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Root Canals

Two failed root canals

04/09/2007

Question:

Infection and drainage at 18 & 19 led to root canals on both teeth. Subsequently, infection and drainage recurred and both root canals were retreated. This cured nothing and I had to have 18 pulled. Now the infection/drainage on 19 has recurred and I am scheduled to have it extracted.

Do I have any alternatives to save 19, or at this point does it appear that the infection (whatever the cause) is chronic in this area? It has not occurred near or impacted any other teeth. There is no pain in the area. If I ignore the situation and opt to keep 19 (for as long as it lasts), what is the likelihood of the infection spreading into jawbone?

Answer:

It is difficult to state specifically why you had continued infection/drainage with these two teeth. Were the teeth crowned after the root canals were completed? How soon afterward? What is the experience of the dentist performing the treatment? Was it a specialist (endodontist)? These factors all could influence the outcome in addition to a number of others.

I admire you for wanting to try and save tooth #19. If it can be saved, it should be. I recommend that you have an endodontist (root canal specialist) evaluate the tooth if one has not done so already. The tooth may require another retreatment or even surgery to keep it. I do not recommend ignoring the problem. An infection is not good to have even if the area does not bother you. The problem needs to be diagnosed and addressed.

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Response by:

John M Nusstein, DDS John M Nusstein, DDS
Associate Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University