Unnecessary root canal?

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Apr 21, 2023
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I recently went to the dentist and had a root canal done on a (#19 molar) The tooth in question had a deep filling done on it that touched the nerve but was not infected at all. I had very intermittent pain with this tooth. I would go 2 weeks with no pain and then just have one day with pain, and it would go away again. The question is if a root canal was even necessary in this case. Feeling regret about it now.
 
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You should go through with the RCT. Although there is evidence mounting for pulpotomy-only success in adult teeth (rather than a full RCT), it requires careful protocols for good outcomes and further research. My personal experience with pulpotomies in the old days is that failure occurred at 18-24 months later, and then an RCT is required anyway. In the meantime, if you leave a pulpotomy and just do a standard filling, there is a great risk of the tooth fracturing and having to be extracted.
I would suggest a full RCT and crown.

MattKW

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Repeated occurrence of unstimulated pain following a "touched"nerve will neaRly always result in dead tooth. I would warn my patients after "touching a nerve" (pulp exposure) to prepare for a Root Canal Therapy (or extraction) within 18 months.
 

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Repeated occurrence of unstimulated pain following a "touched"nerve will neaRly always result in dead tooth. I would warn my patients after "touching a nerve" (pulp exposure) to prepare for a Root Canal Therapy (or extraction) within 18 months.
I found out today that the dentist only did a "pulpotomy" and not a full root canal treatment. Since the tooth was never infected should I try to get a filling / crown done. I have a temp. filling now. Or should I go through with the full root canal treatment as the dentist recommends.
 

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MattKW

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You should go through with the RCT. Although there is evidence mounting for pulpotomy-only success in adult teeth (rather than a full RCT), it requires careful protocols for good outcomes and further research. My personal experience with pulpotomies in the old days is that failure occurred at 18-24 months later, and then an RCT is required anyway. In the meantime, if you leave a pulpotomy and just do a standard filling, there is a great risk of the tooth fracturing and having to be extracted.
I would suggest a full RCT and crown.
 

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Thank you, I'll go ahead as planned. I have 1 last question (unrelated), I'm trying to slow down any further dental damage from now on. What's your stance on electric toothbrushes vs. traditional, as well as is a waterpik helpful. Not sure how much of a difference this stuff really makes but I want to stave off further root canals..
You should go through with the RCT. Although there is evidence mounting for pulpotomy-only success in adult teeth (rather than a full RCT), it requires careful protocols for good outcomes and further research. My personal experience with pulpotomies in the old days is that failure occurred at 18-24 months later, and then an RCT is required anyway. In the meantime, if you leave a pulpotomy and just do a standard filling, there is a great risk of the tooth fracturing and having to be extracted.
I would suggest a full RCT and crown.
 

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MattKW

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Most people brush their teeth better with an electric brush, not because it is inherently better, but that they find it easier to use and will actually spend more time with it (a bit of psychology). Flossing beats waterpiks hands down, but requires practice, maybe have a hygienist show you a good technique. Once you get the hang of it, it'll only take 30 secs to do your mouth.
The biggest reason I see with decay rates is the high intake of sugary drinks rather than simple, plain, cheap, fluoridated tap water.
 

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