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OK, Triple root canal or extraction? Dentist says its up to me.

(36 Posts)
moosemama Mon 26-Oct-09 21:06:39

I am truly petrified of dentists, but have bravely managed to cope with an appointment at the NHS emergency clinic and an appointment with a local dentist to follow it up.

Apparently I have two choices, have the tooth removed or have a route canal done on all 3 roots of the tooth.

I am at a loss to know what to do really. On the one hand, once the tooth is gone, its gone and that's an end to it. On the other, just the thought of the dentist yanking my tooth out makes me feel sick and fills me with horror, but then again the idea of a root canal is just as scary.

Any advice, gratefully received.

(Oh, by the way, I have an exemption card at the moment so wouldn't have to pay for either treatment.)

Georgimama Mon 26-Oct-09 21:08:00

depends where the tooth is in your mouth. If it's near the back and it's absence won't show much when smiling, I would say extraction. The root canal will only last about 10 years and then you'll end up having it out anyway.

Clary Mon 26-Oct-09 21:10:01

What tooth is it?

I had my top 2 wisdom teeth out as I had no lower ones and don't miss em at all.

Similarly, I think there are certain teeth where an extraction would not be missed - would remaining teeth plug the gap at all? what does dentist say?

(You can see where I'm going here - triple root canal has to be a really last resort, no other option kind of route IMO).

Extraction ie the actual process was fine btw. I was pg in both cases (!) not sure if that made it more or less painful


mrspnut Mon 26-Oct-09 21:13:27

I had an upper molar out about 15 months ago and it has been fine since. I still have a gap but compared to the pain from the tooth it's absolutely fine.

wildstrawberryplace Mon 26-Oct-09 21:14:49

I am phobic about dentists and usually have to have diazepam the night before and on the day itself.

Last year I had root canal on all four roots (yes, four) of a tooth and it wasn't that bad at all, much better experience than other fillings I have had. I was dosed up on diazepam and stuffed full of anaesthetic and the guy who did it was very gentle and took his time which gave me great confidence. Also, because the nerve is dead there isn't that pulsing nerve fear that you get otherwise.

I think it is better to try to save the tooth if possible, an extraction leaves the teeth on either side vulnerable to gum recession and bridgework is a pain to clean properly and so on.

swottybetty Mon 26-Oct-09 21:18:33

consider the root canal - i have had two triples done and they're fine. it sounds worse than it is. like you, i would have happily had an extraction on one of them. it was at the back so not really visible, and also i was pregnant and in horrific pain but unable to take decent painkillers.

i was advised by two emergency dentists that it would need removal and that's what i wanted too. however, the dentist who eventually treated me saved it and did all my other teeth at the same time and i feel like a new woman. really. i will never have dentist fear again. i love having ok teeth!

moosemama Mon 26-Oct-09 21:43:14

Gosh, sorry I was absent, I wasn't expecting such quick replies. Thank you all for your responses.

The tooth is the second molar from the back (excluding my wisdom teeth iyswim) so the gap wouldn't really show.

The dentist said an extraction shouldn't be problematic in that location, but it varies from person to person and you won't know until the tooth is gone whether or not you are going to have problems.

The tooth itself contained a huge filling. A quarter of the tooth and half the filling broke off and fell out a few weeks ago and I currently have a temporary dressing (and a toothache). Its broken to just about gum level, but the dentist said it would be no problem to save the tooth.

I have been considering the root canal, which really surprises me considering how terrified I am. I have been told by a couple of people that the whole process is completely painless these days as things have moved on a long way in dentistry since I was tortured treated as a child.

If I had it removed, do they does yank it out or do they sort of loosen it and work it out gently. I can't stand the idea of them heaving on my tooth with all their might. (A friend recently had his tooth removed under sedation and woke up early to find the dentist with his knee in his chest trying to lever it out! shock)

sleepwhenidie Mon 26-Oct-09 21:46:59

I'd go for root canal, as others have said, it really isn't as bad as you expect, its not painful, just takes a long time. Personally I wold rather hang on to a tooth as long as possible, even if that is "only" for ten more years.

GooberIsLockedInTheBootOfMyCar Mon 26-Oct-09 21:47:45




moosemama Mon 26-Oct-09 21:55:24

Goober - are you a dentist? Something along the lines of Little Shop of Horrors perhaps? Or am I reading into your post too much and you just want to save me the full horror of a root canal? wink grin

KnackeredOfLeeds Mon 26-Oct-09 21:57:20

I had a double root canal last week on a similar tooth. My reasoning is you can't see it but it's damn useful for chewing!! I've always been terrified of dentists and cried on my way into this appointment. but it was great, pain free and I made sure I kept myself topped up with paractamol (still BF) and no pain aferwards, best thing I've done. gonna have to have a crown to stop the rest of my tooth breaking up (similar to yours) but I've no NHS so it's going on the visa.. Good luck

CrystalTits Mon 26-Oct-09 21:57:59

Moosemama, I'd go for the root canal treatment over extraction. Seconding what sleepwhenidie said, keep your tooth for as long as poss even if it's 'only' for another decade!

