Some of you will remember the horrible root canal experience I have been posting about. After five months of working on that tooth (I am still not done, as one of the roots is now filled short), it turns out that most likely the wrong tooth was root canaled! The endodontist was about to send me to a neurologist and have me take major pain killers, because I was stilling having spontaneous pain months after the root canal (I think that amounts to declaring me nuts, as I would be imaging my pain), and since nothing showed up on the x-ray.
Well, this week, I went to my new prosthodontist, to have a very small amalgam filling replaced on the same side of my mouth. Neither the endodontist, nor the 3 dentists I had seen were very concerned about that tooth, since aboslutely no decay was visible on the x-ray. It turned out that half of the tooth was deep, longstanding decay. Even the prosthodontist was shocked, and not willing to put in a permanent gold filling, as this tooth is a possible root canal candidate (and indeed, my mouth is very sore now). And he is now worried about my other fillings as well, although nothing is visible on the x-rays. Here are my thoughts on this:
1) What good are x-rays, if they don't even show MAJOR decay!!!
2) No wonder the root canal on the upper molar (the tooth with the deepest filling on that side) didn't stop the pain I was having! And to suggest that I was imagining my pain, and should be taking addictive pain killers, when the truth is that they just didn't know what was wrong!!!
Just sharing my experience. I know there are worse things in life than tooth problems, but even they can make your life miserable.
Oh Zahn - that stinks! I personally have always suspected an "x-ray conspiracy", but then again I pretty much doubt the entire medical community!
Truly, I avoid x-rays because I had a lot of them when I was a kid and I'm over the "lifetime limit" for radiation. The last time I got a root canal under IV sedation the tech was trying to get an x-ray and kept missing. I was supposed to be asleep, but after the second attempt I opened my eyes looked straight at the endodontist and said "I'm going to get a brain tumor." I remember him saying "Maybe I should take the next one." before I drifted back in to la la land!
Anyway, I'm with you on the x-rays stink train of thought. I'm really sorry that things have dragged on for so long. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that you finally get some releif!
The whole thing sounds awful having a root canal done on the wrong tooth. I haven't posted in a while as last we communicated I was looking into the gold fillings from my prosthodontist. I was wondering what prompted your dentist to do a root canal on that tooth(the wrong tooth??). What did it's X-ray show. That's how I got roped into getting the 9 air abrasion microfillings -- allegedly the little cavities don't show on the X-rays(my x-rays which I got form a prior dentist before the air abrasion showed solid healthy enamel and dentin as I said before I was HAD big time). It looks like you can't win... THey see one thing on the X-ray and in reality do the opposite of what is actually required. It's scary,
I have heard of dentists missing stuff on X-rays but I'm surprised MAJOR decay didn't show up??!!!! Are you seeing a new dentist/endodontist.
RIght now, I am in dental limbo so to speak not getting anything done. My prosthodontist did a whole model of all my teeth and on the model he shaved some natural teeth and shaved multiple fillings(which were still "too high" and the prior regular dentists didn't see it). My problem was my upper and lower teeth had zero contacts between them in the back(no back teeth support). So about a month ago I had a complete occlusal adjustment done on all my teeth to bring the upper and lower teeth closer together. Unfortunately, it aggravated my jaw/TMJD problems and I decided on getting NO fillings redone or built up. I just have stopped with the dental work for at least 6 months if not longer. THe bad thing with all 9 of the air abrasion fillings was that not only were alot of them "too high" in spots but shaved "too low" in others -- a real nightmare.
My prosthodontist recommended against the gold fillings because they are harder to "fit" into the teeth without the possibility of making them "too high" and getting the jaw/TMJD problems going. I think if I didn't have the jaw problems he could have redone my whole mouth to my satisfaction(as now they still overall are "too short" and upper teeth don't fit into lower in a normal capacity). SO I just live with mutilated teeth that are too short. I am getting use to them and I feel this is better that having them
"made bigger" at the expense of the bad TMJD returning. I still live with jaw discomfort and alot of neck pain but I am doing nothing right now.
In a way I am sick to death of dentists/prosthodontists and need a break from them.
Hope your mutilated teeth calm down eventually. What a shame that your teeth were ruined for nothing.
They root canaled the (wrong) tooth, because that tooth had by far the deepest filling on the x-rays - all the other fillings on that side were superficial, with no decay visible on the x-rays. Spots that looked like decay (on the x-ray) under the deep filling on the tooth that was root canaled were actually another type of filling (a "base" to protect the nerve), so maybe that should have been a question mark. However, before I got the root canal, 2 dentists and one endodontist were convinced that that tooth was causing my pain - no other tooth was ever raised as a possibile source of pain. Now I am scared that my second upper molar, for which I'll get the filling replaced in 3 weeks, is also hiding lots of decay. How is it possible that x-rays don't show MAJOR decay that is threatening the pulp and taking up half of a tooth??? To me that seems very, very worrisome.
