Tag Archives: root canal treatment

Did Coconut Oil Damage My Tooth?

I have had a small amount of decay on my tooth. I prefer natural medicine and a friend told me if I used coconut oil it would heal my cavity. I’ve been using the coconut oil for 3 weeks and now my tooth is hurting something fierce. Did the coconut oil damage my tooth?

Caroline

Dear Caroline,

Woman grabbing her jaw from pain.

The coconut oil didn’t harm your tooth, but it didn’t help it either. I haven’t examined you, so this is just going on an understanding of basic dental and tooth function, but I suspect your decay went deep instead of wide and now you have a tooth infection.

Unfortunately, this is going to take more work than if you had just gone to the dentist when the decay first appeared. I realize you were doing your best to take care of your oral health based on the information your friend gave you, but that information is false.

At this point, we don’t have anything that can heal a tooth, especially something as simple as using coconut oil. If we did, we’d certainly market it. Think of how many more people would come to the dentist’s office if it meant healing their tooth instead of filling it.

To date, the only way we have of dealing with decay is to physically remove the decay. That is done with a filling, a root canal treatment, or an extraction.

Where do you go from here?

Any time there is tooth pain, it is considered a dental emergency. You don’t want to chance leaving an infection to spread. That can be very dangerous because of how close your heart, lungs, and brain are to your jaw. It is much safer to deal with it right away.

Because you prefer natural medicine, I am going to suggest you see a mercury-free dentist. This way, if you need a filling at all, it will be a composite filling, instead of an amalgam filling which is loaded with mercury.

It is always better to nip these things in the bud instead of letting it develop too far.

Best of luck to you. I’m sorry this happened. I’m sure you are very careful with your teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Can I Get a Refund from this Dentist?

I had a cracked tooth that received a crown. It has been sensitive since then. I can’t eat where that crown is because it hurts to bite down. I called my dentist a week after and he said that some people take longer for the sensitivity to calm down. Three months later and I needed to go in for another dental crown. I begged them to fix the crown from the first tooth while they were there but they just blew me off. They told me it probably just needs to be adjusted and to schedule a follow-up visit for that. Then, the pandemic hit so they canceled my appointment. I went back today and they told me that the tooth needs to be extracted. I feel like this wouldn’t have happened with timely treatment. I wanted a refund for the original crown if I’m going to lose the tooth anyway. They’re saying the tooth being infected isn’t their fault So, not only am I not getting a refund, but now they’re talking about me having to get a dental implant to replace the tooth. Is there anything I can do about this?

Miranda

Dear Miranda,

Woman grabbing her jaw from pain.

You’ve been put through the wringer with this dentist. I’m sorry. It is obvious to me this dentist doesn’t care about your best interest. While it is not uncommon for a tooth to have some sensitivity, the type of sensitivity you described isn’t normal. If there was sensitivity to temperature, I’d have suggested a little time. However, you talked about pain when you tried to chew. That is something completely different.

A well-made dental crown is not noticeable at all. So, either the crown was seated too high and needed adjusting or there was an underlyting infection that was missed. It’s possible, if there was an infection, that it was hard to see.

One thing I don’t understand is them saying the tooth must now be extracted. Have they tried a root canal treatment? My suggestion is to get a second opinion.

When you do, make sure it is a blind second opinion. By that I mean , don’t tell the second opinion dentist who did your work or what they’re recommending. Instead, just tell him the symptoms and let him give you his unbiased recommendation.

I am especially curious as to whether you really need this tooth extracted. You said there is an infected tooth. Normally, the treatment for that is a root canal treatment.

I wish your dentist would take the crown that is giving you pain more seriously. When your bite is off for an extended period of time, It could lead to TMJ Disorder. Regardless of how this turns out, I think you need to find a new dentist. One who cares about his patients.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Randall Burba.

Porcelain Veneers While Pregnant

I didn’t realize I was pregnant when I had my porcelain veneers done. I just found out today. Now I’m worried I did something that could have harmed my baby. Any experience with this?

Karen

Dear Karen,

A single porcelain veneer being placed

Generally, when someone is pregnant, we suggest only doing dental work during the second trimester, when the mother is most comfortable. This is because in the first trimester we want to avoid any harmful chemicals to the baby and the poor sweet mama is usually very sick during that time with hormones in constant flux.

In the third trimester, the mother usually finds it difficult to stay comfortable and sitting for long periods of time isn’t easy.

Porcelain Veneers and Safety to Babies

The only medication introduced during the porcelain veneers process is lidocaine. This is a local anesthetic. It will put your mind at ease to know it has been used many times during pregnancy and even during labor. There have never been any adverse effects on either mother or child.