I have awfully weak teeth so have had quite a few RCTs. You'll be given plenty of anaesthetic, and although root canals can take a little longer than your average appointment, you won't be in any pain.

Keep your tooth now and save the extraction for later in life!

moosemama Mon 26-Oct-09 22:08:33

Thanks folks.

Its sounding more and more like I should go for the root canal.

KnackeredofLeeds, I am still bf as well and was wondering about the pain relief side of things. Its good to hear that you only needed paracetamol to cope. I struggled with just paracetamol to help with the original infection, but now I have post infection toothache, its painful, but I wouldn't say its agony.

I have another appointment on Thursday. He said it would probably need two half-hour appointments to do a root canal, 1 to drill out and temporarily pack the tooth then another a week later to check all the infection and swelling has gone and put the final filling in. Does that sound about right to those of you who have had it done?

Georgimama Mon 26-Oct-09 22:10:24

I've had a root canal, and they aren't that bad surprisingly, it's just that you will eventually lose the tooth anyway. I wish I'd had it out and had a crown but I don't have an NHS dentist and I can't afford it.

Clary Mon 26-Oct-09 22:15:04

interesting all these votes for a root canal.

TBH my post was misleading in that I had never haad either until I had my wisdoms out a few yrs ago.

So still havent' had root canal...maybe not as horrific as I suspected!

BTW a good dentist is such a life-saver. Mine is fab! no pain, really really good. Thes best I have ever had.

GooberIsLockedInTheBootOfMyCar Mon 26-Oct-09 22:17:46

I had the same tooth extracted 16 months ago.
It was filled and crumbled away to about 30% of tooth. I was given the option of root canal or extraction, which I'm glad I chose.
Also a far cheaper option!

moosemama Mon 26-Oct-09 22:49:22

Thanks for your reply Goober, good to get a balance and hear from someone that went for an extraction.

Cost isn't really an issue for me as I can have either treatment done for nothing at the moment.

Have you had any problems with the gap? Does it make it awkward to eat on that side at all?

GooberIsLockedInTheBootOfMyCar Tue 27-Oct-09 19:29:09

No awkwardness with eating and it is on the side that I eat on mainly. Not visable unless looking for gap when I smile.

PoisonToadstool Tue 27-Oct-09 19:36:37

Root canal, you will NOT regret it but you may regret extraction

I had about 6 hours of root canal earlier this year - it was FINE, I would do it again tomorrow!

wigglybeezer Tue 27-Oct-09 19:42:28

another vote for root canal here, I had it done earlier this year and i am very pleased with the results, very glad to avoid a gap (also it wasn't really painful, just uncomfortable keeping mouth open for a long time.).

moosemama Wed 28-Oct-09 15:38:54

Just popping back to thank everyone who replied.

I think I am going to go for the root canal. Most people seem to think it will be painless (although uncomfortable) and the general consensus is that its always better to try and keep a tooth for as long as you possibly can.

Thanks again for everyones' advice. smile

moosemama Thu 29-Oct-09 17:15:55

Had the first half of my root canal done this afternoon.

It wasn't too bad. Had to be injected a few extra times as anaesthetics never work very effectively for me and another part of my tooth broke off during the drilling, but in the end it was fine and the dentist said they can still save the tooth.

I have to go back in a fortnight to have the temporary filling replaced with a permanent one and then will need to go again a month later to have a crown fitted.

According to the dentist, the hard part is over now and the next couple of visits will be much easier.

(I still have a completely numb face, jaw, tongue and lips despite having the injections done at 2.10 pm.)

wigglybeezer Thu 29-Oct-09 22:04:30

Well done you! DH had to have so much local anaesthetic last time he had some fillings that his nose went numb!

moosemama Thu 29-Oct-09 22:16:47

My nose went numb as well. Well the tip and outside part of my right nostril did to be exact.

Just sat and counted up with dh and I had 8 shock injections in the end. The injection sites feel quite bruised and sore now the anaesthetic is wearing off, but the tooth feels fine.

Typically, dd decided tonight was the night it would be amusing to headbutt the side of my face. hmm

Time2Hibernate Thu 29-Oct-09 22:30:54

Oh Moosemama - only just caught up with your thread. Keep up the painkillers after the root treatment for a few hours. The numbing agent can be quite unpleasant.

<<sends cold pack and american football style hat with face guards - use as required near DD!>>

Hope you feel better soon.

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