Do I Need a Root Canal After 10 Years?

A little over ten years ago I found out that I had a damaged nerve on one of my two front teeth, I was told that I need a root canal & veneer. My mother then prompted me to a second opinion, to which I was told not to worry. I believe the nerve is dead and calcified. I was talking to someone who urged me to go see a dentist immediately. I have very slight discoloration, but other then that feel fine. I no longer have dental insurance, but I am very concerned that I may urgently need to go.

Doctor Answers 6

Root canal

Dear Lovely,

That is a great question that is hard to answer with out seeing the Radiographs (x-rays) of the tooth.  The dentist need to look at that picture and determine if any internal damage is occurring to that root or maybe there is an abcess.  The discoloration comes from the tooth dying.  If a root canal is needed that should prevent further damage from occurring.  The veneer or crown would be for esthetic reasons.


Hope this helps,

David SIlber, DMD

Dallas Dentist

Root canal after 10 years

I agree with the other dentists who answered the question.  If the tooth is not bothering you (asymptomatic) and there is no visible infection or abscess on the radiograph then I would probably leave it alone.  If the color does bother you I would have the RCT and the veneer done on the tooth.

Leonard Tau, DMD
Philadelphia Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Do I need a root canal?

If your not concerned with the appearance and having no pain or symptoms and the dental radiograph is within normal limits then no. However if the tooth continues to get darker the earlier you get the root canal the better the tooth will look and the less likely you would need a crown afterwards or a veneer good luck.


Kevin Coughlin DMD, MBA, MAGD    CEO Baystate Dental PC.

Kevin Coughlin, DMD
Springfield Dentist

What to do with a damaged nerve

When teeth undergo trauma , some times the nerve becomes necrotic ( dead ). when teeth die , they usually develop a lesion or an abscess by their roots, and the tooth starts darkening. This is the tie to do root canal and get the dead nerve out. There may be no pain and that is why most people or dentists for that matter do not bother treating the tooth. The tooth can also calcify . Good thing with that is that the tooth usually stops discoloring, or at a lower rate,  but the bad thing is that when calcified , it is hard or impossible to treat with root canal.

So in my opinion, if a tooth has a dead nerve, I would not want to have dead tissue in my body. Clearly, It cannot be and is not healthy . And I do not care if it hurts or does not. Period. So the earliest chance you get,  do it. And again that's my opinion.   

Soheyla Marzvaan, DDS
Orange County Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Root Canal needed?

If there is an abscess or lesion clearly visible on the x-ray then you should complete the root canal.  If not, then you can wait it out indefinitely.  I have seen many similar teeth that have been dark and discolored with calcified canals for over 40 years.

Lawrence Singer, DMD
Washington Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Root Canal After 10 Years

The more the canal calcifies with time, the more difficult it gets to treat by an endodontist (Root Canal Special;ist). You would HAVE TO get it treated if the tooth starts to hurt or if your face gets swollen from infection.

Jay Neuhaus, DDS
New York Dentist

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.