Ongoing issues after root canal


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A long post but want to try and explain as best as possible.

Starting at the beginning of October 2017 I developed a constant pain in the left temple area of my head. The pain varied on the pain scale day by day between a 5/10 up to about an 8/10. It was ruining my life and was stopping me from sleeping a lot of the time. I saw a neuroogy consultant and had 2 MRI scans and was tested for Temporal Arteritis (even though I was out of the risk group). The MRI's didn't show anything and the TA tests were negative. My neurologist was at a complete loss as to what was causing my pain. I was near suicidal at one point the pain was so intense and constant.

Fast forward to February. Still having the same issues, still no answers. I register with a new dentist (hadn't seen a dentist in about 8 years and my old practice had closed down). The dentist took xrays and said that there appeared to be a bit of decay under my already filled upper left 1st molar. So he took the old filling out and was shocked to find extensive decay underneath. He removed the decay but it went very deep and he was worried the filling would aggravate my nerves, but tried anyway. Well the filling did aggravate the nerve. The head pain was now joined by extreme tooth pain. So he decided it needed a root canal.

So he did the treatment. He did the whole thing in one session (which I now understand is not usual) and fitted a permanent amalgam filling. After he finished he looked annoyed. He told me that he had never actually done an unsupervised molar root canal before. He told me that he could only find 2 root canals. He was clearly angry at something, and told me that he couldn't do anything more to help me.

Well the root canal was now 9 weeks ago. The tooth still hurts if I touch it (it is no longer sensitive to heat or cold at all, but if I try to chew on my left side and when I brush it aches like a bruise or something).

I was now pretty scared of that dentist. It took me ages to find a new one but 2 weeks ago I went to a new surgery. The new dentist took an xray and said that the other dentist had seemingly left infection at the root tip of the tooth, and he gave me 10 days of Amoxicillin (500mg). He also said that it looks like there is a calcified 3rd root canal in the tooth. I took these and within a few days the head pain that I had had for over 8 months completely vanished! To say this was a relief is an understatement. I finished the coarse of antibiotics and for about 4 days the pain was still gone. However it is now back and slowly increasing again.

I feel completely lost. I don't know what I can do. I feel at the end of my ability to cope with this pain. The new dentist said that it appears that my upper molar roots are very close to my sinus, so extraction could be difficult. He offered to refer me to a private endodontist (I am an NHS patient). I have very little money and I am now wondering, would it be even likely that this tooth could be saved now by a specialist endodontist? Would filling the calcified canal solve this? What on earth happens if I have the tooth removed and end up damaging the sinus?

Then to add further stress, I have been having to chew exclusively on my right side. Now my lower right molar, which is also filled is hurting every now and then when I bite on it. I am so frightened after what has happened with the left upper molar that I don't know whether to get this tooth treated or just ignore the occassional pain.
 
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I will ask for another x-ray. Though I've had an awful lot of xrays and cts this year so I do worry about the amount of radiation exposure.

I will be putting in a formal complaint against my previous dentist. No use trying to take legal action as I can't afford that and I doubt it would do anything except cause lots more stress.
 
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There are no win no fee arrangements for such situations. I have been told that going on an airplane bombards us with far more radiation than countless x rays. Not sure if that's a fact but that's what they say.
 
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So. I went back to the endodontist today (completely forgot I even had an appointment...thank heavens for reminder texts). He says he cannot figure out what is going on with the tooth as the xray shows 4 very neatly cleaned out canals. He says he can try opening the tooth up again and see if he can find a crack or something.

I figure I have nothing to lose and he is doing this for free so...
He opens the tooth and the gutta percha is 'mushy' and theres an awful smell coming from the tooth (like an open drain). Hes really puzzled by this so begins cleaning out the gutta percha. He starts working saying there is a chance that the seal wasnt tight, when all of a sudden he says 'wow!'. He's found a 5th canal (a distal buccal 2 he calls it). He starts cleaning this new canal, and then suddenly says in an uneasy voice to his assistant 'come and look at this'. THERES A 6th CANAL TOO!!! He says he has honestly never heard of this happening before. He calls this new canal a distal buccal 3. So he clears this new canal out and refills the old canals and seals the tooth.

