My dentist gave me a diagnosis of a cavity within my right lateral incisor (#7) and a recommendation for a root canal. This surprised me for several reasons. X-rays from my previous dentist last year didn’t indicate any issues with this tooth. The tooth looks normal and has never had any dental work done, including no visible surface cavities. The tooth protrudes slightly at an angle in the front of my mouth, but it doesn’t hurt. Could I have an internal cavity without any outward signs? I haven’t found any clear information online addressing this specific scenario. My dentist referred me to a root canal specialist who shares the same uncommon last name as her I am concerned that I may not need a root canal after all. Thanks. Jerrie
We understand your concern and have a few suggestions and possibilities.
- Don’t feel obligated to visit the recommended specialist. A second opinion is crucial with a potential conflict of interest and uncertainty about the diagnosis. Consider another specialist or even a general dentist for a fresh perspective.
- Decay always starts on the surface and burrows inwards. Reaching the pulp triggers infection, necessitating a root canal.
- Your dentist might be using different terms for a rarer issue called internal resorption when the tooth’s pulp breaks it down from the inside. While the reason for internal resorption remains a mystery, irritation may spark it.
- Seek a consultation with a different endodontist for a blind second opinion. This unbiased assessment may give you confidence in the diagnosis or help you understand how to
Don’t hesitate to ask questions and express your concerns with the specialist until you fully understand the situation and your options. If you need root canal therapy, don’t delay. The procedure can save your tooth, preventing the need for an extraction and dental implant.
Atlanta periodontist Dr. David Pumphrey sponsors this post.