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My dentist said I needed to have my old fillings replaced, and we could do it over a 2 year period. I chose to have it all done over a 3 month period. One of the fillings was only 3 years old, and now he is telling me I may need a root canal within 2 months to 20 years. My question is: if that molar is so bad - shouldn't the xrays show that? They take bitewings every 6 months during my normal cleaning and exam.

Your doctor's assessment is, I am sure, a good one concerning the 'potential' need for further treatment. The fact that your tooth does not need a root canal now indicates that at the present time, the xrays of the roots of your tooth look fine. The need for a root canal arises many times when a cavity approaches and infects the pulp (or nerve) of the tooth. It is quite possible that your 3 year old filling was fairly deep, approaching the nerve of the tooth. Even though a filling was completed, it may sometimes take many years for symptoms of your former cavity to appear. Please feel free to ask your dentist about your tooth. As dentists, we are here to both treat and teach the public.


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Last revised: December 06, 2004.