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FAQ:  Root Canal Therapy RCT



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Question:
Root Canal/Wisdom Teeth:
I have had root canal treatment on tooth No.18. But to put the crown on it, it requires removing wisdom tooth no.17.

The problem is that the wisdom tooth is fully inside the gum and hasn't come up yet. Also it is completely horizontal and might damage the nerve while being removed which may leave permanent numbness in my face.

I am 25 years old and would like to know the risks involved in removing the wisdom tooth and also if I don't put the crown on the tooth on which root canal is done. Do I have any other options? ...Visitor from Rhode Island

Answer:
Excellent questions. Relative to tooth number 18, the tooth with the root canal, you positively need to crown this tooth. This and the tooth in front of it (number 19) are your first and second molars.

These teeth are critical to maintain for the rest of your life. They are the main functioning teeth on your lower arch and do most of the real work in chewing. Any dentist will tell you this.

Additionally, once a tooth has had a root canal there is no blood or water inside the tooth and the tooth becomes dried out or desiccated. Once this moisture is completely gone, the tooth becomes very brittle and fractures very easily, very much the same way a dead branch snaps quickly and with little pressure compared to a live branch.

Frequently, most teeth that needed a root canal also previously suffered from extremely large cavities and fillings, which only further structurally compromised the tooth. It is my recommendation that you do not even think about chewing on this side of your mouth until this tooth is properly protected with a crown.

If you fail to crown this tooth, it will break and most likely need to be extracted. This would result in a waste of your root canal money and present an even bigger, more invasive and more expensive repair process.

Relative to tooth number 17, the horizontally impacted wisdom tooth or third molar as it is also called, it needs to be removed. Yes it is possible to have permanent numbness, however this is extremely uncommon. However, in today's society it is important that all dentists inform their patients of any risks no matter how slight.

I suggest you consult with a couple of different oral surgeons and make the best decision after you have gathered more information. I hope these answers help and I wish you good luck!

Editorial Staff

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