A week ago, I answered a question from a woman named Cortney who had a sensitive tooth, was pregnant, and her dentist, who had originally told her that the tooth had only a small cavity which he then filled, now told her that she needed a root canal treatment. I heard back from Cortney with a follow-up question.
Click here to read the original post, “It was a small cavity, now he says I need a root canal!”
Here’s the new question:
Thank you Dr Hall. That was very helpful 🙂 I will “like” you on facebook. I totally agree with your assessment of this dentist. Lastly, how will I know if the tooth has become infected and not just cold/air sensitive? Will I have fever/swelling to the area? Can they tell only on xray? Just want to make sure that if I wait, unknown infection won’t spread to my unborn child. Thank you so much!
– Cortney from Maryland
You won’t have to worry about any infection spreading if it is cold and/or air sensitive. The sensitivity indicates that the tooth is still alive, and thus any infection that there may be would be slight and thus confined to the tooth.
There are ways to tell if a tooth will recover from sensitivity or not. If the sensitivity is gradually getting better or staying the same, that is a good sign. If the sensitivity is such that the tooth hurts only while it is cold and as soon as the tooth warms up it feels better, that’s a good sign. If the pain lingers for, say, 30 seconds after a cold stimulus or air, that’s a bad sign and indicates that the sensitivity is irreversible. If the tooth gets so that it begins to hurt without any cold or air stimulus, in other words the sensitivity is spontaneous, that’s also an indication that the tooth will probably not get better, and that would be the point where you would say that it needs a root canal treatment.
Congratulations on your pregnancy, and good luck,
Read Cortney’s thank you.
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About David A. Hall
Dr. David A. 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 advanced internet marketing for dentists.
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