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FAQ:  Root Canal Therapy RCT



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Question:
I chipped my lower left molar over a year ago. I experienced no pain with it, but there was a sharp corner exposed and it was sensitive to cold and hot. On my annual dentist visit, he suggested a crown. After the initial prep visit, I experienced considered pain in my jaw; my Dentist prescribed an antibiotic; I finished the antibiotic; I still experienced jaw pain; Dentist installed crown.

I have never had pain from pressure on the tooth itself, only jaw pain. Dentist now suggests a root canal. The pain is lessening, but is still uncomfortable. It is also still sensitive to cold and hot. Will the pain in my jaw and sensitivity to cold and hot eventually stop? Do I really need a root canal? What will happen if I do need a root canal and do not have one? ...Janet in WV

Answer:
I wish I could give you answers, however you need a definitive diagnosis from your dentist. Pain to cold that only lasts for a few seconds indicates that the tooth is irritated, but not infected. Pain to cold that lasts for more than a minute, accompanied by pain to hot, indicates an infection (a tooth that is dying).

You should not be taking antibiotics without a definitive diagnosis. That's not the way to handle a toothache. 25% of crowned teeth end up with root canals due to the trauma induced by the preparation, but you need to have the tooth evaluated properly to determine whether or not you need the root canal.

See an endodontist for a second opinion. Today we have many different "sealers" which are used to calm the tooth and protect it from irritation. I hope your dentist did all of this for you when the crown was placed. You also should get a TMJ evaluation to make sure that you are not getting pain from your muscles or joints, which could happen as a result of the shots and work that was done.

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