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Dr. Katz
Dr. Katz, Dentist - DDS
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 3569
Experience:  Dentist and Anesthesiologist for 37 years.Anesthesiology Fellow-Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.Evaluator for Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners.
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I have no cavity in my tooth but it is sensitive (#25 bottom

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I have no cavity in my tooth but it is sensitive (#25 bottom front right tooth). My dentist pushed on the tooth backwards, forwards, and down). This did not hurt. He probed the sensitive spot with a tool and it hurt a little. He says that the nerve is compromised because of trauma at some point in my life (maybe from my bottom teeth pushing against the top teeth when I bite down). I can floss the area. I can not brush the back of the tooth due to pain. Unless I touch the area with my tongue or bite into something that scrapes the area it does not hurt. Is it necessary for me to get a root canal? I am considering waiting until October (my insurance kicks in at that point) to take care of this. Is this a wise decision? Thank you!
Welcome .I will do my best to answer your question.I am not a great typist,be patient and feel free to ask if anything is unclear.Indications to do a root canal on a tooth should include most but not all of the following: Pain to heat,pain to biting pressure,swelling around the tooth,mobility of the tooth,fistula formation(opening in the gum where pus is draining) and last but not least,xray evidence of bone loss from infection showing a thickened periodontal ligament with adjacent bone loss.If most of these symptoms are not present,you may not need root canal treatment.You may need nothing more than a bite adjustment or perhaps you have a sensitive spot at the base of the tooth where the root starts,that you may be brushing too hard.If you have no swelling and your dentist could not demonstrate xray evidence for needing a root canal,I would get another opinion before doing anything else. If you have any further question please ask
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Dr. Katz,

Thank you so much for answering my question! I have no indications of any of those symptoms at all. The only problem is that my tooth hurts when I brush it at the very base of the tooth. I have had two x-rays taken of just the tooth in question and the tooth looks completely healthy just like all the others. There is no indication of a cavity. I have no swelling; however, this is the second dentist that has told me the same thing. Are these dentists trying to get me to have an expensive procedure done simply to spend money? How do I locate an honest specialist who can give me honest professional advice?

Has anyone checked the bite on this tooth to make sure this tooth is not hitting prematurely when you grind your teeth or chew?Have you tried using Sensodyne toothpaste or one of the other toothpastes used for sensitive teeth? What is the evidence that they are giving you as to why this tooth needs to be root canalled?If you brush your teeth very hard,you can make the gum recede at the base of the tooth exposing the root surface.The root surface is covered by cementum and not by enamel.Enamel is protective,the cementum is not and is porous enabling touch and temperature to efefct it more strongly.Get your bite checked first by an experienced dentist,try some Sensodyne,and hold off doing anything drastic until someone can give you some xray evidence of why this tooth needs to be root canalled.Ask questions,if the dentist is impatient and does not give you an educated answer and explains why..find another dentist.Word of mouth is a good way to find one..and make sure that they have at least 15 years of experience.
Dr. Katz and other Dental Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you so much. I will definitely see to all your recommendations. I truly appreciate your help in this matter. I did have a horrible experience with one dentist who did not want to answer any of my questions and seemed annoyed at the fact that I wanted evidence for a root canal especially since the tooth seems to be totally fine (no cavity or swelling, just sensitivity). I have not yet had a dentist show me x-ray evidence of the necessity for the procedure; in fact the opposite seems to be the case. Both dentists have said to me "there is no cavity or evidence of problem with your tooth, but because of your sensitivity we think you should have a root canal." Anyways thanks again for your attentive response and good advice. I will definitely seek a third opinion. Have a wonderful rest of your day!

You are welcome..I will check back with you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Katz,

Thank you again so much for your help. I was able to see an endodontics specialist today regarding the need for a root canal. He did a few tests on my teeth that the other two dentists did not do. He told me it was absolutely not necessary to do a root canal as my tooth was perfectly healthy and only needed treatment for sensitivity. Thank you so much for your help; it has been a life saver!!

Good I am glad that you checked it out before having an expensive and unnecessary procedure done.It is a shame that some dentists don't take the time to give an accurate diagnosis.It makes us all look bad.
Has anyone given you a good reason for the sensitivity in that tooth yet?.Did you get your bite checked carefully?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I have decided to wait for my next cleaning to get any more help with my teeth as I have spent a lot of time recently going to dentists regarding the root canal that I did not need. One of the dentists I saw mentioned that my bite might be a factor in the sensitivity as my bottom teeth could be hitting against the back of my top teeth when I close my jaw. For the last few days I have tried using sensodyne and it has really reduced the sensitivity, so I am hoping it will go away on its own. Thanks again for checking back with me. I really appreciate your help.

Thanks for getting back to me..If it is your bite,a minor adjustment will give you some pretty quick relief