I am in a pickle and not sure what to do. I had some trauma to a tooth about five years ago. The tooth is beginning to turn dark, though there is still feeling in the tooth and it is considered viable. At the moment, the dentist is saying that a root canal treatment is optional, but there is a faint, possible horizontal fracture. I have a choice between doing the root canal or cosmetics. What is the way for me to proceed?
I am puzzled by his statement that a root canal treatment is optional at this point. Either it is needed or it isn’t. Is the tooth infected? Then you need a root canal treatment. If the tooth isn’t infected, then you will not need it. Simple. Your dentist leaving you wondering gives me pause that you may need a different dentist.
About this possible horizontal fracture. If that is true, then a root canal would be problematic, as it could cause leaking. I would really like you to get a second opinion on this whole situation. I haven’t examined you or seen x-rays so it would be hard for me to do that for you.
A tooth can turn dark simply from trauma to the mouth, which you have experienced. The treatment for that, if the tooth is otherwise fine, is to do cosmetics. However, be careful who you get to do this. Cosmetic dentistry is not a recognized specialty, nor is it taught in dental school. You will want to seek out a dentist who invested a lot of time in post-doctoral training in cosmetic procedures.
The two cosmetic options in your case would be either dental bonding or a porcelain veneer. A veneer is more expensive, but will last longer. Before making a final decision, get that second opinion to know whether or not your tooth is actually fractured and if there is an infection.
This blog is brought to you by Atlanta Periodontist Dr. David Pumphrey.