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Old 12-01-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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If you have a cavity, how does the dentist determine whether you need a root canal or just a filling?

I think it's when damage has reached the nerve/pulp. But I'd like to know exactly what the "Line" is, in making this decision.
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Old 12-02-2011, 02:47 PM
 
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I have a molar that sometimes hurts when eating. I saw in the xray that there is large cavity there.
It also hurts if something cold touches it. However the pain does not linger.
That's why I'm not sure if I need a root canal or just a filling.
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Old 12-02-2011, 06:43 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
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The answer to that is best addressed by your dentist. I don't think there's any "line" that determines "this is root canal" vs. "this is filling." It's a case by case situation.

Feeling cold sensitivity has nothing to do with whether or not you need a root canal. It's just a symptom of sensitivity, which can be caused by several things - including a tooth that needs a root canal. If you have a large cavity, and it's big enough that drilling the decay out and filling it would compromise the wall of the tooth, then the dentist is most likely to recommend a root canal. But "big enough" is subjective and depends on YOUR tooth and where it's placed in YOUR mouth.
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
44,880 posts, read 56,395,569 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertpasa View Post
If you have a cavity, how does the dentist determine whether you need a root canal or just a filling?

I think it's when damage has reached the nerve/pulp. But I'd like to know exactly what the "Line" is, in making this decision.
A root canal is done when decay has killed, or is killing a tooth.

As long as the decay hasn't killed the tooth, or damaged it beyond repair by it's sheer size, a filling will usually correct the situation.

Root canal can also be necessary when an infection develops into an abscessed tooth. When this happens you are extremely sensitive to HOT things, not cold.

After a root canal a crown is usually needed.

The crown is very expensive, as is the root canal, so for your sake I hope you just have a plain old cavity or just tooth sensitivity
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Old 12-04-2011, 05:47 PM
 
Location: Florida
2,152 posts, read 2,316,414 times
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I don't have any answers, however, I recently went to a new dentist who decided I needed 5 root canals, with caps of coarse and 3 other new caps, he came up with a 20K figure. Say what?

I went there because his office was close to my house and I needed a cleaning. He also decided that I needed a deep cleaning for an inexpensive $700, three years ago I had the same thing done. I have no pain, no sensitivity.

Guess what? I am going to another dentist!
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:12 AM
 
Location: In a house
19,125 posts, read 13,874,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dollydo View Post
I don't have any answers, however, I recently went to a new dentist who decided I needed 5 root canals, with caps of coarse and 3 other new caps, he came up with a 20K figure. Say what?

I went there because his office was close to my house and I needed a cleaning. He also decided that I needed a deep cleaning for an inexpensive $700, three years ago I had the same thing done. I have no pain, no sensitivity.

Guess what? I am going to another dentist!
What??? And not pay for this poor dentst to go on his yearly cruise??
Sounds like you need to get a new dentist. I've had to go to 3 different dentist to find a good one so keep looking as they are out there! Ask around to get some referrals.
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Old 12-06-2011, 05:47 AM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
16,982 posts, read 19,930,307 times
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I have many crowns, but have never needed a root canal. In all cases, there was no pain in the tooth, just that either it cracked, or the old filling was so large and deep that the tooth would not have enough left to support the filling.
Bottom line...unless the nerve is making the tooth hurt, then why have a root canal? I can see why a dentist would rather do a root canal, since it would be bad to have to remove a crown and do one later, but I've never had that happen.
My dentist has huge overhead expenses, and if he could have justified another procedure, I'm sure he would, but he never has suggested a root canal in a painless tooth.
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Old 12-06-2011, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Wallis and Futuna
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If the root is dead, then there's nothing holding the tooth in. You get a root canal to save the tooth, when the root is dead or dying. Pain is only a common symptom, but it isn't the only symptom, and not everyone with a dead root will notice pain. Also, pain doesn't always mean the root is bad.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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Update - Just went to the dentist. He drilled out decay on Tooth #3 and said the decay was very close to the pulp chamber, but I don't need a root canal. He put on a temp filling and the real crown will be ready in two weeks.

I'm glad it turned out this way. It's too bad I have to wait 2 weeks for the crown. The last time, I only had to wait a few days.

I was lazy in flossing that area. I think the decay started in the space between teeth. It had been hurting about two years.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:57 PM
 
20,940 posts, read 16,409,398 times
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^^ This is why we need to go to the dentist every 6 months. I learned the hard way myself. Luckily it was on a wisdom tooth and the dentist just took it and the one above it out and called it a day. I now visit the dentist every 6 months. I never want to go through that again and don't want foreign objects in my mouth (bridges, caps, etc) that can be problematic in the future. Get everything checked out before it gets bad.
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