As a dentist at Madison Smile Solutions, I see emergency patients every day.  Recently, I’ve seen more and more cases of patients with cracked, painful teeth that have had a root canal in the past.  I’ve outlined common questions I hear during these appointments.  My goal is to always help patients make the best choice for themselves.

 “Why does it hurt if it’s had a root canal?” 

Often times a tooth that’s been treated with a root canal already has a crown or deep filling on it.  A crown is one of the very last things you can do to save a tooth and help hold it together.  Once a tooth has a root canal it is brittle because the blood supply to the tooth has been filled in.  It’s still possible to bite down and crack the root or an existing crack under the crown may grow down the root.  This may cause pain when biting down on the crown in certain ways.  Sometimes the pain will come and go.  Sometimes the tooth can get re-infected around the crack.  More recently, I’ve seen many cases of cracked roots.  Even my wife just had this happen on an upper molar -check out our Facebook to see her experience -  Often times we’ll have the endodontist (root canal specialist) use their microscopes and evaluate if it can be re-treated but if no, the best option, unfortunately, is to remove the tooth and place a dental implant. 

“What’s a Dental Implant and How Much Does it Cost?”

 A dental implant is a man-made tooth root.  It later is topped off with a special connector (abutment) and crown.  This is typically done in phases after diagnostic x-rays are taken. The dental implant looks like a screw placed into the bone of your jaw.  Once your bone or a bone graft integrates with the threads of the screw, it is stable and ready for the “tooth” to be attached.  The total cost to replace a tooth with an implant is $3500-$6000+ depending on what type of x-rays and implant is needed or if you require a bone graft.

“Do Dental Implants Hurt?”

I hear this question every day!  Most of my patients say it is less painful than getting a filling.  Many patients notice pressure as the implant is being placed but no pain. Typically, we can place an implant in a short appointment and people return to their day comfortably.

“Is a Dental Implant My Only Option?”

Often a dental implant is the best option for replacing a failed root canal tooth.  However, there are 2 other options.  A partial denture, which is fake teeth that snap on to your other teeth and come in and out or a fixed bridge, which is a fake tooth suspended between two crowns cemented on the neighboring teeth.  A third option, might be to do nothing, however, long term consequences of a missing tooth are shifting of surrounding teeth and loss of bone.  These can create long term, bigger problems contributing to gum disease, crooked teeth and tooth loss.

For my wife, she was on and off again complaining of tooth pain from a crown and root canal done years earlier.  We had numerous times taken a standard x-ray only to not see anything conclusive.  When we finally took the CT 3D x-ray we could see the root had gotten re-infected.  We met with the endodontist and he agreed it was able to be retreated andthe best plan was an implant. 

At Madison Smile Solutions, we strive to help our patients keep their teeth.  If this happens to you or you are continually aware of “on again/off again” sensitivity – please call us at 608-227-7000 for an exam to help you get in the right direction.