The Exception to the Rule

While we generally tell pregnant women to schedule any dental care in their second trimester, the exception to that is when you have a tooth infection. This is considered urgent dental care.

If you don’t get treated, you will be carrying harmful bacteria which not only will make you feel worse, but can transfer to your child. Additionally, a dental infection will continue to spread until a dentist physically removes the infected pulp. That is done with either a root canal treatment or a tooth extraction.

You don’t want to allow the infection to spread. Your jaw is quite close to your heart, lungs, and brain. If it spreads to one of those, it can become life-threatening quickly. Your dentist will know how to take appropriate precautions for you and baby during any necessary treatment.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba

Root Canal or Dental Bonding

I went to an endodontist for what I thought was a dental emergency. My tooth is darker. He said the tooth is still viable and likely doesn’t have to a root canal treatment. In that case, I think I could just get dental bonding done to make it look better. My endodontist said I’d have to get several teeth bonded for it to match. I’m not sure I want to do that if I will need a root canal in the near future. What do you think?

Trisha

Dear Trisha,

Illustration of an abscessed tooth

If he’s telling you the tooth is viable and saying you don’t “have to” have a root canal treatment, then you don’t have a tooth infection and don’t require a root canal. You either need one or you don’t. Saying you don’t have to have one is misleading. My guess is you have a cracked tooth. Doing a root canal treatment won’t help that.

If you want to treat the color, dental bonding or a porcelain veneer can do that. As to your dentist’s suggestion that you’d have to have several teeth done in order for them to match, that is only true if you go to an inexperienced cosmetic dentist. An expert cosmetic dentist can match a single tooth.

Finding that Expert Cosmetic Dentist

Very few dentists are skilled in cosmetic dentistry. The best have reached accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. To reach that level, they have to pass stringent exams as well provide visual evidence of their artistry in a large number of cases they’ve completed.

If I needed cosmetic work done on a visible tooth, I would go to an AACD accredited dentist. You are assured a beautiful result.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Adult tooth knocked loose

Is there anything which can be done about an adult tooth which is loose? I had an accident and dropped a hammer on my mouth. I thought everything was fine except for a fat lip, but this morning I can swear the front tooth feels loose. I thought I was imagining it at first, but now I’m pretty sure. It’s wiggling. Is this a lost cause or can it be saved?

Lizzie

Dear Lizzie,

Woman holding her jaw in pain from TMJ

Before I go over anything else, I’m going to encourage you to stop wiggling the tooth no matter how tempting it is to check. There are ligaments on your tooth which help keep them secure. Often when there is some trauma to the tooth those ligaments get stretched. However, if you keep wiggling it, the ligaments could snap, putting your teeth at greater risk.

Now that I’ve warned you about the wiggling, I can have some sympathy. Ouch! I can’t imaging how much it hurt to drop a hammer on your mouth.

It’s possible the tooth can be saved, but this is considered a dental emergency and you need to see your dentist right away. If you don’t have one, do an internet search for an emergency dentist. They are simply general dentists who are willing to see non-established patients quickly in situations such as yours.

Saving Loose Adult Teeth

The dentist will examine and do x-rays of the tooth. The x-rays are to establish whether there’s been any internal damage to the tooth. If there has, you’ll need a root canal treatment and possibly a dental crown.

If there hasn’t, and it’s just a matter of the ligaments being stretched, your dentist will stabilize the tooth with some type of splint to keep it secure while the ligaments heal.

Don’t put this off. Get it looked at quickly so you don’t risk loosing the tooth.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

When Is a Gum Problem a Dental Emergency?

My husband has an ache in his mouth. He swears he just nicked it with his fork, but to me, it looks like a pimple. That seems a strange way for a cut to manifest. I think it’s something serious and he thinks I’m over-reacting. Have you seen this before?

Amanda

Dear Amanda,

Illustration of an abscessed tooth

Your husband is going to hate to hear this, but you’re correct. This isn’t from a cut. A pimple on the gums sounds like his tooth is abscessed. This means he had a cavity that went deep enough to affect the pulp of his tooth, turning into an infection.

I’ve got an illustration of this above, When the infection no longer has anywhere to go, it tends to spill out into your gums and form a pimple.

Unlike your typical bacterial infection, with a dental infection, an antibiotic isn’t enough. A dentist has to get in there and physically remove the infected pulp. This is known as a root canal treatment. Often, a crown has to be placed as well because the tooth will become brittle and need to be protected.

An Abscessed Tooth is a Dental Emergency

An active dental infection is considered a dental emergency. These infections can spread quickly. Believe it or not, in 2018 we still have people dying from tooth infections because they put off seeing the dentist.

