Root Canals will alleviate pain from the affected teeth. However, when root canals are not done properly problems may not be evident until much later. This patient described the symptom as "some discomfort around my old crown".
Thorough clinical exam and xray revealed a fractured root where a large post was placed in the canal. The root canal and crown were done many years ago. Root canal treated teeth have a higher chance of root fracture. Although the patient had no pain after the treatment, the failed root canal and post placement sustained a low grade infection around the root area. Where there are infections, bacteria slowly cause the jaw bone to break down.
In areas where the bone is extremely dense, the patient may not have any symptom until too much bone have been lost. In the xray below we can see the outline of the extent of the bone loss. What you cannot see when looking at the area inside the mouth is an entire wall of bone that has been destroyed. That wall of bone used to exist between the root and the gum tissue on the out side.
So why is this discussion important in treating these kinds of problems?
If we simply extract this tooth, the bone loss area will collapse. After the area has healed, any subsequent grafting procedures and treatment planning for dental implant in the area may become extremely difficult to carry out.
If your treatment preference is to replace this tooth with a dental implant, it is crucial that you consult with the right clinician to properly treatment plan the situation. Carrying out the treatment with proper advanced planning will minimize further complications to the area.
Alex Nguyen, DDS is a Saratoga Dentist who practices General Dentistry, Cosmetic, and Implant Dentistry. For over 20 years the practice has been serving the residents of Santa Clara County and San Francisco Bay Area.