Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Root Canals

Whether endodontic treatment is necessary



A month ago, I was given a temporary filling in a molar tooth adjacent to my wisdom tooth on my upper jaw. My tooth had suffered from some decay but my dentist isn`t sure whether the bacteria affected the pulp. She applied a soothing dressing and temporary filling and has asked me to wait to see if the tooth "bothers me" before deciding whether to do a root canal. A month later I am still not sure. I experience no pain other than sensitivity to cold temperatures (eg momentary pain when drinking an iced drink). Are there any specific tests that my dentist should take to determine whether the endodontic treatment is necessary? Thanks for your help.


There are some tests that can be done, but you appear to be the best test. If the tooth does not bother you except for the occasional thermal sensitivity, then it appears that the tooth can get a permanent filling. A new radiograph (x-ray) may be needed to confirm that there is no new infection at the end of the tooth.

You must be aware, however, that the placement of the new filling may increase your sensitivity to hot/cold, especially if a silver filling is placed. Let your dentist know that everything has been fine, and then make the decision about placing a permanent filling together.

For more information:

Go to the Root Canals health topic, where you can:

Response by:

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