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Thread: Root canal after a crown?

  1. #1
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    Root canal after a crown?

    Earlier this year I had a crown put on after a cracked tooth became unbearable. Within a month I was still have slight pain and the dentist said that at one point that tooth was marked in their file for a possible root canal.

    Fast forward to this week and that tooth and area are killing me. Called my dentist & found out their office is closed for 2 weeks so seeing someone else tomorrow morning.

    My question is: can they just remove this crown, do the root canal and put this crown back on or do I need to pay for a whole new crown?

    TIA!
    Sarah

  2. #2
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    Almost exactly a year ago, I had extensive work done on a tooth - a really deep and very expensive filling. Two months later, I was living in Illinois, with no established relationship with a dentist, when I had horrendous tooth pain, followed by cheek swelling. I googled cheek swelling and figured out that I probably had an abscessed tooth and needed to get myself to a dentist ASAP. Thankfully I was able to find a really good dentist through my Junior League connections, and he took one look at me and said I needed a root canal. I muttered something about the amount of money I had just spent on that tooth and he said "really, that is the least of your problems right now". It was so true. Because it was infected, I had to wait five days for antibiotics to work before he could work on it. It would have been much better if I had gotten in to see a dentist sooner. So to answer your question, I have no idea if they can take the crown off and put it back on, but just take care of the problem before it gets even more complicated and painful.
    <)>>< Candace ><<)>

  3. #3
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    I asked the dentist this just last week. He told me that, most likely, they can drill straight through the crown.

  4. #4
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    I had a root canal done under a crown. As Gumbeaux said, my dentist drilled through the crown to perform the root canal.

    I don't know how easy it would be to remove a crown. I've had old, old crowns pop off, but crowns seem to be pretty permanently glued to the tooth underneath!

    ETA: I've had cracked teeth, but I don't think I've ever had a crown put on a cracked tooth without the tooth having been root canaled first.
    Last edited by MikeC; 08-16-2007 at 01:31 PM.

  5. #5
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    I've also had one done by drilling through the existing crown. You shouldn't have to pay for a whole new crown. Good luck!

  6. #6
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    Unhappy

    Sarah428:

    This could be me shortly. Back in May I had severe pain in the area where I had a root canal done 16 years ago. I saw my dentist who could find no reason for the pain (hot/cold didn't bother it, nor did chomping on something hard). But the pain was awful, so a day or so later they put me on anti-biotics. The pain went away. The dentist said that at some point we would need to revisit the tooth, either do a new root canal or have it removed and have a bridge made.

    Lo and behold, three weeks ago while away on vacation, the pain kicked in again. I was popping Advil every four hours and barely sleeping (nice vacation, huh?). When I got home, I called and my dentist was on vacation. So I called the dentist on call and he prescribed antibiotics again. Within a few days, the pain was gone again.

    Now, I have to see the Dentist this coming week and we'll discuss what to do about this situation. I am not looking forward to having a root canal done again. Incidentally, when I had the root canal done before, I was pregnant. I'd rate having the root canal done right up there with giving birth - no lie!
    And I only have one child - what does that tell you?

    Anyway, just wanted to put in my 2 cents. I am not looking forward to whatever road I'll be going down shortly.

    Good luck to you, in your situation!
    barbara-cook

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbara-cook View Post
    The dentist said that at some point we would need to revisit the tooth, either do a new root canal or have it removed and have a bridge made.
    I would recommend an implant rather than a bridge even though implants are $,$$$. Trust me.

  8. #8
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    My philosophy has always been to save the tooth, if at all possible. I'd take a root canal to save a tooth rather than an extraction any day.

    I've had root canals "go bad" after a lot of years. One of them was able to be re-done, and, for me, it was no worse than the original root canal. Another one couldn't be saved, and had to be pulled.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbara-cook View Post
    I'd rate having the root canal done right up there with giving birth - no lie!
    lol...really? You must have a horror for a dentist then. I've never had a baby but I've got to believe childbirth is alot worse than a little ole root canal. I had one through a crown one time and it was way less traumatic than I'd been led to expect. Not fun mind you but not bad either. Why don't they just change the name of the procedure? It's an awful name! People are expecting something nasty just from all the lore surrounding it. I must say I didn't enjoy the pain after the novocain wore off though so I'd ask for some pain meds before leaving the dr's office if I have one again. Anyway, to the original question, once they drilled through it that was the end of the existing crown. I would definitely talk to the doctor about whether or not this tooth should have had a root canal before you got the crown and see if an accomodation can be made so that you don't have to pay or at least pay full price for a new crown. Good luck and I hope you get some relief soon.
    Linda

    When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say “I used everything you gave me.”

