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Pissed off - failed root canal and now will cost me £££’s

(31 Posts)
Afternooninthepark Mon 08-Apr-19 16:27:35

I’m really pissed off and upset and wonder if anyone has any advice as I know little about how dental treatment works.
I am an NHS dental patient and two years ago I had a molar removed and root canal on the molar next to it. My dentist has refused to cap/crown this tooth as there was an infection in it and she said it could take over two years for the infection to go. I grind my teeth at night and have TMJ disorder which the dentist is aware of and probably has contributed to the damage to my teeth.
However, a month ago, at a check up the dentist descaled my teeth and after that this molar was painful. I returned two weeks ago for her to tell me the tooth now has a crack in it (wasn’t painful before the descaling appointment!) and the tooth will have to be extracted.
This concerns me as I will now have a big gap where the two molars would have been and will have the eat mainly on the other side which will exacerbate the TMJ disorder even more and even if Indo have a denture it wouldn’t be able to be fitted for 6-8 months to allow for healing.
I contacted the dentist today and asked if the tooth can be saved to avoid putting any more pressure on the jaws. She said as it will be a re root canal I will have to see a private specialist at £120 for the consultation and the re root canal will be around £900. I work part time and just don’t have that kind of money and I am so disappointed that this has been going on for two years, surely if she had even temporarily crowned it, it would have been saved from cracking.
I could cry I’m so frustrated. Anyone else experienced anything like this?

Afternooninthepark Thu 11-Apr-19 20:57:13

blue I would never go abroad for any healthcare, I would be far too apprehensive about things going wrong. However, I totally understand why people do it, my dentist reels off these figures for dental work as though it’s so affordable (maybe to her these prices are reasonable?). We are talking thousands of pounds which is incomprehensible for many of us. Leaves me with few options and typically the nicer options are only privy to the few who can afford them. That is why the every day person goes abroad for treatment, because they have few options.

BlueCornishPixie Thu 11-Apr-19 19:50:55

Also just because someone is happy with work done abroad doesnt mean its okay, i have seen people come in and tell me about their marvellous crown and bridge work done in places like turkey, budapest and it's a total mess. Its failng left right and centre and it's only a matter of time before it all goes wrong. And then I am left with having to sort it, telling someone there beautiful work needs to all come out, they're going to lose teeth and there's actually not an awful lot I can do to fix it.

If something is significantly cheaper abroad or something that a UK dentist won't do then it really isn't a good idea to get it done abroad. Obviously not all dentists in the abroad are bad, so if you are living abroad of course it's fine to get work abroad, and if yoi have an emergency fine. But the problem comes when you can't go back to the original dentist for upkeep and to fix problems, the original dentist knows you will never come back so they don't care about the future of their work and we can't contact the original dentist for your notes to help us.

BlueCornishPixie Thu 11-Apr-19 19:42:33

TrickyD why because in the UK would I say that? It's not like the OP is going to come see me so it's not affecting me where she goes?

I am a UK dentist and honestly there are so many problems with cheap work people have had abroad.

It is often work that a UK dentist wouldn't do because it is too destructive, or too likely to fail. Then when it inevitably does fail it is then a massive job to sort out, normally beyond the skill of a general dentist and there's no recourse for the dentist who did it, no ability to go back and get the original dentist to sort it out. Then people will end up losing lots of teeth, with lots of damage. Really don't go abroad.

There's a reason UK private dentistry is expensive, it's because that's what skill, time and equipment cost.

Afternoon lots of dental hospitals won't take on re-treatment on its own, where I am they won't. All specialist endodontists (root canal specialists) are private round me. The referring dentist won't make any money from referring you to someone in the same practice, or same business. It is likely if it is a colleague it is someone they trust and know does good work and that is why they would refer you. The distrust of dentists on this thread is really sad, of course you are going to refer to someone in the same company as you, it's like in any business if more specialist work is needed you will refer to someone within your company because that's a) someone who's easy to communicate with and b) someone's who is work you trust.

Horsemenoftheaclopalypse Thu 11-Apr-19 18:25:41

I was in your situation and had extraction.
Root canal failed for me and the tooth became too weak for a crown.

