Theriot Family Dental

Her Dentist is Missing the Obvious

Posted by writeradmin

I had a bad fall that broke off about 1/3 of one of my front teeth while I was out of the country about three years ago. I had an emergency root canal treatment that removed the nerve from the tooth. When I got home, my dentist looked things over and said the work looked good to him then added a dental crown. Everything was fine until recently. The tooth became painful and sensitive to hot and cold. Then it stopped hurting. I told my dentist about it on the next visit and he did an x-ray and said he didn’t see anything. He decided to send me to an endodontist to have a specialist look at it. That dentist thought the problem was from the tooth next to it and thought maybe I am putting pressure on that tooth in my sleep. I’m worried that something is wrong because the pain is coming back. I don’t want to lose the tooth. Have you heard of this?


Dear Penny,

An image of a man grabbing his jaw in pain.

If you had a root canal treatment that had the nerve removed, there should be no pain at all unless the procedure wasn’t really done. Your dentist looked at it and said it was done correctly, so that can’t be the issue. There are a couple of things that stand out to me about this and I am not sure why your dentists are having trouble with this.

First, you had major trauma to a tooth. That would have impacted the tooth next to it. It’s been a few years and it sounds to me that one of the adjacent teeth are starting to act up. This should have been expected by your dentist. In situations like this everything can be fine and then it suddenly gives in after a few years go by.

Not seeing anything on the x-ray does not surprise me. When pulp is inflamed it does not show up on the x-ray. It won’t until it blows up into an infection.

With the pain gone at the moment, it either means that the tooth has recovered on its own or the tissue inside the tooth is in the process of dying. If it is the latter issue, that will show up on an x-ray…eventually. The tooth will also start to turn darker. As long as it doesn’t start hurting again, I would not consider it a dental emergency. I would keep an eye on it and get an x-ray at your checkup. If there is still nothing visible, you can just have an x-ray every few years. At some point, the tissue will die and you will end up with another root canal treatment and dental crown.

As long as you are attentive to it, you should not have to worry about losing the tooth.

This blog is brought to you by Baton Rouge Dentist Dr. John Theriot.