The reason for that is how quickly they can turn life-threatening. Think about how close his jaw is to both heart and brain. When an infection reaches those areas, things spiral downward rather quickly. Last year, a father of three young children passed away because he was planning on going to the dentist and was delayed. It spread suddenly and they couldn’t save him.

I’m saying this so your husband knows to take it seriously. If he happens to be one of many patients who have some dental anxiety and tend to avoid regular dental care, let him know there are dentists who cater to fearful patients giving them a pain-free appointment.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Dental Double Cross

I’ve kind of had it. I had a dental crown placed on a back tooth. It didn’t feel right from the beginning. The dentist adjusted it, then it fell out. He put it back. It felt worse. He adjusted it again, but nothing got better. He told me I’m just not used to crowns and I’d become accustomed to it. I was frustrated, but what could I do? Now, a piece of it broke off at dinner. I’d had it with the dentist that placed it. Instead, I went to see an emergency dentist. All I needed him to do is reattach the broken piece, but he’s insisting the entire crown needs to be re-done. Now, I have to pay for an entirely new crown. Can’t he just fix it? I’m willing to live with the pain at this point. I just need a dentist who’s not going to do a double cross.

Karen

Dear Karen,

A Dental Crown being Placed

I don’t blame you for your frustration. It doesn’t sound like your dentist has done his job. Nor does it sound like he’s shown any interest in the fact you’re in pain. I have to say, in most cases the “You’ll get used to it line…” is code for I don’t know what I’m doing or how to make it right.

As for the emergency dentist, I don’t think he was trying to cheat you. It’s very likely that the crown broke in a way where a true repair is impossible.

What Caused Your Emergency Dental Visit

There are a couple of things which can cause pain on biting with a crown. The first is a lingering infection. I don’t know if your crown was due to large decay or a root canal treatment. If it was a root canal for an infection, it’s possible there is still an infection there causing pain. There are canals in the tooth which can be quite adept at hiding. It’s possible your dentist missed one.

The second thing which can cause pain is when a crown is seated too high. I tend to lean toward this because of the fact that it broke when you bit down. Generally, our biting force, which is quite substantial, is spread out as our teeth meet together. However, if a crown is seated too high it absorbs all the force. This could lead to it breaking.

Crowns on molars are a little trickier because you have to factor in the occlusion with the other teeth. It’s very likely your dentist could do a fine crown on other teeth, but a molar is a bit beyond his skill set. The fact that his bonding didn’t hold makes me question his skill set already. But, occlusion requires the kind of extra training you would see with dentists who take an interest in treating TMJ Disorder.

Your Options

Option One: You could ask your original dentist to make you a new crown (free of charge). His didn’t meet even the minimum standard of longevity. I don’t know that you’ll get any better results the second time with him, but you’re certainly able to try.

Option Two: You could ask for a refund and allow the emergency dentist to make a new crown for you. The refund would keep you from having to pay for two crowns and you may have better luck with this dentist.

Option Three: As it didn’t sound like you were thrilled with either dentist, you could take the refund and find a completely different dentist altogether.

I hate that you’re having to go through all of this trouble for a crown.

This blog is brought to you by Salem, MA Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Is a Gray Tooth a Dental Emergency?

I have a tooth that’s turning gray. I’ve tried whitening it but it didn’t help. I wondering if something serious is wrong. Is this like a dental emergency? What if I don’t have a regular dentist?

Carrie

Dear Carrie,

Woman giving thumbs up in a dental chair

A gray tooth is usually a sign that the tooth is dead or dying. Is there a chance that you’ve had some recent trauma to your mouth? That would explain the tooth. You do need to see a dentist soon. You’re going to need a root canal treatment and porcelain crown.

If you don’t have a regular dentist, that’s okay. There are emergency dentists. That’s not a specialty. It just means that they’re regular dentists that are willing to see non-established patients in the case of an emergency. This would be what you need. They’ll take x-rays and get a good look at the damage and go from there.

How Not to Need an Emergency Dentist

Trauma can’t always be avoided unless you’re someone who likes to hang out in front of a ball machine. That’s not recommended.

But, certain things, like tooth infections, can almost always be avoided. The key is regular check-ups. There are usually two reasons people avoid going to the dentist regularly. The first is financial. They don’t have dental insurance so they feel they can’t afford it. Most dentists are willing to let you pay out your treatment. You just need to talk to your dentist ahead of time.

The second is fear of the dentist. Most dental anxieties start in childhood. Some dentists enjoy helping patients with anxiety. Dr. Burba realized that with patients, their fear stemmed from the shot. That’s why he invested time learning how to give pain-free shots. In fact, most of his patients don’t even realize he’s administered the shot at all.