Can any of the dentists on here tell me, is it rare to have 6 distinct canals in an upper molar.?The endo said he has never seen this before and even asked my permission to use the xrays he took today as a teaching tool (I said yes). Is this likely to fix my problem now these extra 2 canals have been cleaned out?
 
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Wow! That's amazing that you have finally been seen by someone and that you don't have to pay for this. (although I think you should seek compensation). But I really do hope that this will lead to you finally getting better. I can't believe a specialist did not find these. What are the next steps for you? Did you get an apology at least?
 
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The endo apologised a lot but pointed out that the likelihood of finding 5 canals let alone 6 is so tiny that they don't really look for them.

My next step is to give the tooth a few weeks to hopefully settle now all the canals are cleaned out. If it doesn't settle then it's on with the extraction option.

I have written a complaint about the original dentist and will post and email a copy on Monday to the surgery and ask for at least the money back from the initial botched root canal surgery that he attempted.
 
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How are you feeling tonight after the work today? Does it feel any different from yesterday? If it's all gone then you should have some relief pretty quick?

That's great about the complaint. Your situation is exactly why general dentists should not attempt root canals.
 
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It feels a bit sore. But he said to expect that for a few days. I keep getting strange electric shock pains in the area which is new. The familiar ache in my head is still there but not as bad.

I daren't even hope that this has fixed my pain after all this time.
 
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I really do hope that he has fixed things for you and that you finally have some relief. I am so happy that you went there today and he found the cause. I am not at all surprised you have been feeling so bad. Please give us regular updates. I am hoping that the tooth can now be saved.
 
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An update. I'm still in some pain. The tooth is still sore if I touch it but admittedly not on the same level of was before. Some days the head pain is very low to the point where I barely notice it, but then out of nowhere it will flare up again. I spoke with the endo today on the phone and he said there is a chance it will heal completely given enough time. I'm not sure what to think and I daren't hope too much.
 
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I really hope that the endo is right. Given the level and severity of infection it could take some time but it sounds promising. Do you have any follow up appointments scheduled with the endo?
 
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The endo said he will ring again in January. Today has been a really bad day. The tooth and my head have been throbbing. I've taken the max dose of anti inflammatory and the pain has eased a little. But to be honest I want an end to all of this. It's been 13 months now in total that I've been in pain since this all started. I will ring the maxillofacial surgeons office tomorrow and see if there's any news on getting another appointment for the extraction :/ I'm just so tired of all this.
 
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I'm sorry to hear that. January is a long time to wait for contact with the endo. You should prepare yourself for the fact that an extraction may not resolve all your symptoms. I really hope you have a better day tomorrow.
 
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I honestly don't know what to do if even after the extraction I'm still in pain like this. I've started having pretty dark thoughts and sometimes when no one is around I just cry (I don't want my partner seeing just how low I am from all this).
 
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Hopefully you won't be but it could take time to resolve if it's a deep seated infection. Call the endo and tell him you are still in constant pain. That you need emergency treatment.
 
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I went in to see the endo again. He took another 2 xrays and said that the infection seems to have resolved and he cannot understand why I am still in pain. He told me that in his opinion I should leave the tooth longer to see if it will settle. So I'm back to the waiting again. How long is long enough though? :(
 
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maybe that's part of the problem. The tooth may never settle if it's exposed to bacteria. The bacteria can get it if it's not sealed. While your infection may be under control you are still being assaulted by external agents. A crown puts a fortress between the outside world and the infection.
 
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The endo agreed with the dentist about not getting a crown until we know if the tooth will settle. He said the filling he plac3d was adequate for a while
 
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I had root treatment done on teeth through a crown many years ago. They didn't fully settle until I had the crowns replaced. It seems to me that you can have microscopic leakage of bacteria which continue to feed the infection, although it's too localised to see anything on x ray and the infection doesn't blow up, the symptoms persist. I'm sure there's plenty of science behind it but I reckon sealing the area helps it all settle. These days they don't put on a crown because of the expense if it fails.

The symptoms I had were not as painful as the original infection but I was constantly aware of them.

A back molar I was referred to an endo for earlier this year has completely settled since being crowned and I didn't need any RCT. The crown is very well fitted. I ended up changing dentist and going to a specialist. Before that I thought I'd lose it, I was in so much pain with a temp crown.
 

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