Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Root Canal, an Economic Indicator?

Last week, I went to the dentist and told him about a possible abscessed tooth. He referred me to a specialist. Yesterday, I went in for an x-ray and consultation. The Doc looked at the x-ray and confirmed my worst suspicions and left the room. The receptionist came in and told me; “If I could wait 20 minutes, the doctor would fit me into his schedule.” (Usually after the consultation, you get an appointment a week away and suffer every night until the appointed day.) I nodded yes and gave her my credit card; I really wanted to run out to my car and escape!

45 minutes later, the root canal was done; I was finishing up my paperwork and talking to the Doc in the reception room. Another patient came in, and discussed his root canal problem with the doctor.

As I was just getting up to leave, I heard the receptionist say, “If you can wait 20 minutes the doctor can fit you into his schedule.” He too, said OK.

My wife pointed out, that this could have been a bad day with cancellations. But I was never offered same day service on a root canal before. Two people in a row? Talk about fast service and I wasn’t even ordering a hamburger!

Are people starting to tighten their belts? $900 dollars for a root canal could definitely make one pause for thought. I had to pay the $100 deductible with my insurance.

I could be way off the mark on this one, often times you see what you want to see and this could be just such a case. So, if anyone out there is going for a root canal consultation, be forewarned, have a good excuse ready, as to why you can’t wait around for 20 minutes.


Anonymous said...

When I hear "root canal", I say "pull it". Experience has taught me that the affected tooth comes out anyway a couple of years later. Usually it shatters into a million pieces at an inconvenient time and place.

So, you're getting in for root canals quickly because everybody says "Pull it" these days? No surprise.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Vince

I don't feel too great about the "shatters into a million pieces" information. I hope you're wrong for my sake! I know it happens--you have to sign the riot act before they will do a root canal and they don't leave anything out!

My main point of the article was to stress that the world of dentistry could become as endangered as are Realtors in this area. Elective dental surgery is a very lucrative field and it is one of the first probably to show the signs of a recession.

This doctor is excellent, and I hope that he has the clients to make his business viable.

As for the economics of pulling a tooth over having a root canal, the bridge will cost double of the root canal. They usually have to crown the tooth next to the pulled tooth. So a $100 dollar extraction ends up being an $1,800 bridge.

Anonymous said...

>>As for the economics of pulling a tooth over having a root canal, the bridge will cost double of the root canal.<<

Ah, but if you already have a partial plate, the cost of adding a tooth to it is negligible. $120 or less. Permanent bridges are an extreme fix, often involving far more extensive work than an extraction, barring complications.

I used to get root canals. I lost most of them, as described. Then their cost rose faster than my income and I could no longer afford dental insurance, so I opt for extractions now. I personally demonstrate your premise.

When it comes to dentistry, there is no pleasant alternative. MY lost root canals are not the result of bad dentistry, but of teeth that become weaker than usual, faster than usual after the procedure, and an inability to tolerate interior supporting posts.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hey Vince

Thank you for your comments. You have changed the way I super market shop. No more beef jerky and peanut brittle. I'm a real wimp when it comes visiting the dentist!

Getting old isn't easy, I still feel like I'm 21, the rest of me says otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I will never get another root canal! I had my first root canal recently and got severely sick, almost ended up in the hosptial. It all started with burning in my left eye then chills running up and down my left side of my body, then my stomach started hurting. Then it spread to my lungs. Dr. said I had an infection running through my body. Called Endodonist said my symptoms were not related. Called my dentist said I was just stressed. The only thing I was stressed about was how sick I was, I had never been this sick in my life. I phoned two other dentists who said absolutely, of course the root canal can cause severe illness in some people. So I extracted the tooth and within 48 hours I started to feel better, I'm still having some stomach issues but I'm grateful to be back again. This one tooth has cost me $2,500 and I'm still not done. The total bill will probably end up being about $5,000.00. So, if anyone out there ends up with severe physical problems after a root canal don't doubt yourself and DO NOT let your dentist, Dr. or anyone tell you it's unrelated. I'm living proof root canals can be very dangerous for some people.

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon from May 30

It sounds like you went through a real disaster.