It was only one tooth but honestly it was a good outcome. my teeth were overcrowded and it really helped even things out

I’d extract and save for an implant

Afternooninthepark Thu 11-Apr-19 18:08:33

Thanks all, I am going to see my dentist in a couple of weeks for the extraction appointment but will discuss all the options with her.
welease my only concern is that she isn’t referring me to a hospital but a private practice which happens to be owned by the same company that owns the dental practice. I will ask if I can be referred to my local hospital.

weleasewoderick22 Thu 11-Apr-19 13:22:58

I am quite surprised at how many NHS dentists do root canal treatment themselves. I wouldn't be happy with that.

I was a dental nurse for 30 odd years and every dentist did root treatment, there is no one to refer to for routine treatment. As far as I'm aware, there are no private specialists in root canal therapy ( called endodontists) working in practice, they tend to be hospital specialists.
It's not that difficult a procedure in front teeth because they only have one or two roots. It's more difficult with molars because they have 3 or, sometimes, 4 canals and the failure rate is high and that is why they very often extract. But it's not impossible, I have two root treated molars that have been crowned afterwards because the teeth become very brittle once the nerve and blood supply are removed, I guess I've been lucky.

I think getting a second opinion is an excellent idea. As a pp said, your dentist probably doesn't want to do it and doesn't have the skills, so that's why she is referring you. It sounds like you are being referred to a oral surgeon who is attached to a hospital but has a private list. Insist on being referred to your local hospital's dental department, or better still, if you are near a teaching hospital you can refer yourself and there's no charge.

Sorry for the essay! I hope you find a solution.

User12879923378 Thu 11-Apr-19 12:48:31

Oh, and I also have TMJ and it is the absolute pits so more flowers for you.

User12879923378 Thu 11-Apr-19 12:46:12

NB with my root canals there was a temporary filling before capping and I was told that this was to see if the tooth settled or if there was any residual infection left so I am not surprised she wouldn't cap it.

User12879923378 Thu 11-Apr-19 12:45:07

There are lots of dentists on Mumsnet who might feel able to wade through the snidery on here to give some advice. I have had a couple of root canal treatments and what I was told is that a root canal treatment doesn't always work because along with the big root cavities there may be smaller offshoots that aren't accessible for cleaning and the infection may linger there. Not always easy to predict. I was also told that if the root canal is on a lower tooth it's less likely to succeed than an upper tooth because with an upper tooth the infection drains out rather than in.

Also, capping an infected tooth is supposed to be a bad idea as the infection then has no way out. I think.

Not a dentist myself but the fact that your root canal hasn't worked doesn't mean than NHS dentists are crap or that your dentist is a charlatan.

I do understand how frustrated and miserable you must feel though flowers

MarianneM Thu 11-Apr-19 12:41:51

I basically had the same experience as you, and the same tooth, although I still have the molar on that side, and while I was thinking about whether to have the root canal done privately and pay all that money, or get the tooth extracted the tooth chipped badly so that was that. I had it extracted and while that wasn't a nice experience, I feel fine now. No-one can even see the gap unless I open my mouth wide and show them. Just have it out and be done with it!

tisonlymeagain Thu 11-Apr-19 12:37:23

Root canals are often at risk of failure. I had one done recently and was warned of that, but my NHS dentist was very thorough and xrayed it three times during the work to make sure it was being done right.

I am surprised at the crack though and your dentist's advice. Surely the infection was removed by the very process of cleaning out and filling the root? My root was also medicated in the week before the root canal to help fight the infection. My dentist gave me the option but strongly advised me to have a crown put on to prevent cracking. This was done about 6 weeks after the actual root canal and I've had no issues with it since.

mrsjoyfulprizeforraffiawork Thu 11-Apr-19 12:35:01

I am quite surprised at how many NHS dentists do root canal treatment themselves. I wouldn't be happy with that. My (extremely competent) private dentist found I needed root canal treatment and immediately referred me to a specialist in root canals to get that done. In the end, the first root canal treatment failed as an infection got in (I think this happened when my own dentist was fitting a crown to the tooth afterwards so perhaps not so competent in that instance) and the specialist redid the root canal for no extra charge (he said he never has to redo them normally and the no charge for a redo was his policy).

aprilshowers12 Thu 11-Apr-19 12:25:35

Sorry meant to say that was in Budapest

aprilshowers12 Thu 11-Apr-19 12:25:14

My dB had lots of amazing and pain free dental work carried out a few years ago. It cost him less than half what it would have cost here and he’s thrilled with the results

TrickyD Thu 11-Apr-19 11:46:48

Do notunder any circumstances go to Budapest. Please.

