I had a crown done over 30 years ago done on my right lateral incisor. When I went in for my regular cleaning and exam, my dentist informed me that I needed a root canal. He said there was a lot of tooth decay located underneath the crown.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe him. I mean, it’s been decades. But, I haven’t had any issues with pain or any other sign of a tooth infection. So, I moved forward with the recommended treatment. The dentist started the procedure and had to give up after two hours. He said that the root canal had calcified and he couldn’t find it. So, he put a temporary filling in the crown and referred me to another dentist who specializes in root canals.
When I called the endodontist, he didn’t sound too concerned when I explained what was happening since I haven’t had any pain associated with it. So, my appointment was scheduled for several weeks away. Well, I still need to wait another two weeks for my appointment and my porcelain crown broke off. There was some of my tooth that came out with it too. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do at this point. I am an elderly person and I don’t have a big budget for dental care. I honestly think it should have been left alone because it wasn’t bothering me. Now, I’m wondering if I should move forward with a dental implant to replace the broken tooth?
I’m just not feeling really good about the endodontist doing a root canal that should have never been messed with. I have to wonder if there is even enough of my natural tooth left to put a new crown back on. I went to Walgreens and picked up some over-the-counter dental adhesive so I can reattach the crown until I’m able to get back in.
It sure seems like you are a reputable dentist in your area. What would you recommend for me at this point?
Well, it is difficult to provide specific recommendations without having seen your case in person. But, I can provide some general feedback based on what you have explained so far.
First off, was it the dentist’s fault that the tooth is broken? It is not common to have a dentist drilling for two hours and not having success locating the canal. You have to wonder if that compromised the health tooth structure underneath the crown. The dentist should provide you more options at this point and should have offered more information to the endodontist, instead of referring you and leaving it at that. Hopefully, he has learned from this experience. However, that doesn’t help you out at this point. If it was his fault, it seems he should help you with some of the cost to get it fixed. On the other hand, it sounds like he may be in over his head and it wouldn’t be wise to continue working with him at this point.
Since you mentioned that there is decay located underneath the crown, it would be wise to have the crown removed since you need to have it replaced anyway. Then, the decay can be removed and it should be a lot easier to locate the root canal. If there is any infection that took place under the crown (even if you don’t feel it) then the decay may have gone into the canal. With the old crown removed, there will be a higher chance of success for the endodontist if you go that route.
Another important issue that you have brought up is the fact that some of your natural tooth has come off with the crown. The remaining tooth structure may not be sufficient to re-cement a new crown. The best way to replace a missing tooth is with a dental implant. It will look, feel and function just like a natural tooth. However, it is more expensive than alternative treatments like a dental bridge. If you would like to learn more about if you are a dental implant candidate, be sure to find an excellent implant dentist in your area. Not just any family dentist will have success in placing dental implants. The surgical posts need to be placed in the proper positions in order to hold up to rotational forces. It requires extensive training beyond dental school to get it right. Find a dentist with strong credentials, ask to see cases similar to yours and see if there are reviews or testimonials so that you can hear from others who have had similar treatment plans.
The biggest takeaway here for you is that it sounds like it may be time to seek a second opinion on your case. Your current dentist doesn’t sound equipped to successfully treat your tooth.
This post is sponsored by York PA dentist Donald H. Currie, DMD