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Root Canals

Is a root canal necessary?

10/01/2010

Question:

Hi. I recently went bike riding with some friends up a mountain. I’m not experienced and I fell of my bike and fell right on my face. I ended up breaking 1/4 of my front tooth off and I’m devastated thinking I will never have a nice smile again.

The dentist put some "permanent" material that’s temporary and it looks hideous. You can see lines/cracks in my tooth, where my real tooth ends and the fake begins, and the surface of the tooth is rough.

I went to the endodontist and they took x-rays but they rescheduled my appointment because they said the tooth is still “in shock” and the x-ray results are not accurate when the tooth has been hurt. So I’ve been waiting and my appointment isn’t until the end of October.

I’m terrified that they’re going to tell me I need a root canal and I’m going to have a black front tooth for the rest of my life. I’ve been reading up on root canals and a lot of the symptoms are sensitivity to hot foods and liquids, soreness of the gums, darkening of the tooth and pimples in the mouth?

I have none of those symptoms other than sensitivity but to cold liquids. I’m 24yrs old and I can’t imagine myself with a fake tooth. PLEASE tell me what you think I should do, and how bad you think my situation is. Is there any way of making a tooth look normal with the "permanent material" if this is my last resort?

Answer:

Call your endodontist and express your questions/concerns. It is normal to not treat a tooth immediately after trauma and to reevaluate the status of your tooth. There is no reason to be terrified of needing a root canal. They are often done following trauma. That does not mean your tooth will be black. Many people after trauma have root canal treatments and restorations done and no one would ever know by looking at them.

Please direct your questions to your endodontist who knows the specifics of your case. He/she should help alleviate your fears.

For more information:

Go to the Root Canals health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS
Assistant Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University