What Happens When the Dentist Needs a Dentist?
I have been along for the high technology changes in Dentistry since I started going to the dentist myself as a child in the 1950s and I am still a dental patient.
Last month I fractured a large tooth colored filling in a back tooth. No pain, but now the dentist needs a dentist.
I called my general dentist and went for a consultation.
An x-ray was taken. The digital image was shown to me on the monitor and I quickly noticed an abscess on the tooth next to the broken tooth. Still no pain, but now I have two problems. I schedule an appointment to have a crown placed on my broken tooth, but before that I need to see an Endodontist for a root canal on the adjacent tooth.
Q: What is a root canal?
A root canal (Endodontic Therapy) is a dental procedure to remove the soft pulp tissue inside the center of a tooth, leaving the rest of the tooth, including the roots intact. The treatment saves the tooth and may last a lifetime. Root canals have a high success rate.
Q: How did my problem start?
A: Trauma to the mouth to break the tooth or the nerve into the tooth, deep decay, large or broken fillings are the usual cause. Sometimes a tooth is slowly dying after the trauma or dental treatment and symptoms occur months or years later. In my case a crown was placed on this tooth 16 years ago when a cusp broke.
Q: What is the procedure?
A: Usually completed in one appointment. Local anesthesia is used to numb the area. The tooth is isolated and a small opening is made into the center of the tooth. The canals inside the roots are cleaned and shaped. The canals and access opening are filled.
Q: Do you need a crown after a root canal?
A: Teeth that need root canals usually have past fillings or have been broken. When the nerves and blood supply of the tooth are removed the remaining tooth becomes brittle. A crown covers the tooth to return the tooth to its proper form and protects during function. In my case the tooth already has a crown so a filling can seal the access into the tooth. However, my broken tooth next to it does not need a root canal before placement of the crown.
After my root canal, back to my general dentist for the crown preparation and temporization and he filled my root canal tooth. The lab-made ceramic crown was permanently placed two weeks later. Now I’m put back together thanks to modern dentistry.
My sincere thanks go to Drs. Lou Berman and Jeff Leigh for my care. Doctors aren’t always the best patients.
Remember the health of your mouth affects your whole body. Seeing your dentist is part of your wellness program.