead of a Gold Crown

I have some sensitivities to metals and other dental materials. When I needed a root canal treatment and dental crown, I specifically asked my dentist to provide me with a gold alloy crown so I would have less to worry about. The root canal treatment turned out fine, but I’ve been having some swelling around the tooth. I asked to see the dental certificate and my dentist told me the lab did not send one. I requested him to get one and it turned out the materials were not what I requested. There was only 2% Gold. The rest was 35% Palladium, 30% Indium, 30% Silver, and 3% Zinc. I suspect this is why I am having some swelling, though my dentist insists there are never allergies to these materials. Am I wrong for being upset about this? I’m beginning not to trust him as the cost for the crown was in line with a gold alloy but I received something quite different. Where do I go from here?

Benjamin

Dear Benjamin,

identalloy certificate

I’m going to say up front that I do not believe your dentist did not receive the certificate. By law, the labs are required to send them and the dentist is supposed to place that in the patient’s chart. It appears he wanted to increase his profits by giving you a cheap substitute believing that you wouldn’t have a reaction. I have learned not to say there are NO allergies to something. Each human body is remarkably unique and there is always the possibility that someone will have an allergy to something, even if very rare.

For a dental crown to be considered a gold alloy, it has to meet two qualifications. First, it must be made of at least 60% of a combination of gold, platinum, palladium, and silver. Yours was above that number and meets the first qualification. Second, it must be at least 40% Gold. Yours was only 2%, which is well below the qualification.

I’m going to suggest you ask him to re-do the dental crown with the materials you requested. If he refuses, tell him you will report him to the dental board. He violated the standard of care in two ways. One by misrepresenting what he provided you and two by not having the certificate (or pretending not to). Then, I want you to find a different dentist. One you can trust.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.
Click here to learn how we keep our dentistry affordable.

My Husband is Being Tortured By Our Dentist

My husband had an accident that caused some damage to his chin and teeth, as well as gave him a concussion. We took him to the ER, then the dentist the next morning. The dentist said everything needed some time to calm down. When it did, one of his teeth started turning dark. Fortunately, he wasn’t in pain. Our dentist said she didn’t see anything and only felt dried blood. From there, she gave him a dental crown. Fast forward a couple of months and he was in severe pain. Our dentist then gave him an emergency root canal treatment. She prescribed him 5 days worth of antibiotics then finished up his root canal treatment a week later. Even after the root canal treatment, the pain continued. The dentist provided him with no pain relief medication. After another week she decided to root canal the tooth next to the one she previously treated. That also did nothing. My husband is in absolute agony and I feel like her lack of caring is border line torture. What should we do to get him the help he needs?

Lisa

Dear Lisa,

Man in pain, grabbing his cheek in need of emergency dental care.

Your husband has been through so much and I can tell how much you care about him. Your dentist has made a couple of big mistakes here. First, when the tooth first started to discolor, it needed a root canal treatment right then. I don’t know why your dentist didn’t do one. It makes no sense to me. The dried blood should have been a giant hint that the tooth was dead, even if the discoloration didn’t tell her that.

Next is the way she handled the root canal treatment itself. The way she provided only five days of antibiotics, but waited seven days to close the root canal tells me that she doesn’t understand how these infections work at all. By allowing the antibiotics to run out, she also allowed the infection to flair back up, then she closed the tooth. No wonder your husband was in pain. She never got rid of the infection and closed it up inside the tooth. Then, she did a useless treatment on the adjacent tooth.

Your husband is not being served well by this dentist. I highly recommend that you call an endodontist first thing in the morning. They are root canal specialists and can get this treated correctly. When you call, let them know what has happened so they can get him some antibiotics and pain relief while they get his appointment ready. I’m certain they’ll schedule him an emergency appointment.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

How to Know if a Tooth is Infected?

I am really confused and wondering if one dentist is incompetent or maybe one is just taking me for a ride? I went to the dentist and he told me I had a small cavity. He told me it would only need a small filling. We did the filling and then a few days later the tooth was very sensitive, especially to cold. I went back in and now he is telling me I need a root canal treatment. How can it go from small filling to root canal in such a short time? Is this tooth really infected or am I being taken for a ride?

Connie

Dear Connie,

toothache

I am suspicious of this and think you need a second opinion from someone who can examine you. If there is a tooth infection, an x-ray should show that pretty clearly. Sensitivity to cold could also be the result of a poorly done dental filling. I’m assuming you had a composite filling done. These can sometimes be tricky. If a dentist is used to placing silver fillings, he may not yet have the skills to place a composite filling yet.