I think that there are unforeseen hazards with any medical procedure. As much as we depend on modern medicine, it has it's limits.

I would think in your case, if you wrote a letter to the doctor who performed the root canal and ask him if he could help you out in any way with your bill, and not blame him or threaten to sue, he might just write off your bill.

Remember one thing, Doctors think that they are Gods, treat them as such and you will fare well with them.

Anonymous said...

The Story:
I had a root canal done 2/24/06. Several weeks after that, I had what seemed to be a virus that involved swelling of the lymph nodes. After seeing my family doctor, she assured me that I was getting over whatever it was. Throughout the summer the lymph node under my right chin continued to swell somewhat, I felt a little under the weather, but ignored it, as I was quite busy with my job.

In the fall, I came down in early September with another flu-like illness. After several weeks of still not feeling well, I saw my family doctor, who prescribed a Z-Pak. It did nothing. She prescribed Amoxycillin, which did help for a short time, but the problem came back. I was referred to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. He DID ask about my teeth, but as I take care of them, I discounted that the problem could be coming from my teeth. He thought it could be a hidden sinus infection, as I have chronic sinusitis, and put me on Ketek, which really didn't help very much. I also had an MRI on my sinuses, which showed nothing amiss.

My doctor felt that I was fighting a virus, as my lymph nodes in my neck and right chin area especially continued to be swollen. My white blood cells were up slightly and my spleen was slightly swollen. I had pain all over 24/7. She treated me for the pain with Methylprednisolone, 2x and Prednisone 1x.

The problem continued to recur--overall body pain in my muscles, a sick flu-like feeling with no fever and pain in tissues ligaments and tendons. My doctor referred me to a rheumatologist, but all blood work indicating any type of vascular cartilage disease was ruled out.

I was referred to an infectious disease doctor, as one of my blood tests was positive for toxoplasmosis, but that was found not to be the source of my problem, nor was an old Epstein Barr virus, or Lyme disease.

I was referred to a neurologist to rule out M.S. and had a normal neurological exam.

The problem continued to come back and I was now feeling very sick and discouraged. The date is now August 2007, nearly a year and a half later. I related that I suspected it could be possibly a tooth possibly due to a root canal I had 2/24/06, as that was when the trouble seemed to start. She agreed it could be a tooth. So, my family doctor prescribed Cephalexin, 500 mg 4x a day, starting 7/31/07 until I could see my dentist. I'd made an appointment with Dr. Z. for August 13, but was later able to get in August 1 before he left for vacation.

After taking 1 Cephalexin, I began to feel better in several hours. By the next day, I felt like my old self again. Although I've had some brief set backs of pain through the days I've been on the medication, I continue to improve, BUT seem to feel more pain in the suspected #29 and even in the #17 (both have root canals).

A friend of mine mentioned that she had constant trouble with sinus infections and had no tooth symptoms, but after seeing her dentist, he found a questionable tooth. The tooth was pulled and infection was found under the root canal and also in an adjacent tooth. Her symptoms disappeared after the extraction. She has never had another sinus infection.

Two other people told me of similar tooth type oriented pain of long-standing, whereupon the teeth were removed and the problem was resolved.

I called Dr. Z's office for the dates of my root canals, and began to suspect that the 2/24/2006 tooth could be a problem. I saw Dr. Z. on August 1 and recounted the above long story. He examined and x-rayed the tooth and could not find a problem, but agreed with me that the evidence seemed to point to the #29 tooth. He also said that fractures in the root canal sometimes would not show up in the x-rays. The tooth has always felt strange and even now has a ping to it that I find only in one other root canal done 8/6/03 in #17. He told me that although he could not professionally advise me to have the tooth pulled that, given the evidence, it seemed to be a reasonable course of action, since he had done all he could do for the tooth. He also said that it may or may not resolve my problem.

I have an appointment with an oral surgeon on August 16 to have #29 extracted. I CANNOT continue in this way. This illness has had a major negative impact on my life, even keeping me from working as I usually do. Tests continue to show I'm normal, but 24/7 pain and illness like the flu says otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I was also ushered in for an immediate root canal right after my dental appt first indicated the need for a root canal. It was right before X-mas 2007. I also thought it was odd that I couldn't wait a few days; definitely seemed to have an economic reason. I had no pain or ache yet, just sensitivity to heat and cold.

