I don’t know if I can trust my dentist anymore. Despite taking care of my teeth with twice daily brushing and daily flossing, It seems that he always finds a tooth to watch. Four years ago, my dentist said he was watching a tooth. He said that the tooth was infected at the next visit, and I needed a root canal. But the root canal didn’t save the tooth, so he extracted it and replaced it with an implant.
Early last year, a filling fell out a molar tooth. The dentist said he could not just replace the filling because I needed a root canal. Eventually, I needed an extraction and implant because the root canal failed.
I have asked my dentist about the rapid decline of teeth that he watched, and his answers are so messy that I cannot repeat them. I am getting nervous that if I stay with this dentist, I will be paying for a smile makeover that I don’t want or need! Is it my misunderstanding of what leads to a root canal that causes concern? Or do these events sound suspicious to you, too? I hope other patients are not going through this. Thank you. Neeta
Your concerns are valid. Although Dr. LeSage would need to examine your teeth and x-ray history for an accurate diagnosis, we can offer some insight.
Reasons You May Need Root Canal Treatment
If you need root canal treatment, the cause can be any of these factors:
- Tooth trauma
- Untreated tooth decay
- Decay beneath an old dental filling that infects the tooth pulp
Progressive decay beneath a filling happens more often with amalgam fillings. The decay is easier to spot with newer composite.
How Fast Does a Tooth Decline If Your Dentist Is Watching It?
If your dentist is watching a tooth, it means that they see the beginning signs of decay. It is reasonable for you to expect your dentist to remove the decay before your tooth needs a root canal or extraction. Otherwise, if your dentist saw the decline, he should have treated it rather than watched it.
Why Did Your Dental Fillings Fall Out?
A dental filling may fall out due to poor technique to secure it. Or the filling might be old and not well-maintained. Still, if a filling falls out and the tooth needs root canal treatment, your dentist should have noticed its decline if you get route exams.
If you are thinking about getting a refund, you will have to prove that your dentist was negligent. Unless you have photos and progressive x-rays that show the problem, your dentist probably will not be willing to refund you. If you are determined to get a refund, you can tell your dentist that you will report the issue to the state dental board. But that might not prompt him to refund you.
Look for an Accredited Cosmetic Dentist
But look for another dentist. We recommend an accredited cosmetic dentist because they have a proven competence record and successful patient cases to earn accreditation. Otherwise, schedule a consultation with a dentist who has advanced cosmetic and implant training. The dentist will conduct an exam, review your x-rays, and take more if needed. They will not recommend unnecessary dental work or make you feel like you are getting smile makeover that you did not request.
Dr. Brian LeSage, a Beverly Hills accredited Fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry, sponsors this post.