to check the tooth last week when I had an exam and cleaning. After taking an X-ray, my dentist said the root canal is calcified, and I need root canal treatment and a new crown to prevent the tooth from fracturing. I’ve never heard of root calcification, so I am unsure if a root canal is my only option. I want to get a second opinion but do not want to see another dentist in an emergency because I delayed treatment. Why can’t I get a filling? Will you please explain my options? – Thank you. Silas from Delaware
Thank you for your question.
What Is Root Canal Calcification?
Root canal calcification is a condition that occurs when excess calcium builds up in the root channels. Tooth trauma is the most common cause of calcification. After trauma, the following occurs:
- Calcium deposits are a reaction to trauma to help the tooth repair itself.
- The calcium deposit fills space in the pulp chamber and root canals.
- Lack of space makes it challenging for the tooth to heal.
In addition to tooth trauma, calcification occurs as we age when we do not have enough calcium and vitamin C. The root canals can calcify.
Does a Calcified Root Canal Need Treatment?
A calcified root canal needs treatment if X-rays show signs of infection. An endodontist (root canal specialist) may treat calcified roots using these tools:
- Dental microscope – Assists in finding calcified channels
- 3-D CT scan – Locates calcified canals for preserving more tooth structure
- Ultrasonic dental instrument – Removes small amounts of tooth structure and helps the tooth retain strength.
Depending on its condition, a dentist may use a composite filling on a front tooth. However, back teeth need a crown to withstand the forces of grinding and chewing.
What Happens Without Treatment?
Without treatment, infected calcified channels allow infection to spread in the tooth, your bone, and possibly other teeth.
We recommend scheduling an appointment with a root canal specialist in your area to examine your tooth and determine if it requires treatment. Please do not wait until you have an emergency and possibly end up in the hands of a dentist who is unskilled in treating root canal calcification.
Metairie, Louisiana, dentist Dr. Duane Delaune sponsors this post.