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Dentist Can’t See Any Canals in My Tooth and Wants to Extract It

Posted by AllSmiles

I have an upper right molar tooth with a cap on it. At my six-month dental appointment, my dentist said she didn’t see any canals in the tooth and that without the canal, she would need to extract the tooth because he couldn’t do a root canal. Although I’ve taken antibiotics, the tooth is still uncomfortable. I’ve researched the issue and found information on root calcification. Could this be why my dentist can’t see the canals in my tooth? Is extraction needed? – Thanks. Bethany from Syracuse, NY


Antibiotics alone will not remove a tooth infection, so we are unsure about your dentist’s diagnosis. If your tooth has been painful, it would likely need root canal treatment. After you stop taking antibiotics, the pain will recur because your dentist has not addressed the source of the tooth infection.

Diagram of root canal therapy for a comparsion of root canal and extraction with a dental implant
Root canal treatment

Your dentist’s inability to see canals in the tooth doesn’t mean canals don’t exist. The bone around upper molar teeth can make it challenging to see canals.

If you want to know if the tooth is savable, get a second opinion from an endodontist (root canal specialist). Also, you can ask your dentist to refer you to an endodontist. You may prefer a specialist not affiliated with your dentist to get an independent opinion of your tooth’s condition.

What is Canal Calcification?

Canal calcification is a process that occurs with age, causing a tooth’s canals to shrink. If a tooth is irritated, a buildup of dentin in the pulp chamber and canals will narrow or block the canals, making them more challenging to find on an X-ray. Narrow canals can also make root canal treatment more challenging. An endodontist’s experience and specialized tools that navigate calcified canals can benefit you.

See an endodontist before agreeing to an extraction, which requires some form of tooth replacement, such as a bridge or dental implant.

Rocky Hill, Connecticut, cosmetic dentist Dr. Thaddeus Michalski sponsors this post. Read how he strives to provide patients with some of the best dental care in Rocky Hill.