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Root Canals

My Unfinished Root Canal



About 2 years ago, I went in to a dentist to have a root canal performed on a bottom right molar. They cleaned the tooth out and stuffed it with what I believe is called gutta percha. It was then to sit until my scheduled appointment for the crown to be put on. My insurance was cancelled well before my scheduled appointment for the crowning, so I had to cancel the appointment. All was fine with this tooth until about 3 months ago when the first piece of it broke off while I was eating. The tooth causes no pain at all except for what feels like slight irritation in the gums underneath it. About half of this tooth is still left. It is turning black underneath what is left of the gutta percha put in is so long ago. I am fearfull of allowing the gutta percha to come completely out of the tooth due to possible infection or whatever else could occur. It would seem logical, to me, to have this tooth pulled now that only half of it remains. I really had no particular question. I am only trying to find good advice from someone who knows what they are talking about, such as a dentist/endodontist. Any advice will help me greatly. Thank you very much for your time and help.


You should see your care provider to decide whether there is enough tooth structure left to save the tooth.  He/She will also have to determine if the root canal needs to be redone to save the tooth.  I cannot give an opinion on the matter without doing a clinical evaluation.  I think you would be best served to have an evaluation where all treatment options, risks, benefits, and costs can be provided.

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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