My question is why do I need a root canal on the tooth that is pain free and why would my teeth die after having a crown on?

I got three crowns a year and a half ago. Now all of a sudden I have hot and cold sensitivity in one. The dentist tested all three teeth with an electronic probe and took x-rays. The finding was that one tooth is dead(it is not the one bothering me) one tooth is fine and the third(the one sensitive to hot and cold is still alive. He said I should have a root canal on the dead tooth. If the hot/cold tooth continues to bother me I will need one on that also.

Doctor Answers 1

My question is why do I need a root canal on the tooth that is pain free and why would my teeth die after having a crown on?

Teeth can experience a number of reactions to dentistry, especially if there was decay, a deep existing filling, a crack and the tooth nerve was not healthy enough to survive the irritation of tooth preparation (drilling, especially deep drilling due to deep decay).

Most of the time patients only have temporary sensitivity, called reversible pulpitis. No treatment necessary, just takes some time for the tooth to calm down. A few days sometimes, but possibly weeks or a month or two.

Other times the sensitivity or pain does not go away, called irreversible pulpitis. These teeth need root canals to take away the pain. If you had no pain when the restoration was placed, and now many weeks, months or years later you are having pain, this is what is most likely happening to you.

And there are times when the pain of the irreversible pulpitis does go away because the tooth nerve dies. If not treated with a root canal, the tooth ultimately develops an area of infection into the bone. If this bone infection turns into an abscess, then there is much more pain again, but of a different kind, along with possibly swelling and this infection can spread to other parts of the body through the patient's own blood stream.

Thus, again, nobody likes root canals to be needed, but if your dentist detects a non-vital tooth or one that is causing visible infection in the x-ray, you are best to have the root canal regardless if you are now pain free. Ultimately, you will most likely have pain if left untreated.

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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.