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Root Canals

Surprise root canal and possible extraction



Hi there,

Sorry, this is a bit long . . .

I recently moved to a different state, and went to a new dentist for a routine check up this week. He said I had a cavity in my #14 molar (this tooth already had a filling in it). As he was drilling to fix the new cavity, the tooth started bleeding. After checking the x-ray he informed me that I needed a root canal because the tooth had decayed underneath the original filling.

The dentist went ahead and did the root canal right then. I went back the next day to have the post put in and get a temporary crown. He ended up not being able to do those procedures, because the tooth started bleeding again when he went back in.

He packed it with medicine and said to come back in a week. He said he thinks there may be a fracture, and that the tooth might have to be pulled.

I suppose my question is, does all of this sound normal? I can`t understand how a patient can go in to have a simple cavity filled and end up needing to have the tooth pulled?

I take good care of my teeth--my last cleaning was a year ago (with no problems!) and I`ve gone twice a year, every year otherwise.

Any advice would be much appreciated, as I`m pretty bummed about this and don`t really know who else to ask. Thanks very much!


It is possible to have decay under a filling and the nerve could be exposed while removing the decay, necessitating a root canal. As far as continued bleeding and a fracture, I can not comment on that without being able to evaluate you myself.

My main advice would be to seek an evaluation by an endodontist before you have the tooth pulled! An endodontist could evaluate why there is still bleeding and what the appropriate next step would be.

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Response by:

Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS Melissa McCartney Drum, DDS, MS
Assistant Professor of Endodontics
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University