    Erma Bombeck

  10. #10
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    I haven't had a root canal. but DH had one. He wsa concerned after hearing how bad they could be, but he said he felt nothing, It doesn't have to be that bad, Barbara. Hope you don't experience that again.

  11. #11
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    I've had some root canals where I felt nothing; I've had others that were painful. But I'm told I have "unusual" roots!

    As far as "after pain," my root canal pain always goes away much more quickly than my extraction pain.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by HejazSunKat View Post
    I would definitely talk to the doctor about whether or not this tooth should have had a root canal before you got the crown and see if an accomodation can be made so that you don't have to pay or at least pay full price for a new crown.
    Yeah, I'm not a dentist, but it seems a little strange to me that you would just put a crown on a painful cracked tooth, and hope that the tooth would stop hurting. The crown would keep the pressure off the tooth, I guess, but the damage would still be there. It just sounds strange to me. (But, again, what do I know? Maybe it's done all the time.)

  13. #13
    I had the same problem, a crown on a tooth for years and all of a sudden, pain and needed root canal. The dentist just drilled through the crown. You do not need a new crown! Good luck. Whatever you do, save the tooth, do not get an extraction. Debralynn

    Viva e lascia vivere - - - Live and Let Live

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbara-cook View Post
    Lo and behold, three weeks ago while away on vacation, the pain kicked in again. I was popping Advil every four hours and barely sleeping (nice vacation, huh?). When I got home, I called and my dentist was on vacation. So I called the dentist on call and he prescribed antibiotics again. Within a few days, the pain was gone again.

    I had this problem a couple of weeks ago and asked my dentist why I had the most pain that I ever experienced in my life and then it simply "went away". He said that when a nerve dies in a tooth it will sometimes "fizzle out" before it completely dies and that you will go back and forth between unbearable pain and no pain.

  15. #15
    I think having a root canal is about as bad as having a filling - the novacaine is always the worst part for me. After that, I plug in my ipod, relax into the massage chair thingy, and try to ignore all the noise.

    I have had a terrible experience with an incompetent dentist trying to put on a crown. After spending almost 5 horrific hours in the chair with a mouth that was only slightly numb, I didn't go to the dentist at all for 5 years. So I totally understand dental nightmares! I did find a new dentist and he and his staff are fantastic.

    As far as doing a root canal on a cracked tooth - they typically only do that if the crack involves the nerve - sometimes they don't. I guess they can tell on the x-ray, because when I cracked a tooth, my dentist told me by looking at it that he was hopeful we wouldn't have to do a root canal, but changed his mind once he saw the x-ray.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumbeaux View Post
    I asked the dentist this just last week. He told me that, most likely, they can drill straight through the crown.
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
    I had a root canal done under a crown. As Gumbeaux said, my dentist drilled through the crown to perform the root canal.

    I don't know how easy it would be to remove a crown. I've had old, old crowns pop off, but crowns seem to be pretty permanently glued to the tooth underneath!

    ETA: I've had cracked teeth, but I don't think I've ever had a crown put on a cracked tooth without the tooth having been root canaled first.
    Quote Originally Posted by cocoa'smom View Post
    I've also had one done by drilling through the existing crown. You shouldn't have to pay for a whole new crown. Good luck!
    Quote Originally Posted by MikeC View Post
    I've had some root canals where I felt nothing; I've had others that were painful. But I'm told I have "unusual" roots!