Are you a UK dentist, BlueCornishPixie ?

If so, you would say that wouldn't you?

If you are not, many satisfied patients will disagree.

Afternooninthepark Mon 08-Apr-19 22:18:05

Thanks Blue I think I am going to opt for the extraction as much as it pains me to let the tooth go it’s obviously beyond help and I just can not afford the private treatment.
And I would not go anywhere abroad for treatment (even though several friends have gone to Turkey and are over the moon with the results - that’s not for me!)

BlueCornishPixie Mon 08-Apr-19 19:46:36

If you need re-treatment you will have needed re-treatment regardless of the crack

BlueCornishPixie Mon 08-Apr-19 19:45:17

Do notunder any circumstances go to Budapest. Please.

BlueCornishPixie Mon 08-Apr-19 19:44:41

This is nothing to do with dentists not wanting to do the work. Nhs dentists are often the same as private (literally the same dentist) with the same skill level. Re root treatment is complicated, and beyond the skill level of most general dentists.

Everything you do to a tooth takes it one step closer to needing to come out, obviously treatment is necessary but each step is further down the line of whether a tooth can be saved. Once a tooth is root filled that's the final step of a general dentist, if you want to save it you are asking for a lot of skill and a lot of expensive equipment, a lot of time which costs a lot of money.

Root canals aren't always successful, no treatment is 100%. The same as any medical procedure you have. If the infection hadn't healed then there's no point crowning a tooth as the if the root canal hadn't settled then it will either need to be redone or come out, so a crown is a waste of time and money.

It's likely the scale removed some calculus that was blocking the crack which made it painful, a descale couldn't crack a tooth.

Another dentist may be okay giving the re-treatment a go, but especially on a molar the success rate is likey to be poor as they simply don't have the skill or equipment to get a high success rate. Re-treatment on a molar is specialist worm.

TrickyD Mon 08-Apr-19 19:22:32

This may not be appropriate for you, OP, but my DH needed complicated crown and bridge work and he had it all done in Budapest, seemingly the dentistry capital of Europe. Even taking plane fares and accommodation into accont, it was half the price of the estimates he obtained here, and the result is excellent.

Afternooninthepark Mon 08-Apr-19 19:10:52

pintojo that sounds awful!
ginger I would like to change but the NHS waiting lists for dentists around my way are a year or more.
Matt I really do agree with you especially as I’ve just found out that the ‘specialist’ recommended by my dentist for the route canal retreatment is owned by the same group as the private side of my dental surgery. I am going to see her in two weeks, will enquire about referral to hospital.

MattFreisWeatherReport Mon 08-Apr-19 18:59:07

Dentists hate doing NHS work as they feel inadequately paid for it compared with what they could charge private patients for the same work. My experience is that they use any excuse to refer you for a 'specialist' procedure that can only be done privately at a different practice. Different dental practices seem to have reciprocal arrangements with each other to make sure everyone's back is equally scratched. I'm sure a dentist will be along in a minute to say that's bollocks, but in my area it's common.

Agree with your dentist that there's nothing for it but an extraction and then get a referral to have that done at a hospital clinic instead of just at your regular dental surgery (say you're nervous and will need decent sedation). You'll then be able to get an honest assessment from an NHS dentist without any skin in the game about what the best course of action is, and can go back to your own dentist armed with an indisputable opinion. I've saved two teeth on two different occasions from spurious 'specialist' root canal work that would have cost me thousands. Both times the problem was much simpler and cheaper than I'd been told. It takes time though, so get some pain relief on board!

Gingerkittykat Mon 08-Apr-19 17:59:02

I had an old root canal redone by my NHS dentist, so maybe another NHS dentist would do the work for you.

Pinotjo Mon 08-Apr-19 17:49:23

Ps had the tooth removed, side of mouth, can see the hole when I smile, couldn't afford the replacement, now it's just part of me!

Pinotjo Mon 08-Apr-19 17:47:45

I had a root canal, dentist didn't fill it correctly, got an infection which resulted in having a dark line around my mouth, like a faint moustache and a bruise like effect around my chin, this was the infection seeping around my lower face, had to have my gums cut open and the infection auctioned out, strong antibiotics. Total nightmare, wouldnt recommended

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