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Root Canals

Accident leads to root canal??

08/14/2006

Question:

My dentist told me that there was a small chip in one of my cavities and that it needed to be replaced. When the procedure was finished, he said that there was decay under the filling and that when he went to clean it away, he drilled through and now I need a root canal. Did this dentist make a mistake that I now have to pay for? I had just had x-rays- why didn`t he mention that there was decay under the filling before he started???

Answer:

I cannot tell you if your dentist made a mistake. Unfortunately decay can hide under fillings, and it is not always detectable with radiographs (x-rays), especially when there are large amalgam (silver) fillings or crowns present. Often the extent of damage is worse than an x-ray will show.

Radiographs are invaluable diagnostic tools, but they have their limits. One needs to remember that a radiograph is a 2-dimensional picture of a 3-dimensional object.

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Response by:

John M Nusstein, DDS John M Nusstein, DDS
Associate Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University