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Root Canals

Root canal



About 3 yrs ago I had a root canal procedure. It has now failed in the sense that I have a swelling between the gum and the tooth (fistula?). The endodontist said that one side of the tooth was calcified and he couldn`t get through. The continual swelling and draining has been going on for about 2 months. My periodontist recommends extraction. I`m almost 77. My dentist also says I have some bone loss. Does this mean I have osteoporosis as well? What are your suggestions? Thank you.


I can not tell you what can be done with your particular tooth since I have not examined you myself.  However, if a root canal is failing there are usually three options:

Depending on your particular situation, all of these may no longer be options, and one may be better than the other.  You mentioned that the periodontist said the tooth should be extracted.  What did the endodontist suggest as the next course of treatment?

As far as bone loss goes, the periodontist is probably not referring to generalized bone loss throughout the body such as osteoporosis.  Bone loss in relation to your teeth is from periodontitis, a disease condition that results from the progression of gingivitis and effects the ligaments and bones that support the teeth.  This can be better described by your periodontist who specializes in the treatment of these conditions.
I would recommend continuing care with your periodontist to treat any periodontal conditions and an evaluation with your endodontist to help clarify what treatment option is best for you.

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Response by:

Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS
Assistant Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University