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Root Canals

Can tooth pain heal by itself?

01/19/2010

Question:

I have a tooth that is quite sensitive to hot liquids and to anything sweet, though not so much to cold or to biting. It`s not painful in its resting state, rather basically only with these triggers. In the past, when I`ve had similar symptoms, I have needed a root canal. Of course, I`d like to avoid one this time.

Though I know you can`t diagnose at a distance, is it possible that the pain and sensitivity I feel may diminish over time by not overstmulating the tooth, or do these symptoms suggest that a root canal is likely to be necessary?

Answer:

Having a sensitive tooth does not necessarily mean you will need a root canal, but as you stated, there is no way for me to determine that with such limited information. Sensitivity to hot liquids or sweets does indicate that something is wrong with your tooth (some possibilities are a crack or caries - "a cavity").

If you are trying to avoid root canal treatment, the best thing to do is to seek care for your tooth now so that the cause of your problem can be treated. If you just ignore the problem, it may get worse, and then you are way more likely to need root canal treatment.

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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