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Dentistry/Silver point removal problem

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Question
An abscess has developed on one of the silver points on a root canal from 30+ years ago.  Today the endodontist was able to remove about 2/3 of the point saying the rest is too badly corroded to extract.  He wants to surgically remove the rest of the root.  The procedure today took about 1/1/2 hours.

I am concerned.  Is this a common problem and is this a reasonable solution?  What kind of success rate might I have in saving this tooth?  (It seems in good shape otherwise)  Should I seek another opinion?

I have almost no discomfort.

Thank you so much for offering an opinion.

Answer
Hi Cindy,

I'm sorry this is all going on. Silver point root canals can present problems that's for sure. They were state of the art in their time but we just don't do them anymore. Since you have an abscess that has formed, it is really important to get the root canal sealed and not being able to remove all of the silver point seriously compromises your endodontist's ability to accomplish that. While not common, it does happen, obviously. Dealing with the problem surgically has a lower success rate that conservative retreatment, but it doesn't sound to me like you have any other options except to have the tooth extracted or leave an untreated abscess....neither of those are very good options. In situations like this, it never hurts to get a 2nd opinion, but that 2nd opinion will most likely want to try to get the rest of the silver point out as a 1st choice and maybe someone else can do it or it could just be a waste of money. I really can't help there since I can't see your x-rays.

Hope this helps some anyway.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

Dentistry

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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD

Expertise

I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.

Experience

25 years practicing as a specialist

Organizations
American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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