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Root Canals

Root Canal but No Crown

12/21/2007

Question:

I had a root canal a year ago, i have no insurance and no money, since then the tooth has broken off completely. The filling that they put in is still in my mouth, at gum line... it smells really bad and tastes awful in my mouth. I can not afford right now to go to the dentist, if i take this filling out, will it hurt my mouth?

Answer:

You are in an unfortunate situation. It is very important to have teeth that have had root canal therapy restored properly as soon as possible following the root canal treatment. Now that the top part of the tooth has broken off, the root canal filling material may be exposed to saliva. If this is true, then the tooth may be reinfected and would require the root canal being redone before a crown/permanent filling is placed. The tooth may also be nonrestorable, depending on how much of the crown cracked off.

If you do not foresee any way to have all the treatment completed, you may be better off having the remaining root taken out. It may only serve as an area of infection in the state it is presently.

You may want to call the local dental association/society in your area or the state dental association to find a clinic or dentist who can remove the tooth for you at no or little cost. Checking with your local health department may also give you some options for treatment.

Again, leaving a reinfected tooth in your mouth is not a healthy thing to do, and unless you foresee having the funds to get this tooth treated properly and quickly, extraction may be your best choice.

Related Resources:

Free or Low Cost Health Coverage (Foundation for Health Coverage Education)
Access to Dental Care (American Dental Association)

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