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FAQ:  Root Canal Therapy RCT



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Question:
My dentist broke a tool off in my rootcanal, he said not to worry about it that it will be fine. The tooth is not finished yet and I don't like the thought of having that. It's a spring like object that separates into both canals. I asked him to take it out but he said he cannot.

It's stuck, so I should go see a specialist. But I don't know what damage this piece of metal can do to my tissue, my jawbone, or my tooth. Can it spread infection? Please help what do you think. It hurts when I close my mouth and it burns too. ...Visitor from NY

Answer:
I know you are concerned about this.

It is something that bothers us all the time when things do not go exactly as planned.

As far as leaving the broken file that may be OK. If the tooth was cleaned out it may very well serve as a better seal than anything else we have available. We used to use silver points a long time ago in pretty much the same manner to seal teeth. The problem with the silver points was that they corroded over time. We did not know that then but sometimes they do. Most of us in the profession have since quit using the silver points to seal roots with. But, I have a number of patients who have perfectly good silver point root canals that are 15 to 20 years old.

As far as removing the file it is real easy to split the root of the tooth when you do that. So the better part of valor may be to wait to see if things settle down. If you were seeing me I might put you on some antibiotics and I might try to re-check the other roots to see if I have everything cleaned out real well. The biting problem might be from another problem.. Maybe the tooth has a crack in it...??? Maybe there is an extra canal??? Maybe you are hitting high on it....???

So this is a lot to say to say that another opinion might be good??? Especially if it does not settle down. But the file in the tooth may or may not be a long term problem. Some people are good at removing the files but it is real tricky to do it.

In this instance if you ask a lot of different dentists you could probably get a lot of answers. But for me I would not be overly concerned either way. What you want is to get comfortable.

And remember .... The root canal was most likely being done in an effort to save a tooth that would otherwise have been lost? We have great ways of replacing teeth today and that might be a good idea.

Editorial Staff

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