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FAQ:  Root Canal Therapy RCT



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Question:
Root Canal Gone Bad:
I had a root canal 3 years ago. It throbbed for the whole 3 years.

I went to another dentist and he said it was done wrong. So he redid it and 'left it open'? He put a piece of cotton in it. A week later I told him it still throbbed he said he could not close it till it stopped throbbing.

Months went by, still throbbing. Started getting discolored gums kind of yellow and brown and gums are receding. He told me to stop looking at my mouth. Started getting ulcers - He said lets keep waiting. Gave up after 7 months and never went back.

My question is if this cotton is in my mouth could it cause gum disease? Its now been 1 year. ...Visitor from OR

Answer:
Root Canal Treatment with Cotton Left Inside the Tooth:
Cotton left inside the tooth is designed to get drainage. The rationale being that the throbbing or pain in the tooth is due to the infection building up pressure. The cotton is placed and the tooth is left open to allow all pressure to be released for a short period of time (a few days).

The problem is that if the cotton is left inside the tooth for months, the infection can get inside the tooth and continue to infect every tiny canal or irregularity inside the tooth. Additionally, the moisture can get inside the tooth causing the entire root structure to decay and soften.

Without a filling to seal out moisture, the tooth decays from the inside out. Once softened, the tooth is not restorable and should be extracted.

The dentist cannot bond to soft tooth structure and the tooth cannot support a crown because it decays under the crown too easily. It is possible that your tooth was so infected or possibly cracked from the beginning of treatment and that nobody could see the crack. The crack could have been invisible to the eye and was microscopic in nature.

There is nothing a dentist could do to successfully treat the tooth. The dentist could have done everything perfectly but because of an invisible fracture or crack, the treatment would not be successful. Does the cotton left inside the tooth cause gum disease? Probably not but a lot depends on the tooth, the occlusion and the condition of the patient's gums.

The recession could have occurred even if there wasn't cotton in the tooth. Generally, cotton in the tooth does not cause gum recession and recession can occur for a variety of reasons over time.

Editorial Staff

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