I had a root canal done about a year ago. It has never been right... meaning not totally comfortable. I thought this might just be due to the crown being a little high and me having to get used to it. Went to the dentist yesterday and he x rayed it. Saw a gray area around the bottoms of the roots (its a rear molar) He seemed concerned that it is an abscess and referred me to an Endodontist. I'm just wondering what kind of procedure they will do to correct it? How effective those procedures are? And what I should expect to pay for it? ( I dont have dental insurance) I live in southerna Cali, if you have any suggestions about how I can curb costs, it would be much appreciated.
When that happens, what the endodontist will usually do is either decide on doing another root canal, or an advanced procedure called an apicoectomy. That's a fancy word for surgical root canal that goes in through the gum and tip of the root, rather than drilled from the tooth. It depends on how much of an abscess there is, where it's originating from, etc. But the dentist was right to refer you to an endodontist. Root canals CAN fail, and it isn't necessarily the result of dentist error. At this point it's much better to visit a specialist than try to get retreatment from the original dentist, IMO.
I've had six root canals over the years, and two apicoectomies on top of two of those. I can't speak for Southern Cali, but where I am in the Northeast, I found both root canals and apicos to be around the same cost, depending on the tooth. The apico was slightly more expensive.
No one can force the procedure on you if you can't pay, but if you don't get to the bottom of this now the abscess will gradually grown worse and can become a full blown infection that is only treatable by extraction. Hey, at this point, it can't hurt to at least get a consultation.
If I remember correctly (it's been almost two years) I paid about 1200 per apico, give or take. But I've also paid around 1000 for just regular root canals. It depends on the tooth, the area you live, and the doctor's own personal pay scale.
What happened was, two of my root canals developed, over time, what you are describing. But it took seven years before the symptoms became noticeable enough, and the x-rays started to show a serious problem (although it CAN happen as early as you've described.) Oh, I forgot to tell you, you won't NECESSARILY get advanced procedures. Sometimes, even the specialist will suggest you wait a while. I've had two other teeth that showed signs of root canal failure, then they either stopped getting worse or flat-out completely cleared up on their own. He may want to see that your symptoms are more severe before doing anything. Again, it was seven years before it was clear I NEEDED two of them done. The other two have gone back to normal. Also, the endo may determine, even better than the dentist, if you bite is still a little off which can cause inflammation in the x-rays, as well.
Anyway, mine were successful. I LOVE how those two teeth feel. Strange as this sounds, they are completely numb (the teeth themselves) and feel GREAT, and really strong and solid. The apicos were a huge success for me and I'm glad I got them. Those teeth felt progressively worse each passing year. Not so much pain as really odd, annoying sensations that would flow through them on occasion, especially from stark temperature changes (cold air to hot liquid, and vice versa.) Not really sensitivity because no actual pain was felt, but extremely annoying and clearly something was wrong. Now, all those sensations are gone and those two teeth have never felt better!
The procedure itself isn't even as bad as it sounds. I don't know about all specialists, but mine did mine with just novocaine, and no anesthesia (I wouldn't have wanted it anyway; I think getting knocked out for dental procedures is overkill but that is JMHO.) But I was so numb I never felt a thing.
The recovery was a bit uncomfortable. There were uncomfortable stiches in my gums for a few days, and a LOT of swelling on that side of my mouth. But once the stiches were out, the healing was fast.
if money is a concern, go to a local dental school. The way they do at my school is, if you came in with that case, they's first assign you to one of us (3rd or 4th year student)... CHANCES ARE with that you've written, our teachers (who are of course dentists) will take a look and say 'oh, it's too advanced for the student clinic' and they will take on the case. NORMALLY because they are in the school and NOT in a private practice setting, they do the same caliber of a job, but for decreased fees. We (3rd and 4th year students) do every thing from cleanings to extractions, to fillings, to endo treatments (root canal therapies). I suggest a dental school because they typically do outstanding jobs for fractions of the costs.... you may wanna just check into it even if you don't go through with the treatment there...
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