Since 2018 I have used a sonic toothbrush and water flosser daily. Dental hygienists complement my oral hygiene habits, even the hygienists at my current dentist.
I switched to a new practice in late 2019, and since then, the dentist has found three “cavities” that he filled. Last spring (2022), one of the fillings fell out, and the dentist said I needed root canal treatment. Nothing about the tooth looked or felt unhealthy, but I trusted the dentist.
In November 2022, when I returned for a dental cleaning, the dentist said he needed to watch my upper left second bicuspid because it may need a root canal. I cannot read x-rays, so how do I know if the tooth is problematic? The dental hygienist was quiet when the dentist told me about a possible root canal, and she didn’t say much to me after the dentist left.
Now that the holidays are over, I will look for a new dentist. Is it possible that my teeth are decaying and getting infected despite my thorough brushing and flossing? I don’t know what to expect when I switch dentists. Thank you! Krystle
Thank you for contacting Bayou Dental Group. We understand and share your concerns about your dentist’s diagnosis.
Can Healthy Teeth Need Root Canal Treatment?
It is unusual to develop deep decay in a healthy tooth that leads to root canal treatment, especially when your oral hygiene habits are thorough. Your hygienist and dentist should detect signs of decay during your dental cleanings and exams. Still, a healthy tooth may develop decay and eventually require root canal treatment in these cases:
- A tooth cracks
- You experience trauma to your mouth or face that affects a tooth
- You take a prescription medication that causes dry mouth and leads to decay
What Happens to a Tooth If a Filling Falls Out?
If a tooth filling falls out, it may be an old amalgam filling that recedes from the tooth and leaks in bacteria. The tooth beneath the filling can decay and need root canal treatment without prompt care. However, when a new filling falls out, faulty dental work is often the cause. Still, a dentist should be able to replace the filling without root canal therapy.
How to Switch to a New Dentist
Before you switch to a new dentist, take these precautions:
- Ask your current dentist for a copy of your dental records and x-rays.
- If you have dental insurance, check for plan providers first.
- Look for cosmetic dentists with advanced training in procedures such as root canal therapy, dental implant surgery, and restoration. According to a study published by Regenstrief Institute, the lifespan of a root canal tooth that gets filling or crown afterward is about 11 years. A dentist who understands root canal therapy and implantology can help you assess your long-term oral health.
- Schedule consultations before choosing a dentist. You can see the office, meet staff members, and discuss your concerns with the dentist.
- Use your consultations, patient reviews, and recommendations from friends and family to help you choose a new dentist.
Monroe, Louisiana, dentist Dr. David Finley sponsors this post. Dr. Finley is an accredited Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. Please read about how he, Dr. Henderson, and Dr. Coughran strive to offer some of the best dental care in Monroe.