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Cracked Molar
My dentist says that I have a cracked molar.   The tooth hurts when I chew on certain foods, but the pain dissipates immediately.  The tooth is sensitive to hot and cold, but the pain goes away immediately.  
Question:  My dentist suggests that I have a crown placed on the tooth.  Even though the tooth has a deep mercury filling, he believes that he could refill the tooth and it would most likely not need a root canal.   He says that only if the tooth hurts after placing a temporary crown would a root canal be necessary.  My concern is that I have several crowns already, and everyone was preceded by a root canal.   If my dentist succeeds in refilling the tooth and fitting a permanent crown, is it likely that the tooth would need a root canal in the future?  If so, the new crown would have to be removed at additional cost.  Would it be best for me to have a root canal first, before getting a crown? I appreciate your expertise.

James this is an excellent question thanks for asking it and I hope others will read what you have asked me.  The dentist you have is pretty much right on the money with what you were told.  It is not uncommon to crown a tooth with a crack but there is no way to predict if the root canal will be needed or not.  Often just crowning the tooth takes care of the situation.  In the event that the tooth needs a root canal in the future, which it might, then either the crown can be removed, the tooth have the root canal and then recement the crown.  If they cannot remove the crown safely then it is possible to put a small hole in the chewing surface of the crown and do the root canal through that and then seal the hole with a silver filling.  That doesn't hurt the crown and keeps the tooth intact.  If I can be of more assistance, please let me know.

Dr. Karmen


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Thomas Karmen


All general dentistry questions, especially those related to fixed prosthetics. Endodontics, Periodontics, and implants, minor oral surgery I can't answer much about othodontics nor advanced treatment of carcinoma nor deep tissue surgery nor osseous surgery such as jaw reduction or advancement.


DDS In general practice and consulting with having done some lecturing for local dental societies.

ADA and Florida Dental Association and Iowa Dental association

DDS degree

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