Planning Ahead with Dental Crowns

Like your gray tooth. porcelain crowns will not whiten, even with professional teeth whitening. That’s why it’s important to get them the color you’d like them to be when they’re placed. Your dentist can create them to any whiteness you desire. But, you’ll want your natural teeth to match, so make sure you whiten your teeth before the final color of your crown is decided.

This blog is brought to you by AACD accredited dentist Dr. Randall Burba.

Will an Emergency Dentist Charge the Cause of the Accident?

I was at a stag party. We were at a pub when one of the group got a little too drunk. He started trouble which ended up causing a fight. The result of which was my front tooth lost a piece and is now loose. I’m assuming I need an emergency dentist, but I’m broke. Will the dentist charge the fee to the moron who started all this?

Casey C.

Dear Casey,

A chipped tooth in need of an emergency dentist
Tooth trauma requires an emergency dental visit

I’m very sorry this happened to you. It’s hard when you’re trying to be responsible and the people around you cause problems. You’re right that this needs an emergency dentist. Your loose tooth needs to be splinted to stabilize it. There are several ways a dentist can do this. What method he or she uses will depend on what other issues your tooth is facing.

He’ll also want to examine it for trauma to the nerves or pulp. Internal damage could mean a root canal treatment and possible crown.

Once the tooth is secure, if there’s no other damage you can fix the broken piece with dental bonding. You don’t have to have the piece that broke. A skilled cosmetic dentist can sculpt a composite resin onto your tooth which will look just like your natural tooth structure and blend in perfectly.

Who Pays for Emergency Dental Care?

Unless the person responsible comes and agrees to pay for treatment, the dentist can’t bill him. He can only bill the person receiving the services or their legal guardian without prior approval. However, you can ask for a detailed bill of the damage and send the bill to the offender. If he has integrity he may just pay. If he doesn’t, you may have to take him to small claims court.

Just be aware, many dentists are willing to work with patients financially, especially those in emergency situations. Just talk to the dentist ahead of time. If he’s not willing to work with you, try Care Credit, though most dentists offer that in-office. It’s a medical credit card that has low and even no-interest payments.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.

Which One of Us Did the Emergency Dentist Give the Wrong Treatment?

Something doesn’t seem quite kosher in a recent experience my husband and I had with an emergency dentist. We both had similar symptoms on different days, but received vastly different treatment. I had a toothache that would flare up every now and again. It was tolerable and I was busy so I just went on with things, while keeping a gauge on it. Eventually, I had some time and went to an emergency dentist. I was surprised to hear I needed a root canal treatment and crown. I went ahead and got them because he was the dentist and I was in pain. A few weeks later, my husband mentions his tooth hurts. I warned him to go in right away so he wouldn’t end up needing a root canal treatment, but like me, he’s stubborn. He waited for several weeks until it blew up and the pain was more than he was willing to put up with. But, when he saw the same emergency dentist, he just got a filling. The way I see it, either I was cheated and given a treatment I didn’t really need or he wasn’t properly cared for. Which do you think I should be worried about?

Aleiya M.

Dear Aleiya,

A man in pain needs to see a Salem Emergency Dentist

What to Expect From Your Emergency Dentist

There are a couple of issues going on here. The first is that this emergency dentist didn’t explain why you needed those procedures to either you or your husband. It’s unfair for a dentist to allow you to get a procedure without first explaining why it’s necessary and takes the time to answer any questions you may have.

I haven’t examined either of you but can give you a general idea of why some patients need a root canal treatment and some don’t, even with the same symptoms. A root canal treatment can be done for a number of reasons. Some of those include having an infected tooth, a cracked tooth, or even a cavity where the decay has reached the pulp of your tooth or gotten too close to the nerves in your tooth. The crown can be necessary if the tooth has died or if a cavity is so large it would weaken the tooth too much to do a simple filling.

It’s possible you had a cavity which was so large it reached the pulp requiring a root canal treatment and a crown. Your husband’s decay may have spread much slower causing him to only need a simple filling. Again, I’m sorry your dentist didn’t explain to either of you why you needed the procedures.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

Another item that occurs to me is both of you needed to go to an emergency dentist. That often indicates you’re either new to the area and haven’t found a permanent dentist yet, or you have enough dental anxiety that you avoid getting regular dental care and only go in on an as-needed basis.

If you’re among the latter, let me assure you that there are dentists who cater to anxious patients. Working to put you at ease and give you a stress-free, pain-free dental appointment. I know getting regular care can be nerve-racking, but often just one or two appointments a year can not only prevent your cavities from spreading so far that the more intrusive procedures such as root canal treatment are not needed, but they can even prevent cavities altogether.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Randall Burba.