I have a front tooth that my dentist says is infected. He wants to do a root canal treatment and put a crown on the tooth. I don’t really want to have a crown placed on a front tooth. I had one done on a nearby tooth and you can tell it is fake. If the tooth doesn’t hurt is it really necessary? My dentist keeps saying it will be dangerous not to treat it. Is he over-reacting?
So, there are two issues here. One is the infection. That has to be treated. To answer your question, yes, tooth infections are dangerous. They are considered dental emergencies because until the infected tissue is removed the infection will continue to spread. This means it can reach your heart, brain, or lungs; all of which are close to your mouth. Even in the 21st century, people die from untreated tooth infections.
I would get the root canal treatment. The other issue is the appearance of the tooth. If this dentist previously created a crown for you that looked fake, you already have the experience to know he isn’t a skilled cosmetic dentist. This is a totally separate issue. You could have the root canal done with one dentist and the restoration with another or you can find a skilled cosmetic dentist who can do both.
There is an argument for finding one who can do both because there are some steps that can be taken during the root canal treatment itself that will help prevent darkening of the tooth. Your current dentist may not be aware of those steps. If you’d like to stay with this dentist I can tell you some things that you can pass on to him.
Preserving Front Teeth After a Root Canal Treatment
Most of the darkening of a tooth comes from the root canal material itself. I would ask your dentist to clean all of that out of the crown of your tooth. Then, place a white fiberglass post in and fill the remainder of the crown with white composite material. These steps can help forestall darkening for quite some time.
Next let’s talk about the restoration. You will want an AACD accredited dentist to work on that aspect. Matching a front tooth is much more challenging than any other tooth because of the direct way that light will hit it. Plus, they are the first things people will notice about your smile. AACD accredited dentists have proven skill and artistry. They’ll be able to match your front tooth perfectly to its adjacent teeth. No one will be able to tell the difference.
While a dental crown is what dentists are taught to place on a tooth after a root canal, the twisting forces your front teeth endure make porcelain veneers a better restoration. A crown will weaken that tooth further and it could snap at the gumline. I would talk to whichever dentist you end up with about getting a veneer instead.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Fred Arnold.