Several weeks ago, I was suffering from a major toothache that had caused me pain for quite a while, but I put off making an appointment with my normal dentist. However, when the pain became unbearable, I visited an emergency dentist and ended up needing a root canal. My sister has been experiencing similar tooth pain for periodically for almost a year. I eventually insisted that she be seen by an emergency dentist, and warned her that she, too, would likely need a root canal. When her pain turned into a terrible toothache last weekend, she finally visited the emergency dentist and learned she only needed a crown, not a root canal. Because our teeth were feeling the same way, it is difficult for me to understand how I could need a root canal, yet she needed only a crown. Did one of us receive the incorrect treatment?
Many different things can cause tooth pain. Cavities, cracked teeth, and infections are just a few of a number of issues that can result in such pain. Typically, root canals are performed when a tooth’s decay reaches the center of the tooth or is close to the nerve. They are also necessary when a tooth becomes infected or dies.
Therefore, though you and your sister may have experienced similar tooth pain, the pain could have been caused by a variety of issues, each needing differing treatments. It’s also important to remember that different people have different tolerances for pain, and our teeth do not always react the same way or send the same signals. So the level of pain or discomfort you each felt is not as indicative of the cause of the pain.
That being said, the emergency dentist should have provided an explanation of his diagnosis, to help you better understand more about the procedure and the reason for the procedure. If this is still unclear to you, you can call the office and ask what the problem was with each tooth. You will likely learn that the teeth had different problems. But, if they both had decay and the same amount of decay, it is possible that your tooth’s decay was closer to the nerve. The best way to find out is to ask.
It is also important to note that you shouldn’t delay dental attention to teeth which are causing you pain or issues. The sooner you address the issues, the lesser the treatment you will need.
This post is brought to you by the office of Colorado Springs emergency dentist, Dr. Joseph Rota.