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FAQ:  Root Canal Therapy RCT



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Question:
I had a root canal about 2 years ago with a temp cap placed at that time. about 8 months after that, (or a little over a year ago) I had a permanent cap placed.

In the last two days my face has swelled up and it feels al if I have an abcess again in the same tooth. (all this minus the throbbing because there is no root). I played hockey for several years and have invested a lot of money into my dentists retirement.

I have confidence that he will be able to fix this but my question is... Is this a common thing? Should I expect my other root canals to develop the same way? And lastly, should I just write of the $2000 spent on that tooth and yank it? ...Karl in ME

Answer:
Karl, I treat a lot of athletes and the biggest problem I see with contact sports is indirect trauma to roots that sometimes does not manifest itself for years. It's kind of like splitting a log, but not finishing it off.

Later it may just break by itself. Roots can split vertically from being traumatized and you may not have any symptoms for some time to come. A root canal can split the log to its end point, but that does not mean anything wrong was done. It is just something that was there that got worse with treatment and it delayed showing itself.

However, I would have the root canal re-evaluated, even by an endodontist, just to make sure that any possible treatment can still be done. Make sure that it is the tooth you are talking about because my hunch is that you may have another tooth in the area causing your problem.

Anyways, if everything looks good on your root canal, the $2000 you spent is definitely a lot of money, however there is not much you can do about the water under the bridge. Maybe your dentist can work out a partial credit towards other treatment, if your tooth is failing.

One other piece of advice: get a bite splint made to protect your teeth while you sleep. Your teeth and roots may be very brittle and you could be breaking them during your sleep. Help protect them with a splint.

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