I have had the worst time with my left, upper molar. It all started several years ago when I had severe tooth pain. I went to the dentist and he ended up doing a root canal and a gold crown. The pain came back after a couple of years with the crown on that same tooth. This time, I was referred to an endodontist. There was a fourth canal found on the tooth and it was treated. Then, after a couple more years went by, I ended up with an abscess on the same tooth. So, I went back to the same endodontist who did an apicoectomy.
He was upfront with me about the chances of success for the tooth at this point. He also said I have a cracked root. When I ended up with another abscess, I was referred to a periodontist for treatment. I still wanted to do everything possible not to lose the tooth since I’ve put so much money into trying to save it. The periodontist amputated the cracked root and performed bone grafting.
The next abscess came about a year after the procedure by the periodontist. It is so painful. I would define it as tooth pain, which I didn’t think was possible after all this time and work with the root canals. Now, they are telling me to take a course of antibiotics and check back in after a week. He also mentioned returning to the endodontist for retreatment of the root canal.
I feel like I did my homework. All of these doctors came very highly recommended. I honestly felt like they were doing their best and had my best interests in mind, which is why this is even more frustrating.
Have you ever heard of yet another undiscovered root branch? I thought all of the roots had been treated at this point, so I am wondering why it needs to be retreated. Or is there another possibility that I’m unaware of that could be causing reoccurring abscesses.
I’m really hoping you have some insight that we haven’t considered yet.
-Teri in Missouri
First off, I’m so sorry to hear how difficult this situation has been for you. It sure seems like all of the right things have been done, especially since you have communicated the importance of saving your tooth.
However, at this point going back to have the root canal retreated again seems like it could have an uncertain outcome. Whatever is going on doesn’t seem to have been addressed after multiple treatments.
Dentists have different philosophies on saving teeth. And it sure sounds like each one of these dentists have done their best to save your tooth. But after all that you have been though, it may be time to consider getting a dental implant.
When a dental implant is done correctly, it will look, feel and function just like your natural tooth. It is a permanent solution and you should have no further issues with abscesses.
It is possible that when the tooth started hurting after it had already been treated with a root canal, the cause was never determined. A lot of endodontists make educated speculations and it can require multiple treatments to get it right since the nerves are difficult to trace. Even with an x-ray, a cracked root isn’t visible. Canals are also difficult to predict. This is likely why the endodontist talked with you about the success rate for the tooth. That only means there is a also chance it may not be successful, even after all the treatments that have been performed. Unfortunately, after seeing many reputable dentists, there is still a problem.
At this point, it is up to you. You can take your chances and try again with another root canal. Or you can have a much higher chance at success by replacing the tooth with a dental implant.
Best of luck to you!
This post is sponsored by Petaluma dentist Dr. Rick Lane.