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Root canal therapy vs extraction

In a couple of days I’ll have to decide if I’m going to have root canal or extraction of a molar.
Early in the week I made an appointment with my regular dentist as I was experiencing excruciating pain from a molar and new it to be nerve pain. Had a bad experience with root canal years ago, among the horrors: soon after, the tooth needed to be extracted because of broken roots and an abscess.
So I went in wanting an extraction,
but my dentist asked me to have a good think about it and get back to him with my decision.

To the Community:
I would welcome your input, please, to help me decide.

Also, if you have any tips for managing the pain.

As I don’t go with painkillers much, I have found a cold pack to be of some help. All my meals have to be eaten cold as any warmth brings on terrible pain. :disappointed:

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Much sympathy. I have had two root canals done.

The first one was in the early 80s and had to have a crown put over the tooth. It is still in place today.

The second one only a couple of years ago. I had to go back several times to the (supervised student) dentists because the tooth’s multiple roots splayed out in every direction making it very hard to find find all the nerves. Then on one root the nerve canal was so minute the dentists could not do anything with it, so it was left alone. Another crown went over the top of that one. In the end it was a good result.

I have had one more tooth which was going to require root canal and cause huge pain. Paracetemol was my best friend. While waiting interminably to be booked in to the public dentist to get the root canal the pain gradually disappeared. I was told in a subsequent examination that it hurts while the nerves are dying, and once they are dead the pain stops. I haven’t had any problems with that tooth since the pain stopped.

So I would suggest that your bad experience could have been down to the structure of your teeth, or the dentist may not have been up to par. So if you can’t put up with the pain, I would suggest have the root canal procedure done.

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I had the same choice last year, and went for extraction. Dentist said root canal work often fails, and it was going to cost a lot more money, which I did not have.

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I manage mine with Colgate Mutliprotect Sensitive pro something. I have a cracked tooth and the dentist wanted to do root canal. It became a matter of financial challenge for me, I simply could not afford it. The toothpaste thing is wearing thin, though and I know I will have to go get an extraction sooner rather than later. No way am I going to have root canal. I can live without the tooth.

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Clove oil will also kill the pain but must be used sparingly, used long enough it will kill the nerve.

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Zinc oxide + clove oil can be used as a (temporary) tooth filling

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From personal experience I would have the tooth removed .

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Some issues:

  • How comfortable are you with losing a molar. A crowned or filled tooth is useful when eating.
  • A root canal can work a treat or go badly; it is the skill of the dentist/dental surgeon and a good one doesn’t leave nor hack out broken bits very often. On balance nothing relating to the human body is guaranteed to 100% success 100% of the time.
  • Dollars.

Nobody can tell anyone which is their best outcome, because everyone’s outcome and preferences are going to vary. If a previous bad experience colours your thoughts you might take that on board as the prime concern.

My partner has had a few root canals over the years, most have gone well, none badly.

Whichever decision you make will be the right one for you.

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Just thinking aloud following the above posts (big thank you to all, much appreciated).

  1. Cost: Covid19 has prevented my overseas trip, so there’s still some savings there.

  2. Skill of dentist: the failed root canal was done by a specialist endodontist
    (top of Collins street). I’m comfortable with my present dentist this time.

  3. Previous experience: I have a big baggage of a negative past experience.
    It includes infection before the final visit.
    My first thought was: oh no, I’m not going through that again! But, actually, I’m not going to relive the past. It’ll be a completely new experience.

  4. Loss of molar: the only molar I have missing is the failed root canal one, last
    one, lower jaw, right side. This time it’s the last molar, lower jaw, left side.
    Will not be visible and eating will still be alright. But that’s what is keeping me in my indecision: an extraction is final, and might be regretted.

Tomorrow morning I should let reception know what I want to be done in my appointment Tuesday morning.
I’ve still got a little time.

In the meantime it’s an ice pack under my jaw, even in 4C at night in Melbourne so that I can sleep. Or Nurofen, excellent pain killer, but got my blood pressure to 160 this morning.
Paracetamol hardly makes any difference.