The day after I had the root canal, I developed extreme disabling dizziness that has not gone away for five months. It now appears a very bad sinus infection developed in the sinus above the root canal tooth (an upper molar). The antibiotics I'm on are not working yet, after 12 days. Of course, the endodontist and dentist both deny a link between the root canal and my dizziness. Neither suggested the possibility of sinus infection from root canal, either. I can't work anymore and am very worried. I've had other root canals with no problem...

Anonymous said...

I had two root canals and a crown on my upper right molar. Two years following the crown, I developed an "advanced infection" above the root, very close to my sinuses. After reviewing my x-rays my new oral surgeon recommended extracting the tooth, which I promptly did due to the severe pain. Half a week later, I have much more energy and feel better than I have in WEEKS! I should have gone with my instinct and had the tooth removed years ago - it would have saved me over $3,000!

Jim in San Marcos said...

Hi Anon 2:17

It's amazing how many hits this particular article gets. I'm glad it worked out OK for you. As you have read about the others, life is not always cut and dry.

I'm glad that I can be a conduit for root canals. I've had 2 with no problems. But what you have said will definitely make me keep my eyes open. You don't read about the ones that go bad.

Thank you for your comments.

Thank you for your comments

Anonymous said...

I had a root canal and crown on a back molar atleast 15 years ago. Aout 3 years ago I bit something hard on that tooth and break one of the roots. My new dentist (whom I love) has tried to convince me to pull it for the last and a half. I kept putting it off out of the fear I have from just the word "extraction". Long story short. I have suffered from feeling tired for years along with dull headaches, stuffy sinuses and dark circles under my eyes. I finally had the tooth extracted 2 days ago and found that it had an infection underneath it even with the root canal. Miraculously my sinuses have cleared up, my headache has vanished and my energy is up 100%...Wish I'd have had that tooth pulled YEARS ago!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I wish I had read these messages months ago! Making a long story short, I have been experiencing problems in varying degrees since March 2006, after first root canal. Two and a half years and another root canal later, I'm finally getting to the bottom of teeth/gum pain and nagging dizziness,(which my dr. diagnosed as hyperventilation). I'm in the middle of the process... so far, one of the teeth has to be extracted and after reading these letters, I'm looking forward to it so that I can feel better. I'll continue reading the articles about root canals....I was sensing this all along, even though dentist and dr. pooh-poohed me. It's quite a relief to actually read that other people are experiencing similar problems as a result of dental work. I'm not crazy and there are answers to fix this!

Anonymous said...

Dear Readers,

There's nothing good about root canals, you just compromise your immune system. The bottom line is most of the Dentists don't want to make $150 on fillings but $900 on root canals. All root canals leak and spray the body with bacterias. Dr. Price is 100% right, root canals are roots of tons of health problems. The only thing that would stop root canal trend is when insurance plans would not cover that but they wouldn't do it as bridges would cost even more. Vicious circus and commoners being poisoned.

Anonymous said...

This is the saddest thing I've read. As an endodontist, I treat teeth with root canal therapy with no complications day in day out. The stories I see here have never occurred in my office. I will admit there is a lot of poor quality (re: malpractice?) root canal therapy being done around the country. Otherwise, 40% of my practice wouldn't be fixing root canal treatments done elsewhere-called endodontic retreatment.

Please do not let this information scare you from considering root canal therapy as an effective and pain free way of saving your teeth.

Justin said...

I know this is an old blog post.

The only thing poisonous is the misinformation on this blog. Pulling a tooth can lead to many more complications than root canal therapy. I am an endodontist who treats teeth successfully day in and day out for many years with none of these complications.

I am astonished and sad to hear all these sad stories. I am sorry some of you have had bad experiences. However, the thousands of patients I have treated are not coming on here to post their good stories. There are many bad practitioners or root canal therapy out there. Otherwise, 40% of my practice wouldn't be retreating poorly treated teeth done elsewhere. However, done correctly by a specialist, your treated teeth will last a lifetime. The research is out there.