One thing to notice is the senstivity. If it starts to happen even when you don’t have anything cold, that would be a concerning sign. In that case, I would get the root canal treatment. It is better to nip these things in the bud before an infection can spread.

If it is just the filling, just having that re-done by someone who understands the procedure for composites will solve the issue.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Angry with Pediatric Dentist

I am so upset right now I am shaking. I had my daughter in for a checkup and he told me there is a cavity on a back tooth and he’ll need to do a pulpotomy. I had some questions. First, what is a pulpotomy? Second, why can’t we just do a filling? Third, if it is a baby tooth, why can’t we just extract it and let the adult one come in? Rather than answer ANY of my questions he said, “Do you ever get tired of questioning experts all the time? Maybe you should trust I am the dentist and know what I’m doing.” I don’t think my questions were unreasonable. AND this is MY child. Not his. Would you mind answering the questions for me so I can decide what to do?

Jennifer

Dear Jennifer,

Four Smiling Children

I am sorry that you were treated this way. I will be happy to answer your questions. Before I do, I am going to suggest you find another dentist for your daughter. You need someone who is on your side and willing to answer every single question and concern you have. It does not have to be a pediatric dentist. There are family dentists who treat both adults and children. Now for your questions.

A pulpotomy is a child’s version of a root canal treatment. They are less involved than the adult versions. It is typically reserved for back teeth and is a last resort at saving the tooth that is infected. This leads to your second question.

If it is a matter of a simple cavity, then a filling will be all she needs. I recommend mercury-free composite fillings as the safest option. Once the cavity spreads to about 30% of the tooth, then a filling will not be enough and you would have to get her a dental crown.

Only if the tooth is infected would you do a pulpotomy. You did not mention that your daughter had an infection in the tooth, just a cavity, so that makes me wonder. It may be in her best interest to get a second opinion.

Your final question was a good one as well. In some cases, it is fine to just extract a baby tooth and wait for the adult tooth to make its appearance. Back molars are different. They have to last until your child is around twelve years of age. Otherwise, that space is left open for too long waiting on the adult molars. The adjacent teeth drift or tip into the spot. When the adult teeth finally do arrive, there is not enough room for them, which leads to crowding and the need for orthodontics.

If a back tooth does have to be extracted, her dentist would need to put a space maintainer there in order to keep the rest of the teeth in place until her adult tooth arises.

I hope this helps.
This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.
We’re open on Saturdays.

How Long Can I Put Off a Root Canal Treatment?

I have a tooth that needs a root canal treatment. My wife thinks it is urgent and I need to get it checked right away. There is absolutely no pain from this and I think it can wait, especially since I’ve been laid off. If I absolutely had to, I could take money out of savings and deal with this, but I would rather wait until I had some income again. Is that possible? My wife is absolutely certain I am going to die from this if I don’t see a dentist.

David

Dear David,

Man in pain, grabbing his cheek in need of emergency dental care.

I cannot give you hard and fast numbers, but there are some general guidelines that apply here. First, though, let me explain why your wife is so worried. Believe it or not, there are still people who die from tooth infections. There was a fairly recent case that made the news about a truck driver who died from his tooth. He’d planned on getting an appointment but was too late. That being said, not every infected tooth has to be seen right away. It depends on if it is an active or latent tooth infection.

Signs of an active tooth infection:

  • Current or recent pain
  • Drainage by the infected tooth
  • A pimple on your gums

Any of the above tells me you need to be seen by your dentist and have the root canal treatment done. On the other hand, if your tooth has no pain at all and has not for a while, then you have a latent infection and can afford to put off your root canal treatment for a bit. If the pain returns, call your dentist right away to schedule an emergency appointment.

Is there a risk in waiting?

There are a couple of risks here. One is that the tooth infection blows up quickly causing you to need a more invasive treatment than would have been necessary. A second issue is that your tooth doesn’t hurt for years, but because of what was going on in the background you end up with root absorption and your tooth can no longer be saved. Then, instead of a simple root canal treatment, you end up with a tooth extraction and the cost of a tooth replacement, such as a dental implant.

If you’re in no pain whatsoever, wait and see if the job situation turns around. If it looks like this may be a long-term problem, go ahead and get the treatment while it is simple.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

In Pain After Dental Work in Mexico

I need some advice and am wondering if I have a dental emergency on my hands. I went to Mexico to save some money on my dental care. They gave the three crowns in all. One of the crowns fell off after a few days, so I made the trip back to have it fixed. Then, they told me it needed a root canal treatment in order to have the crown replaced. When I asked why they didn’t do that to begin with they said root canals only work sometimes so aren’t worth it unless there is a problem. It sounded like they were trying to save me money before so I agreed to the root canal treatment. Now I am in massive pain and the tooth is really sensitive. I called them back and they said I would need to come back in. Now they are saying the tooth is cracked and I will need to extract it and get a dental implant. If it wasn’t cracked before does that mean they cracked it when they did the root canal? Do I go ahead with this extraction and replacement? I’m starting to lose confidence in them.