As if the stress of Covid wasn’t enough…

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You could go to a GP and get a prescription pain killer that does not get your blood pressure up. I even think the dentist could have given that but I don’t know if that is correct in Australia.
If you do not have problem roots then I would have the tooth removed. I know it is final but so is the pain.
I had a wisdom tooth removed recently. Unfortunately I do have problem roots so it took 15 minutes with the specialist extractionist or whatever they are called sitting over me in the chair in the end, using all his strength to get it out. It took a week before my jaw stopped hurting. Cheaper than an operation though.

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My previous dentist told me (after a ten-second inspection, and with no x-ray evidence) that I had a cracked wisdom tooth, and that I must have a root canal done. Extraction was not mentioned as an option.
A second opinion was that I did not have a cracked tooth, and that if I did have one, extraction would be preferable to root canal. I do have sensitive teeth, and now use that same Colgate toothpaste.
I look back on some of the work done by the previous dentist, and suspect that I was being over-serviced over a period of about 10 years.

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A worthwhile bit to note about sensitivity toothpastes is that there are different versions with different active ingredients at different price points. One or another works better for some individuals.

The marketeers are always adding other options such as whitening and so on, but that is a different issue.

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Over servicing is always a problem. I would have stayed with this dentist (one of many in a multi-dentist practice) but he returned to the UK and I dont much like the rest of them (although theres a nice good new one now, but $275 for a filling seemed excessive to me, so I have to save for extraction). Or I could go to the public dentist at some point, and maybe get a voucher to have t done free.

I know the tooth is cracked (Xrays done) but it was already weakened by my own earlier stupidity in using my teeth to open screwtop soft drink bottles (yes I really did, in my teens and twenties). I already had two teeth extracted in that same area for the same reason. THis particular tooth was helped on its way by a different dentist to my usual being extremely rough with a filling which was needed, I was unimpressed, I had ongoing pain for a month after that, only saved by that toothpaste. And as is rightly pointed out, not all sensitivity toothpastes are equal. Sensodine does SFA for me. And only the Multiprotect variety of Colgate.Sensitive Pro Relief. I also have the Repair and Protect version and its basically useless. I’m just using that in between bouts of pain, to get rid of it.

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Called the dental clinic this morning to postpone my appointment to next week.
Main reason being that I’ve had no more pain since 6pm yesterday, and I think I should see what’s happening before having anything done.
Even now after my lunch and brushing and rinsing with warm water, there’s no pain drama. No frozen bottle held to my jaw :grinning:

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My partner has on more than one occasion had a perceived dental problem rectified by a 2 x course of augmentin! No further work was required.

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I have asked for antibiotics myself, even though the dentist said it wouldn’t make any difference to the pain but he would prescribe if I wished.
Today it’s the last day.
Here’s hoping that’s all it takes :slightly_smiling_face::slightly_smiling_face:

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It did not immediately affect the pain, but it apparently remedied what was causing the pain, over a few days.

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My dentist advised with my very cracked tooth that if the nerve was infected before they put the filling in to replace the broken off piece that I could have some pain until the nerve died from the infection. Had none thankfully but perhaps this was the reason for the pain for @Gaby. Abscesses near the tooth can cause similar pain as well and most times all they need is treatment by antibiotics but not always is this successful. Now I use my mouthguard to stop the grinding and reduce further risks of cracking, too late for my tooth but hopefully will save other teeth in my mouth from the same fate.

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In my younger days, with an abscess in 2 teeth (at different times), I could not afford root canal, so opted for extraction. These 2 teeth were molars in my lower jaw. Some 40-50 years later, I am suffering with teeth moving (leaning) into the gap left by the extraction. Also receding gums. Certainly the teeth closing the gap is a result of extraction rather than root canal.
Root canal is a better option in the long term, as you age, there will be less problems with your teeth and jaw.
However it is expensive.
As I aged and my finances got better, I have had a couple of root canal treatments. Those teeth are not moving and have kept my jaw full.
I have not had problems with either extractions or root canal treatments. I have had and do have a good dentist.
Although more expensive, root canal is better as you age, if you don’t want to have problems in your 60-70+

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I’ve had 5 root canals and only once was there any issues. The tooth that gave me grief had extra canals that could not be find by my regular dentist. Endodontist fixed my tooth
If you decide for root canal (which I recommend) make sure your dentist is properly equipped to perform the procedure or get referred to an endodontist. Then follow what they tell you. Go back when they say.
Good luck
Oh as for pain - when mine got bad I went for hard drugs - sorry :bowing_woman:

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