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Root Canals

Root canal necessary if the teeth do not hurt

12/05/2008

Question:

Hello, My son was 18 when he was hit in his front teeth with a hockey stick. One tooth broke almost in half horizontially on an angle, the other had a break that was much smaller. They have not bothered him since, but we are having permanent caps placed over the teeth now because they were just bonded at the time of injury. His dentist at the time said to wait a year to see if the root bothered him before we did anything permanent. He is seeing another dentist now for the caps and he is recommending that he has root canal in both teeth even though he is not having problems. He said when there is damage to the teeth from an injury...they almost always result in root canal in the future, plus he feels if he did need root canal later in these teeth....the structure of the cap could possibly be compromised so it is better to have it done now. I am feeling that root canal is not necessary at this time especially in a 19 year old. He just had his teeth whitened in his office and he had some sensitivity, but nothing beyond the norm. I`ve also been told that after root canal the teeth dry out eventually and may crack, etc. What are your thoughts on this? It is costly and I cannot see killing the nerve if it is fine. I took him for a second opinion and that dr said even though there is a tiny spot on the xray(forgot to ask him what that meant)....he doesn`t feel he needs root canal and may not even in the future. Thank you!

Answer:

Root canal treatment is not always necessary after trauma. However, results after trauma are very unpredictable and vary depending on the type of trauma. I cannot recommend whether or not to have treatment because I have not evaluated your son.

If you have any doubt, you could seek an evaluation by an endodontist. Endodontists are dentists with additional education in diagnosis and root canal treatment. Because they limit their practices to endodontics, they treat these types of problems every day.

For more information:

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

Response by:

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