    As far as "after pain," my root canal pain always goes away much more quickly than my extraction pain.
    Quote Originally Posted by Debralynn View Post
    I had the same problem, a crown on a tooth for years and all of a sudden, pain and needed root canal. The dentist just drilled through the crown. You do not need a new crown! Good luck. Whatever you do, save the tooth, do not get an extraction. Debralynn

    Ditto to all of this! I've had more than a couple of root canals and they've drilled right through the crown... the only downside that I found (other than having to hold my mouth open so long) is that the crown didn't have the pretty white underside any more -- looked like a filled tooth! I have NEVER had a painful root canal -- I guess that the nerve has died by the time they actually do the canal, or that the anesthetic was just good! BTW, ask for a bite block to help you hold your mouth open for the 2 hours or so -- way easier on the jaw muscles!
    Kay
    I'm a WYSIWYG person -- no subterfuge here!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumbeaux View Post
    I had this problem a couple of weeks ago and asked my dentist why I had the most pain that I ever experienced in my life and then it simply "went away". He said that when a nerve dies in a tooth it will sometimes "fizzle out" before it completely dies and that you will go back and forth between unbearable pain and no pain.
    This is all bringing back such interesting memories!

    Years ago, I went by myself to Cape Cod for a week's vacation; first time I had ever been and I was so looking forward to it. I had had some very mild discomfort with a tooth on and off, but I have sinus problems and my roots are very close to my sinuses, so sometimes it's hard to tell whether slight discomfort is dental or sinus.

    My second day on the Cape, I began experiencing the most horrible pain I have ever had in a tooth. Just touching my teeth together sent waves of pain through my jaws. I had had root canals before, and I pretty much recognized this as "root canal pain," but didn't want another dentist to touch my teeth unless it was absolutely necessary, and didn't want to leave my vacation early. So I ate soft foods, chewing very gingerly, and stayed on the Cape. I called my dentist from the Cape and made an appointment for the day after I was returning.

    Two days later, I contemplated leaving early for home. The next morning, the pain stopped. I could chew and eat anything I wanted. You'd never have known I had had any pain at all. I fantasized about cancelling the dental appointment, but knew that was dumb.

    I got home and went to the dentist and, of course, needed a root canal, but the root had apparently died while I was on the Cape so I could enjoy my last few days of vacation!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by leightx View Post
    As far as doing a root canal on a cracked tooth - they typically only do that if the crack involves the nerve - sometimes they don't. I guess they can tell on the x-ray, because when I cracked a tooth, my dentist told me by looking at it that he was hopeful we wouldn't have to do a root canal, but changed his mind once he saw the x-ray.
    Ah, that makes sense, leigh. (I said below, "what do I know"! ) My tooth cracks have been bad enough to always involve the nerve, I guess.

  19. #19
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    I'd rate having the root canal done right up there with giving birth - no lie!
    I have had two, but went to a specialist. My roots are curved and no dentist will even consider a root canal, but my treatment was wonderful and with the exception of the ice they rubbed over the tooth to find out which one was bothering me and the shot of novacain (SIC?), it was painless.

    I just don't like shots.
    You may have had a lot of unfair things happen, but when you look back over your life, remember something good that has happened for you. Replay the good memories. Joel Osteen

  20. #20
    I've heard that root canals really aren't that bad. Most people don't mention when they've had a decent one, so the horror stories always seem to prevail.

  21. #21
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    I had a root canal on (in?) a crown years ago. And most definitely, I would rather go through childbirth again than have another root canal. I guess everyone experiences pain differently. At least after childbirth, there was a sweet baby! After a root canal there was only a few days of pain and a filling in my crown.
    K

  22. #22
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    Thanks for all the responses. I've never had a problem going to the dentist until I had this crown put on. It wasn't as bad a childbirth (I've had 2) but nothing I'd gladly do again.

    The fill-in dentist filed my crown down a little so it wasn't so bothersome and after looking at xrays recommended a root canal. My dentist is back in next Tues so I'm on antibiotics until then.

  23. #23
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    Wink

    Okay - I just jumped back on tonight and caught up on all this.

    Guess I'd better explain. I had a root canal done at one of those "dental clinics". It didn't go well. I never got my real crown. The temporary one broke and I ended up going to my current dentist to get it all fixed correctly. He did a good job and is still my dentist. The "fizzle" comment is interesting - have to check with him about that.

    As for child birth - well, it seemed to go on for days. Ended up having Petocin and that, let me tell you, is a wild ride.

    'Nuf said! Cheers to everyone and good luck with all the teeth!
    barbara-cook

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