Bryce

Dear Bryce,

Man in pain, grabbing his cheek in need of emergency dental care.

STARTING to lose confidence in them? I lost confidence back when the dental crown fell off. Properly bonding on a dental crown is a pretty basic dental procedure. Even the worst crowns should last a minimum of five years. Yours did not even last a few days. As for their root canal treatment, the excuse that they don’t always work does not wash with me. While root canal failure is a thing, if your tooth is infected you need a root canal treatment. Period. However, I don’t think you needed one. You gave no indication to me that you were in pain, which is one of the signs of an infected tooth.

I think you were given an unnecessary root canal. Not only that, they didn’t finish it. If they had, you would not be in pain. You can only have sensitivity in a tooth if there is still some viable tissue. A root canal treatment is supposed to remove all the inside tissue. Obviously, they didn’t. Now they are saying the tooth is cracked and you need to replace it. Even if it is true that the tooth is cracked, that does not make it unsavable.

I would not let these people anywhere near your teeth for even a second. I don’t know what the laws are in Mexico for patient recourse in these situations, but you may end up just having to cut your losses. If you are in pain, and it sounds like you are, I’d like you to schedule an urgent dental appointment with a dentist here in the United States. Get a true evaluation of this tooth and see where you stand. Then we’ll have a better idea of how you can get this healed.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Traumatic Tooth Injury and Dental Anxiety

I took a pretty bad fall and now two of my teeth are starting to turn black. Is there something that can be done to help this? I have to tell you I haven’t been to the dentist in two years because I have horrible dental anxiety. The last time I went the teeth were healthy.

Brooke

Dear Brooke,

woman asleep in the dental chair from dental sedation

When a tooth turns black after an injury, it means the nerve inside the tissue of your teeth has died. The treatment for this will be a root canal treatment. Then a dental crown can be placed over the tooth to both protect the tooth and to improve its appearance.

I do understand that you are not comfortable at the dentist and have some dental anxiety you are dealing with. I want to make sure you know there are dentists who work with anxious patients. By seeing a sedation dentist, you can have a completely anxiety-free and pain-free dental experience.

Most dentists offer two levels of dental sedation: nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. Nitrous is sometimes called laughing gas. It doesn’t actually make you silly as it does give you a relaxed, floaty feeling. This is often enough for some patients to have an easier dental experience. It has the additional benefit of allowing you to get on with your day immediately following your appointment.

If your anxiety is stronger, and for some it is debilitating, then I would suggest oral conscious sedation. This is so strong that some call it sleep dentistry because you are so relaxed you can sleep through your appointment. The only real downside is that, because of its strength, you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as stay with you for a few hours after your appointment until you are lucid and steady on your feet.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

CEREC Crown Hurts

I had a CEREC crown done on a tooth. This isn’t my first crown, but it is my first CEREC crown. For some reason, this one hurts when I bite down. Is that something peculiar to this type of crown? I’ve never had that happen before?

Jeff

Dear Jeff,

Man in pain, grabbing his cheek in need of emergency dental care.

I truly do not believe the pain you are experiencing is because it is a CEREC crown. Most of the time, CEREC crowns fit better because they are precisely milled by a computer. So, what COULD be causing your pain?

The first reason could be that the bite is too high. If it isn’t seated in the correct place, then when you bite down all your biting force is going to that one spot instead of being spread across all your teeth. This can cause some substantial pain. If this is the case, your dentist can adjust the crown and you should have no further problems.

You didn’t mention if you’d already been back to your dentist and this has been done. If the crown has been adjusted and you are still experiencing pain, the next step would be to check for a lingering infection. If you had this crown placed after a root canal treatment, there can be a canal that was missed. Though our teeth only have a limited number of canals, many times they have branches that shoot off into other parts of the tooth. A dentist can do everything right and still not be able to get everything the first go-round. In that case, a re-treatment can be tried. If you do need a re-treatment, I generally recommend you see a root canal specialist to increase your chances of success the second time around.

Even if you didn’t have a root canal treatment, there could still have been an infection there. Sometimes, the infections are small and hard to read, but get easier as the infection grows. A simple diagnostic x-ray should help determine if this is the cause of your pain.

I would start with these two avenues of inquiry as they are the most common.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.
Learn about our dental sedation options.