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Root Canal Before A Trip
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Root Canal Before A Trip

Experiencing pain in tooth number 19 recently, I went in to see my family dentist just prior to leaving on an important business trip. I explained the situation, and after taking an x-ray, my dentist informed me that I needed a root canal. I was refer erred to the endodontist her office works with, and an appointment was made for the following day. My dentist explained to me that given the time constraint, the procedure might be more painful than normal since the antibiotic she prescribed wouldn't have much time to knock down the inflammation before the root canal procedure was to take place.

The next day, while wrapping up the root canal, the endodontist informed me that he could see a significant crack in the tooth. He cautioned me that I would need to have my dentist install a crown on the tooth immediately. I told the endodontist that I was leaving the next day on a two week business trip. The endodontist further expressed his concern, warning me to be extremely careful in chewing food prior to having the crown installed. I left his office worried that I had made a mistake in scheduling the root canal before the trip. I don't know a lot about this stuff, but it seemed pretty clear to me that the strength of the cracked tooth had just been further compromised by the root canal procedure, and now I had to leave on this important trip with just a temporary filling.

Ten days in, I was having dinner in my hotel room and felt an intense pain in the tooth. Fearing the worst, I made an appointment with my dentist as soon as I returned home. Sure enough, my dentist informed me that my tooth had cracked apart and would now need to be extracted. Since the adjoining teeth are both "virgin," as are the rest of my teeth (I'm 51 and this is the only tooth I have ever had drilled and filled), she recommended that I follow the extraction with a very costly and involved implant, rather than having a bridge made.

I can't help but feel that I was given a very poorly thought out treatment plan in advance of my trip.

In  retrospect, it would seem that a much better approach would have been to knock down the inflammation with antibiotics to get me through the trip, then schedule the root canal upon my return when a crown could have been subsequently installed in a timely manner, as in a few days rather than weeks. Instead I was allowed to go out on the road with a seriously compromised tooth, and I am now facing months of surgery and it is going to cost me many thousands of dollars in out of pocket expense.

I'm sitting here tonight with the cracked apart, root-canaled tooth still in my mouth and I'm super bummed over what to me seems like a highly avoidable outcome.

When I explained my thinking to my dentist... that I should have instead just taken the antibiotic and waited until my return to have the procedure... she did not disagree. All that she said was, "I'm sorry." Oh, and she did also mention that another doctor in her office could do the implant and that it would cost between 3 and 5 thousand dollars.

Am I wrong in thinking that my family dentist erred in sending me out for a root canal the day before I was to leave on a long trip?
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3 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn

Hi I would like to say I am sorry to hear about what is going on with your teeth.
I previously went to see a new Dentist because my other one that I have seen for years I can never get an appointment with her her because she is always busy.
So the new Dentist that I saw said I needed root canal is 4 spots. Well for starts I told him GOOD LUCK I am one of those people that I it svery hard for me to get numb and when ever my other Dentist does any work in my mouth it normally take about 8 shots to even start the work and has to continusly inject me with more novocain.

Anyway I for some reason did not trust this new Dentist so I begged the Receptionist that I need to see the Dentist ASAP and I explained why.
I saw my regular Dentist and explained to her what the other one wanted to do.
She said xrays are not conslusize when it comes to detecting whether or not a person needs a root canal. She gave me a nerve test using this smal instrument and the diagnosis was no I did not need root canal at all. Antibiotics for he front are fine and for the different molars antibiotics but do need a extraction.

She advised me that root canal is not what people think it is and it is not killing the nerve it's killing the tooth and that root canal does not always work and about every 5 years you have to go for another one. Tooth extraction is the best because you are not only killing the tooth but you are killing the nerve and root as well.
She also explained the damage that root canal can do and did happen to mention that it can also crack a the tooth because what they do is open the tooth in order to get to the nerve and most Dentist lile to do root canal because it cost alot more money and I did find out she was right when I had gotten information from the AMERICN DENTAL ASSOCIATION.

Anyway go see anopther Dentist and ask them him/her to do the nerve test to make sure the root canal is needed and also find out whether or not the root canal caused the crack in the tooth
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Avatar_f_tn
Iam alittle like shouldi in the fact that the injections did not work on me with my  two Root Canals last week.. You are right about the dentist opening up the canal of the tooth so he can get that nerve in there, in my case 3 nerves and a funny shaped canal and alot of pain on a hot tooth, like you MW926 i went to my dentist in alot pain, but he just opened it up then and there and as injections not working he had to hit the nerve on the head and that was so painful and wrong of him because he didnt let me know.. Like you i ask why not antibiotics then address the unhot tooth later when the infection gone!!!!#



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Avatar_n_tn
First, I do want to say I completely understand where you are coming from. I, too, in your situation would be very distressed over the outcome.

Before you make any decision, though, you need to make sure that the money for the root canal was refunded back to the insurance company, & that anything that you paid towards the root canal is refunded back to you.

As for the first decision to proceed with the root canal - it is questionable, but sometimes, air travel can cause worse reactions. This could be why your doctor's decided to go ahead & at least start the root canal.  Normally, antibiotics take at least 72 hours to kick in, so if you were traveling before that 72 hour time frame, you ran the risk of intense swelling & pain, and being out of town with absolutely nothing that can be done.  Even if you were to visit a dentist out of town, they may put you on stronger antibiotics & tell you to wait it out until you can be seen by your regular DDS. Now, that may seem a little bit extreme, but its not out of the question.

Its hard to say whether or not it was the right decision, but I do think your doctor is giving you the best advice with doing an implant now.  I wouldn't say your doctor is wrong per say, but I believe they made the best decision to the best of their ability.  After this experience, if you are questioning their ability, by all means, I don't blame you for saying you would want to see someone else or just get a second opinion.  And at this point in time, you need to find someone you trust and are comfortable with to complete the work needed, whether its this doctor or another one.
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