If you are considering root canal therapy, please do NOT let these comments dissuade you. At least consider a consult with a specialist.

Anonymous said...

Hi ,
I had a root canal 9/02/2011, approx 2 weeks following that procedure I have been constantly ill, swollen lymph nodes, sinusitis, aching joints, dizzy, fatigue.I wasn't sure whether Togo back to my dentist who performed the root canal or Dr. I went to my GP who straight away said how a root canal attacks the immune and leads to a plethora of systemic disorders. He prescribed penecillan, which helped but not entirely.
So back to my dentist who discredited my Drs advice on root canals took an x Ray and and said all looks great.
I decided to get a 2nd opinion and that dentist took another x Ray and discovered a 2 mm ( approx) gap at the boot of my tooth with nerve still there.
Feeling like I need to go to dental/ legal school to work out what the hell I should do next. The dental fees alone are steep, along with the trips to the dr, 2nd 3rd opinion and now an oral surgeon oh and pharmacy.

What makes me wonder is why would the dentist be ringing each day ( exclusive Thurs, he is shut) to see how I am if his work is just dandy???
Is there any legal right / refund.
Wednesday I see the oral surgeon stay tuned

After reading websites etc related to the dangers of

Anonymous said...

I've just read the comments on this website after searching the internet for illness after root canals. I had my first root canal 2 months ago and I've felt tired and ill ever since. My blood tests have all come back normal from doctor and my dentist wants to redo it as there appears to be some residual infection.But I feel so ill and tired I'm considering having it pulled in the hope of ending this misery. I just need some energy and courage to go back. Any advice would be welcome

Anonymous said...

Have all root canals out and never have a root canal again! Dont believe dentists they only want to make money. Root canals all leak, the tooth is a porous little character, so it can never be completely sealed off. I am a medical person, and after having my blood pressure go to 250 over 120, and not coming down with any medication, and suffering exterme dizziness, with leaking root canal teeth, I realised these root canals can kill! Another clue that your body is riddled with infection from these teeth is your iron blood tests being all out of balance. My symptoms all went away after my root canal teeth were removed. Have normal blood pressure now, no dizziness.

Anonymous said...

I've been very sick lately due to my infected root canals. I've had them retreated several times, but I keep having problems. I've had just about every blood test and scan done to finally realize after years of suffering that it was all due to my root canals. I know it's scary to think about extractions but I would rather wear dentures and be happy and healthy than have a mouth full of infected root canals that are slowly killing me. Good luck everyone.

Anonymous said...


I've also realised that my root canal is the cause of all my ailments. Just very low, skin disorders, weight loss etc.

I've managed to convince my dentist to extract the tooth for me. I've had all my silver fillings replaced and feel somewhat better but I know I still need this RC out to feel back to normal like I used to.

Please do your research before getting a root canal or any dental work for that matter. I was fine before I had major work done and now I feel shattered into a million peaces. Mercury poisoning is also something to look out for.

Anonymous said...

I am an endodontist as well, and I agree with the endodontist above. There are complications to doing root canals but it is a very successful procedure. If you read the literature, the success rate ranges from 86-93%. Success is both radiographic as well as clinical (asymptomatic) success. That is a VERY high success rate for any medical procedure.

Feeling ill after a root canal can happen but it is usually related to the nasty infection already present.

It is important to get the tooth restored for the long-term prognosis of the root canal. Otherwise, teeth can break. There is a lot of misinformation on this website as I do root canals every day, and usually do have success with root canals.

Same day procedures for root canals is important. Many times, patients are in pain so we as endodontists are trying to get rid of the infection that is releasing a "nasty soup," which is causing that pain. I would recommend seeing specialists as well. Yes, it is self-serving but it is how you get the best care available.

Anonymous said...

