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If you've had a root canal in the past

Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm putting this out there as a sort of public service announcement, because it's something I wish I had known. They symptoms of a root canal needing retreatment are different from when you need a root canal initially. Last time I had one go bad, I figured that couldn't be what it was, because it didn't react to hot or cold the way it used to.

What I'm feeling, and what I felt in June, is kind of like there is something massive stuck between my teeth (but I flossed and there isn't). The tooth is also starting to be noticeably raised. But it doesn't hurt, for the moment, because it doesn't have a nerve in the usual place. There's kind of a weird rubbery or maybe electric sensation that isn't pain... yet. It's sort of like a funny bone whack or post charley horse sensitivity.

What it does have is a little hollow down at the bottom of the roots, where an infection has been stewing over the last 12-14 years eating away at the bone. I know this because it showed up on a bone scan the endodontist did when he treated my other side in June. We talked about it probably needing to be treated eventually. I guess it will need to be now. I hope we can get it wrapped up before the new year (which will involve a new deductible).

Back in June, I was feeling what I feel now, only it was a Thursday night, and I thought maybe it would go away on it's own. I called my dentist on Friday, but they were already closed for the evening. On Saturday, I wanted antibiotics and opiates. By Saturday night, I wanted an ice skate and a rock (if you've seen Cast Away). I paid $350 bucks to see an emergency dentist and would have let him pull it, except he saw a different problem from what I was feeling on the X-ray. (It turns out both teeth were bad, also I got about half the $350 back after insurance). I did get the scrip for antibiotics and opiates, and felt much better except on Sunday, my cheek grew a golfball sized lump where the infection somehow escaped the bone. Total weirdness. The endodontist was impressed when he went in to deal with that, I can tell you.

So, yeah, call in as soon as you feel that the tooth is raised. It won't feel like an abcess, until it does. If you haven't had a root canal and you're reading this far, poor thing, I would recommend getting root canals from endodontists and not your normal dentist. They are really expensive, but that's what I will do next time.

It's kind of amazing that I went back to eating candy again after what happened last June. Well, we're only human, I guess. I don't know that the candy could be put to blame directly, I just thought I would be scared straight. That double root canal redo was just horrific. But at least this one isn't in the upper jaw.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I am well into a course of antibiotics now and will be able to get it treated this week (before the endodontist goes on vacation). I have sisters who have just had them pulled, though. The thing is, they never got around to getting anything in the gaps, and now their orthodontia is at risk. I never had orthodontia, but my teeth are pretty crowded so I would need to put something in or everything would try to level out.

    Thanks for your thoughts everyone! I guess on some level getting fit may have had a price in stress. Though I certainly have other sources of stress in my life. My husband is in his third year of law school and had a final this morning, and my daughter had her first fender bender on Saturday!
    1920 days ago
    Had this exact same thing happen to me and they offered to do a THIRD root canal on the tooth and I said Oh heck no, take it out. I will eventually have to get a transplant but it is better than dealing with that annoyance.
    1920 days ago
    I hope you feel better soon.
    1920 days ago
    Yes..I identify. I had a tooth that had a root canal go bad and fought it for a year. They kept giving me anti-biotics which temporarily fixed it...then it would come back. I finally talked them into pulling it...they didn't want to. It was all the way in the back and I have had no problems since!

    1920 days ago
    I have worked in the dental community for
    over 25 years and I can affirm what you are
    saying about retreatment of a root canal
    treated tooth.

    When treatment is done the first time
    the nerve is removed. So you will not feel
    the sensations of hot and cold as you did if
    it acts up again. About 20% of RCT teeth
    will require re-treatment or surgery.
    You did nothing wrong to cause this nor
    did your dentist.

    It is often when you are under extra stress
    in your life that these teeth will re-abcess.

    It sounds like you are committed to keeping
    your teeth and having good oral health.

    That is great!
    1920 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/17/2012 3:27:46 PM
    Thank you for this. I have had so much Dental work...and hated it all.
    1920 days ago
    Thanks for telling us about this. I've had two root canals (right next to each other) and for the last year or so I've felt like I've had floss stuck between them (but then it goes away.) And I think "But how can I feel anything - there is nothing to feel there!"

    I have to wait until Jan.1 (for me it is the opposite, I need my HSA to fill back up) until I can go have it looked at though it comes and goes months at a time.
    1920 days ago
    Ouch! Hope you can get that fixed quickly.
    1920 days ago
    Ouch, poor you! Thanks for telling us about your experience, and I hope you get everything taken care of quickly.

    My dentist would not do root canals, so all mine (except for one) have been done by an endodontist. The one exception was done by the chief of the dental clinic when I was still in the military. Root canals were still two-part procedures several weeks apart in those days (not like the one-visit root canals I get now). On the first of the two visits...the big one where they go in and clean everything out, I was in the chair for three hours, as staff kept coming in to interrupt for signatures and phone calls, because he was, after all, the big cheese. He ended up having to numb me up again because the anesthesia started wearing off, and periodically someone had to sit me back up because I was leaned all the way back with my head down. Worst root canal of my life. I'm just grateful most military dentists were very good.
    1920 days ago
    Thanks for the info. Had to have a root canal AFTER a crown was in place. That's no fun either. Good luck.
    1920 days ago
    emoticon poor you!
    1920 days ago
    Thanks for the in fo

    Make Today a Great Day!
    1920 days ago
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