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Dental advice - root canal on a front tooth?


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Anyone have a successful root canal story?

My dd was hit last summer by a flying stick which broke off half of her front tooth. We saved it in milk and got her in to the dentist as soon as we could (it was a weekend, so a couple of days). They successfully reattached the piece, but mentioned she might later need a root canal. She is complaining of pain with hot and cold, any food touching it almost. I've had one root canal which was completely botched, that led to years of complications before the molar was finally pulled. I've had a couple co-workers need replacement front teeth and it has been expensive, not entirely successful, and of course very noticeable.

My dd is a beautiful girl, but definitely at 15yo does not see very far. She wants to just fix this tooth, but I foresee many potential complications. We have some dental coverage, but a pretty limited budget otherwise.
WWYD?

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I have had multiple root canals and I can't recall ever having one go bad.  I have had a crown fall off, and ended up not replacing it in time and had to have the tooth pulled.  I am pretty hard on my teeth and have had a total of 7 teeth pulled and at least 4 root canals, maybe 5.  

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A root canal was the best thing that ever happened to me. The nerve pain slowly became unbearable and would start unpredictably. It was horrible. Avoid wherever your co-workers went--that place clearly doesn't know what they're doing.

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My dd is in the same scenario and she is scheduled for the root canal. I am very unhappy that this is necessary at 21 years of age. I have never had a single root canal and I have never needed work to my front teeth. I also feels that it doesn’t bode well, not because I expect a poor job, but just because I think it is problematic to have something so significant at so early an age. 

But DH just spent over a year having work done on a tooth (molar) only to have it extracted and he is getting an implant. So I have experienced (vicariously) a root canal not solving the problem. 

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I had a tooth worked on once, and afterwards it was very sensitive to hot and cold. They hygienist told me to take ibuprofen to help the nerve "calm down" so that I wouldn't need a root canal, and it did the trick. You might want to try that, just in case.

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DD is 16 and had to have double root canals on her two front teeth. It’s been about a year and a half and so far so good. I know that’s not very long though. You can’t tell at all though. They look perfect.  

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I had root canals on my two top front teeth - I was not taught good hygiene and did not get necessary braces so the space between them never got clean. The decay reached the roots.

I had that done over ten years ago. I've had absolutely no problems with them since.

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I got a root canal on one of my front teeth in high school. You can not tell, and it has given me zero issues ever in almost 20 years. I am not sure what you mean  about your coworkers by "of course, very noticeable." Good dental work is typically invisible. 

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At her age, I would do the root canal. However, there are some complications which can affect the long term prognosis of the root canal. Since she is 15, the tip of the root would have just finished forming and the fact that the tooth was completely evulsed, might cause the root canal to fail at some point in the future. The root canal is the best option at this point and it keeps the bone in place in the event the root canal fails, tooth would need to be extracted, and a retainer with a false tooth (also known as a flipper) placed as the extraction site  heals, preparing her for an implant later.  

 

LCOL here, ballpark for upper root canal less than $1000 with a filling to close it, not a crown/cap at her age VS Extraction $300. flipper retainer w a replacement tooth $150. Implant surgery $2500, implant crown $1500, not counting possibility of bone grafts. 

 

If if you do go with the implant, make sure you take her to a periodontist that does implants. They will be better with esthetics like needing to contour the gum, than an oral surgeon. 

 

Good luck!

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DD13 had a very similar situation at age 9. 1/2 of her front tooth was broken off.  Dentist did a partial RC at the time(because the root was not fully formed). He cemented her tooth back on.  It is a temporary fix.  When she gets older(probably 17-18) we will have the RC finished and a crown placed. The tooth has stained over the years and I have to remind her it is temporary and her permanent fix will look great.

There is no reason to assume the RC will not work. At her young age, she will need to replace the crown at least once, maybe twice. in her lifetime. Of course it may eventually fail(any treatments runs that risk) and then an implant would be placed. The integrity of the bone will be preserved for easy implant placement(if that ever needs done.)

ETA: Have an endodontist do the work.  It is worth the extra $$.

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DS and DD have both had root canals ( dang genetics?).  DS were 10 years ago and DD were 5 years ago.  Neither have failed. All were done when they were younger than your child.

 The only root canal that has failed for us was DH’s who was done by his former  incompetence dentist( who should have never done it but did it while doing a filling. DH was in too much pain in the chair to think.). 

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such timing.   dh has a crown on his front tooth that fell off while he was at costco this afternoon. (he was able to get into the dentist.) he's had that crown for longer than we've known each other.   not sure if it's had a root canal - or he now needs one. 

 

2dd broke a tooth and they did a root canal when she was four.  it did eventually have to be pulled becasue it abscessed.

several of us have had root canals - no issues.

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Is it possible your botched root canal was with a dentist? It does sound like she's headed toward one. When I had that situation with sensitivity, the tooth was dying. The endodontist said if I waited the RC would actually require surgery. Because the tooth was dying, it was going to turn black. To me there is a faint line of grey under the crown where the tooth is visible, but I probably have had a bit of gum recession. I have no other RCs and don't know if that's normal. So it could be that some get that and some don't, dunno. And if that's the case, it's not the dentist's fault. The tooth is just doing what it's doing.

I'm pretty health conscious, so I didn't like the idea of root canals in general. They'll say they hold bacteria, blah blah. Well my tooth was dying and there was no infection, no issues like that to worry about. It's been a nothing.

I agree with you it's unpleasant, but short of a dental implant (which seems way more serious, oy), I don't see your options. Hopefully it's over quickly and the endo uses warm water. Give her earplugs.

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All of my root canals have been done at our regular dentists.  

 

To the poster who who had a crown fall off-my experience is that it just falls off sometimes, and that you just go in and they glue it back on.  It’s when you don’t go get it glued back on that they have to pull it months/yrs later.  

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I've had two root canals - I love the endodontist. They have better equipment than the dentist and they do amazing work. DH has had a front tooth root canal. It was before I met him so before 2001 and it's never caused him any issues. You can't tell he's had any work done on that tooth, just looks like a normal front tooth. 

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44 minutes ago, KathyBC said:

Thanks for all the responses - very helpful!

Dentists do root canals here. I've not heard of any particular specialist until this thread, so I will look into that.

I've had root canals with both a regular dentist and and endodontist. My experiences with both have been great. It was actually the dentist that referred me to the endo. The dentist said my tooth was curved in a difficult way, but that since the endo "does this stuff all day long", I should go to the endo for that particular tooth.

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I fell into monkey bars when I was 10 and broke my front tooth.  I had a root canal then and they built up the tooth using the filling material.  It looked good and was strong until well into my thirties.  I had it capped in my 40s and it is still fine.  (I was supposed to cap it at 21 but  dentist just kept an eye on it for me).  I have had a root canal that went bad in back. It ended up infected and had to be removed and I now have an implant in that spot.  That root canal was from when I was 12 and failed when I was 50.  I've had them done by both my regular dentist and an endodontist both have gone well.

Hope everything goes well.  It is so painful, I'm sorry she has to go through that.  

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