The middle of the tooth still has silver filling intact and half of the tooth exterior is still good. I have already gotten 2 opinions on this. My regular dentist did not say I needed a root canal prior to restoring the tooth with a crown. He crowned the tooth right next to it about 10 years ago. Apparently he thought he could securely seat a crown this newly broken tooth on whatever is left of it. The second opinion dentist said I needed the root canal for same reason that you stated. I have read so many bad patient experiences with root canals, that I am afraid to do it if it is not necessary. The tooth does not hurt and is not sensitive to cold or heat. I'd rather take a conservative approach if possible. Isn't there a way to seal the broken area so there would be no decay? If you count the remaining tooth and filling there is about 70 percent of it still intact. Would replacing the old filling and building up the side with composite filling material work?