Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

December 12, 2007

A broken file in a root canal tooth

Filed under: Root canals — Tags: , , — mesasmiles @ 3:17 pm

Dr. Hall,
My dentist performed a root canal today and informed me that a tip of one of the metal instruments broke off in the canal. (I actually heard it and thought my tooth had broke!) He informed me that he was not going to try to fish it out. Since it was ‘sterile’ he was just going to leave it in the canal and put the post and cap on.

Is this what he should be doing? Or will it hurt me in the long run? This doctor has become notorious for not taking a lot of time with patients and overcharging, so I am nervous.

Thanks in advance for your help.
– Connie in New Jersey

These metal files can break off easily, and that happens to a lot of dentists.

The tooth may or may not have problems later. It could end up needing re-treatment for the root canal treatment. You didn’t say which tooth this is, so I can’t tell you exactly what to do–I’ll have to just give you some guidelines. If the dental post is to be in the same canal as the broken instrument, I’d advise you not to let him put the post in the tooth. Putting the post in could make it impossible to get back into that canal in case the tooth needs to be re-treated later.

But then the post may be needed to help hold the crown on. If that’s the case, you may ask him to refer you to an endodontist (root canal specialist), who will have special equipment to be able to retrieve the broken instrument and fill the root canal. Meanwhile you could wear a temporary crown on this tooth or a temporary filling.
– Dr. Hall

Related information:
Failed root canal treatment
Root canal surgery
Dead tooth

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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