I have had dizziness issues for a long time and doctors have ran tests when it first started. At first they said it was my ear but after using ear drops and antibiotics it never got better. I then went to a neuro opthomologist and he said i had a disorder called nystagmus and he had no clue why i just suddenly got it. I still to this day have the issue and its slowly getting worse. I have been praying and praying for God to show me what is going on and lately i have been researching the harmful effects of root canals. The other day i pulled all of my MRI's from when i was told i had nystagmus and they are from the beginning of 2005. I then called my old dentist and asked when I received my root canal and shockingly they said November of 2004. Ok i think this isnt just a coincidence. From everything i have been reading this has to be the cause right? I also have extreme sensitivity to hot and cold on that tooth. Regular dentists tell me that my root canal is fine and its probably just a bite problem. I now see a holistic dentist and he told me my tooth shouldn't be sensitive because the nerve is dead. He told me i should remove it and i have been putting if off because it is one of my molars and is one of my main chewing teeth. But now that i have found all of you having issues too i now believe a lot my problems are due to this stupid tooth. Did all of you have the canal completely cleaned out after extraction?

Anonymous said...

I can only tell my experience...before having my first and now only root canal, I did months of research on it and it's alternatives. Unfortunately, the only alternatives I found were doing nothing, which most dental pros - even the holistic ones- warn against. The other option is to remove the tooth. I read many blogs and websites discussing the toxicity of root canals, but few of them gave recommendations for alternatives. The alternatives I found were general listings of alternatives not on the anti-root canal websites. My tooth is dis colored, so I decided to go ahead with the root canal. Now, I'm regretting that decision. I've been fatigued since that day (yesterday) and I'm concerned about the possibility that the toxicity warnings are true. I wish I had left my tooth as-is, because it wasn't painful. Come to find out, after the root canal, the endontist tells me that I had not infection, but that the pulp was inflamed. There s somethng amiss about this whole root canal thing. It's fishy. And I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but I do believe that if the ADA admitted that root canals are not safe, they know so much money would be lost and all the endontist a in the states would be out of work. It's sad that we are THAT dependent on consumerism! At any rate, I will never get a root canal again, and am considering just having the tooth pulled rather than placing a crown over it.

In the future, I hope holistic dental professionals would do and publish CLINICAL research to expose the truth about root canals, instead of just coming out with self and small press-published books and websites. If they really believe there is a "cover-up" regarding root canals, that's their responsibility. Do no harm, right?

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys,

I'm like Anon (25 Dec 2013). I wonder if your tiredness got better? I had a root canal yesterday and am shattered but I think it was because of the stress and worry of it. Like most I was concerned about the procedure and the possibility of bacteria being left behind and have been considering whether an extraction was a better option but there seems to be so much conflicting advice. I've seen that the cavity left by the extraction can be just as bad bacteria wise as the root canal, is this right? Also that if you have an extraction it can unsettle the rest of your mouth entirely?
Anyone have any advice re wisdom teeth? I still have mine and my UK dentists have always said to leave them unless they cause issues (national health service) but my current dentist (no national health) has said to get them taken out... is this just a cash generator?

Unknown said...

I am having all those same problems a year and a half now and having tooth pulled next week against dentists advice . Praying that it works

Anonymous said...

I had a root canal 1 week ago and have been dizzy and tired ever since. My blood pressure is higher than ever. I can;t take this and went to my Dr today. I will get the blood tests back tomorrow but I know already this "dizzy" feeling is because of the root canal. I cannot go through life like this. I will yank this tooth asap. I would never have another one and would never recommend it to anyone.

Anonymous said...

I had a bad root canal for years that appeared only on a CBCT scan for my dentist. One of the roots was fractured and infected on the tongue side of the tooth. Go see a dentist that specializes in root canals if you think it's bad. Three regular dentists didn't see the infection.
Long story short six years of dizziness, ear problems and body aches ended with an extraction. Take care of your teeth.

Emma said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

A root canal is not a treatment, yet part of a tooth. It is the empty segment of a tooth that contains the nerve tissue, veins, and different cells, otherwise called the mash.
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afreen yamin said...

Root Canal Treatment includes the expulsion of the dental tissue when it is infected or dead. The dental tissue is the structure of the tooth that comprises nerves, veins, and connective dental pulp. When carrying out a root canal, the tooth is called: endodontic partner treated teeth.