I have switched dentists (to a prosthodontist), but I can't afford to see a new endodontist on the tooth that has been root canaled. My endo has been nice, but lots of problems have shown up(aside from the fact that he never figured out the source of my pain - I just asked him last week if my lower molars could possibly be the cause of the pain, but was told the surface decay on those teeth would take years to get to the pulp; yeah right). He missed a fourth canal, and now one canal is filled short. But to do a root canal retreatment with another endo would cost more than $1000, and as is, I am already shelling out more than one month's pay on my teeth - not even counting a possible root canal I may need on my lower molar.
It sounds very strange to me. I wonder if they read the X-rays correctly. I've learned the hard way, it's best to get your x-rays and get a second or third opinion. Did the x-rays come out crystal clear -- sometimes the x-ray machine doesn't take a clear picture. Then of course there is human error. BUt once you get on track with different dentists it gets harder to identify the source of who did what wrong. It sounds very complicated though.
I'm so sorry, Zahn! I can't fathom why the x-rays didn't show the decay. I do know that many dental/tooth problems aren't visable on x-rays: but tooth decay should have been noticed! You poor guy; going through all that torment on the one molar, jst to discover it probably was this other tooth all along! There is a chance you won't need a root canal on this tooth, though. I have had many very deep fillings; and many of them have lasted for years and years. I would try and see if the tooth can be filled before doing a root canal on it. I also have seen dentists work on a tooth, only because that one seemed the most likely culprit causing the problems at the time. But, maybe, once you get this tooth repaired, and this other root canal finally done and repaired okay, you won't be in any pain any longer. It won't make amends for all the suffering you've gone through, but its something anyway to hope for. I would ask the doctors WHY they didn't spot the decay much sooner; find out what their possible explanation is...I'd also like to know that! This sounds like a possible malpractise case to me...someone missed the ball, that's for sure. I've had so many different experiences with different dentists...nothing surprises me anymore. I'm sorry you've had to go through all this suffering and worry, Zahn. It's wierd: the two teeth my Endondtist says I need root canaled have felt fine lately....they feel better than my other teeth do now! I just don't know what to think anymore. I get so much anxiety, just having to get dental work done anymore...I just don't have the faith that they'll be able to "fix" what's really wrong. And WHEN there is a screw up; who suffers: the patient, that's who! Let us know how this all goes for you, Zahn. Hang tough now...Deb47
I've been away and just read this troubling news. You poor thing!! How AWFUL. I'd be a mess of nerves, too, about any other teeth that needed new fillings (or any other work) if this happened to me. It just makes you wonder why you have to go through any of the stuff if X-rays can miss so much.
Hi again, Zahn. I just read a post, from someone on another message board. Here it is:
"I have been having the same problem after a root canal: The endodontist said that tooth was the only candidate for a root canal, 'cause it had by the deepest filling on that side of my mouth. The root canal didn't relieve the pain a bit - if anything the pain got worse. Root canal redone; still pain. The endo wanted to refer me to a neurologist/put me on pain meds. 6 months later, by chance, I got a small filling exchanged on another tooth, same side of my mouth: Half the tooth was decayed, even though NOTHING showed on the x-ray. Guess where all that pain was coming from?! Maybe your pain is referred from other teeth as well? "
So you know, you're not alone in what you're going through! Deb47
Thanks for thinking of me! Funny thing is - I wrote that message ("Zahnschmerzen" isn't my real name ; I am on the web waaay to much. I am sure I am not the first one where x-rays didn't help: I've since read that dentists are moving to x-rays with less exposure for patients (don't know how important that is, as exposure is already tiny, compared to say a chest x-ray), but also with less contrast (digital x-rays are an extreme example, but probably pretty useful for endos).
In any case, the right side (the side with the decayed tooth) is acting up a lot these days - I hope I make it to Sept. 12, when I get the top teeth, including the root canaled one, prepped (hopefully no other bad surprises). I'm pretty sure that tooth is a root canal candidate - no wonder, since it has been hurting for over 6 months! If that decay had been found 6 months ago, maybe I could have avoided all root canals, instead of ending up with 2 on the right side.
How are your teeth and the bridge? BTW, how many root canals have you had? And how long have they lasted without retreatment or apico?
Hi Again, Zahn. Well, I've had several root canals done. I honestly can't remember just how many! When I was young, root cnals never bothered me at all. But things seem different now. Every time I have a procedure done, it takes forever to heal (sometimes lots of complications arise!). I frankly am scared of root canals...but I can't really say that I'd have problems with every root canal. It just is all the luck of the draw. You might have no lingering problems whatsoever with another root canal, or you might have problems. I'd say, in your case, since they finally found the offending tooth, your chances of a sucessful root canal are very good. I hope you don't have complications...there's no way to tell if you will have, beforehand. That's why root canals scare me! When there ARE problems, you go through hell....I know most people seem to get root canals done, and have no future problems with those teeth. I'm due for two root canals, and I'm scared to death! My last root canal still bothers me, months since its been finished. I just don't trust them anymore; but that's just me....good luck, Zahn (I like your online name: though I do shorten it, LOL). Deb47