I got a full-mouth reconstruction with all-porcelain crowns a few years ago. I decided to do it because I was told there were would not be any negative side effects. However, after my intense smile makeover, a few of the crowns on my upper teeth started hurting. I went in several times for adjustments, but once the pain went away, an abscess had formed. After an X-ray, I was told I needed root canals due to nerve damage. Nerve damage sounds like a negative side effect to me! If I’d known about the risk, maybe I would not have gotten a mouth full of crowns.
I’ve had several root canals so far and my dentist has agreed to pay for them, but I’m worried about the long term. Teeth on my lower jaw have started hurting and abscessing , and will most likely need root canals soon. What if I need root canals on every veneered tooth? This has been a long, stressful, expensive, and very painful process. Do you have any advice on what I can do next?
Miles, from Riverside, CA
To fit your crowns, a lot of your natural teeth was ground down so that the crown can fit overtop of it. During this grinding process, if your dentist is not a skilled cosmetic dentist, there is a rise of exposing what’s inside your tooth – which is called pulp. Exposed pulp can cause pain or become infected. If it does, then the only course of action is to remove the infection, through a root canal. Having any decay or fillings present before getting a crown also increases the risk of infection. If the teeth were in poor condition prior to getting crowns, an extraction followed by a dental implant may have better.
Your dentist offering to pay shows that he seems to feel some guilt over your situation, and should you need any more root canals, he should continue to pay for them. He should have informed you of the risks prior to your reconstruction, so that you could make a fully informed decision. Since he did not, paying to fix the damage is the least he can do.
Depending on the condition of your teeth prior to the crowns, porcelain veneers may have been an option. However, veneers require continuing education and learn how to prepare and place, and inexperienced dentists may push patients towards getting crowns instead.
Since it has been a few years since your crowns were placed, so if you haven’t had any additional issues with your teeth, the silver lining is that you are probably in the clear in terms of needing root canals. If any crowns need replacing, opt for seeing a cosmetic dentist or a CEREC same-day crown to avoid the problems you had in the past.
This blog post is brought to you by Enfield dentist, Dr. William Cummiskey, of Generations Dental Care.