Dentistry/root canal


Are all these procedures part of a root canal? Pulp vitality tests, treatment of root canal obstruction; non-surgical access?

I visited my dentist in January and went back in March for fillings and was told that tooth 15 was infected and my nerve was dead, I needed a root canal and then a crown. Couldn't see the endodontics dentist  for 11 days, and then they called to cancel the appointment for three weeks. Asked if I could go to another dentist, that would be more time going by with nothing done. Was given no antibiotics. They cleaned my tooth with an antibiotic and put a temporary crown on.
Now I go to the dentist on the 30th for what I'm not really sure. I thought for the root canal.

Good day,
Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, however,I was traveling and was without internet.
As I always state, without a full, complete history, clinical and radiographic exam it is very difficult to state precisely  the best treatment.

Based on my interpretation of your history, it appears the root canal treatment has not been fully completed.
When a tooth, no. 15 , an upper second molar  becomes necrotic, this in indicative of bacteria invading the pulp( the collagenous gel that contains the nerves and
blood vessels within the roots of a tooth).As a result the inside of the tooth is no longer alive.Thus it becomes inflammed and infected.When this occurs there are 2 choices of treatment. Extraction or Root Canal treatment. The object of the Root canal is to treat and retain your tooth.This is done by biologically and mechanically removing all the dead tissue and bacteria within the roots of the tooth. Then after this is accomplished, the roots are hermetically filled and sealed so that the periodontal and bone tissue surrounding the tooth will heal.Thus allowing the treated tooth to be retained and functional.
After the root canal therapy is completed, its critical to restore the tooth with a crown. This is because the tooth needs to be adequately protected and sealed from fracture and  leakage.
From your comments, it sounds like a dentist opened your root canals, began the cleaning process, placed antibiotics? In the tooth and put on a temporary crown. This was done as temporary treatment until the Endodontist(the root canal specialist could take care of your complete root canal treatment). It appears your regular dentist did a standard temporary therapy so you would not develop any further complications before the Endodontist(root canal specialist) saw you.
Normally antibiotics are given when there is true infection in the tissue or swelling. Some practitioners may prescribe them if there is purulent drainage from the bone when the root canals are instrumented. This might be done to lesson the risk of a flare up ( swelling, pain). Prescribing antibiotics varies from patient to patient and the particular status of the tooth in need of endodontic therapy.
Since you are unclear where you stand in the treatment process, I would encourage you to return to your original dentist. Ask if you need to be referred to an Endodontist , a root canal specialist for treatment. If you have already seen an endodontist and you have a question or concern about the treatment regimen, you should call or visit their office to obtain clarification.
Since your history was somewhat unclear, I have done my best to summarize in a fairly extensive way the possibilities. I hope my answer has clarified the situation. Good luck with your future treatment.  


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robert block


I would prefer to answer questions related in my specialty of Endodontics( ROOT CANAL THERAPY) I am a Board Certified Endodontist with a special interest in advanced surgical endodontic procedures. I know root canals create a lot of apprehension in patients, and they usually have many questions about the procedure. I can address patient concerns either before or after their root canal treatment. I also have re-treated numerous patients who have had previous endodontic treatment. As a result of these clinical failures,and the increase in the use of dental implants, its important patients understand the alternatives of therapy. There are often many components to treatment that interrelate the disciplines of endodontics, periodontics and restorative dentistry.Patients frequently question the importance of considering all facets in a clinical regimen. Hopefully, I would be able to educate and contribute some information from the endodontic perspective.


Diplomate American Board of Endodontics, 35 years plus private practice experience. Formerly Professor and Chairman, Department of Endodontics at US dental school. Editorial journal reviewer for the endodontic section of The Journal of American Dental Association. Serve as a reviewer on several editorial boards.

American Association of Endodontists, College of Diplomates, American Board of Endodontics

Over 150 publications, abstracts, case reports, chapters in textbooks. J. Dental Research, J. of Endodontics, J. of Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology,The NEXTDDS J.For example: The Single File Approach for Predictable Endodontic Canal Instrumentation:The Wave One, THE NEXTDDS J. 4-2:13-17 Fall 2014 Non Surgical Management of an Endodontic Failure Utilizing Contemporary Technology, www.THENEXTDDS 5-1:60-63 Spring 2015 Are You Still Using Formocresol? An Update, Tn. Dent. J. 89-4:14-19 Fall 2009 Management of Endodontic Failures, Oral Surg.vol.66:711-Dec.1988

BA. DePauw University, DDS. University of Michigan, MS. Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Gen. Practice Resident, University of Connecticut, Endodontic Resident Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University

Awards and Honors
Numerous Awards and Honors, Edward P. Hatton Award( Int. Assoc. of Dental Research), Endodontic Memorial Research Award ( American Association of Endodontics) Outstanding Endodontic Department Teaching Award (given by dental students)Fellow American Academy of Dental Science

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