I wore braces for 20 months, and my dentist removed my lower permanent retainer in early July. While removing it, my dentist injured my lower left first premolar. Now the tooth hurts whenever anything touches it, and it is turning gray. My dentist x-rayed the tooth and said it looks fine. She also did a cold test on the tooth and said the tooth is dying. She thinks I need root canal treatment. I expressed my concerns about a root canal to my dentist, and she described GentleWave treatment and suggested referring me to an endodontist. I assumed that she referred me to someone who does GentleWave, but this endodontist does not use it. Can I wait to see if the tooth improves over the next few months, or will waiting make it worse? I want to avoid needing a dental implant if I can. Thanks. Wesley from MO
Thank you for your question.
Can You Avoid Root Canal Treatment?
If a tooth is dying, you cannot avoid root canal treatment. The only solution for diseased tooth pulp (tissue and nerves) is for a dentist to remove the tissue during root canal treatment. A long-term delay in getting care could result in losing the tooth and needing a dental implant.
What If Your Dentist Damages Your Tooth?
A dentist who damages your tooth is liable for the damage. Your dentist should pay your endodontist’s fees to complete the procedure and pay for restoring the tooth with a crown.
If your dentist completed a sensitivity test on your tooth and took x-rays, she should be sure that you need a root canal –not just thinking that you need one. We hope your dentist’s diagnosis is accurate. But if you are unsure about her skill, we recommend getting a second opinion. And you have a right to find an endodontist who uses GentleWave. Be frank with your dentist when you ask her to pay for your root canal treatment and crown.
We are sorry about the trauma to your tooth and hope you get it resolved soon.
David Finley, DDS, of Monroe, LA—a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry—sponsors this post.