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Dead chipped tooth



Nov 6, 2022
London, England
So, I got back from my dentist check up earlier and one of my main concerns was my dead front adjacent tooth (black, chipped on the side) and my dentist is choosing to leave it as it has a filling. No root canal or extraction.

Given what we all know about dead teeth needing root canals, does that even make sense? I'm not trying to find problems but I am quite confused at this course of action. Is there any reason why you wouldn't treat a dead tooth with a root canal or extraction?

My dentist is NHS and only did bitewing x-rays so would that have any effect on his decision?

I have an appointment with a private dentist in December so I'm getting a second opinion as at the very least I'd like to talk RCT-ing and dental bonding it.

I suppose my dentist is letting it run its course before he takes it out.
Kind of hard to say without at least seeing the tooth, sorry. Not all dark teeth are "dead" and need root canals.
Kind of hard to say without at least seeing the tooth, sorry. Not all dark teeth are "dead" and need root canals.

Thanks, Dr Gordon.

I didn't include photos because to see it is a bit difficult and might not offer you anything helpful so if you don't mind some of my best albeit questionable photography, they might illuminate the situation.

Disclaimer: I have bite and overcrowding issues amongst everything else and I'm aware. My teeth are very weak from multiple depressive bouts (and subsequent poor oral hygiene, gum disease and accidental self damage [bottom inscior all me]) and my dentist is conservative for that reason.


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Thanks, those are excellent photos, nicely done!

I'm a bit puzzled as to why they didn't fix the obvious cavity there, sorry. I wouldn't rush into trying a root canal without some good x-rays though, so I can understand that part. Sorry, not really much more information for you I'm afraid.
Held my breath for a good 20 seconds for that. 🤣

Thank you for the advice, it is much appreciated.

I did just want another view until I can see the private dentist because like you say I was quite confused at the lack of root canal and why he didn't fill the cavity as it can catch on my lip sometimes. It's not even something you can miss really. All I can say is that he had tried previously with the side portion, the chip you can see on the back surface is what's new, but because of my overcrowding issues, I kept pulling the filling out with floss no matter how gentle I tried to be. He seemed adamant that it was fine as it was, just to come back if it chipped more and to whiten it if I was bothered by the colour change when I challenged it both times I was there.

Makes me concerned that there may be other issues that he's not considering but I did ask if my x-rays were fine and he said they were. He tapped the teeth I was concerned about and told me that sensitivity and abscesses aren't the same thing as I had a particular tooth that was giving me grief as it hurt in the night because of my teeth clenching and prescribed me a high fluoride toothpaste. The other one is the one I cracked because of gritting my teeth so hard but that only took out the cusp and he redid my filling (it was an eventful 3 weeks for my teeth). A lot of which has eased up since I got my mouth guard 2 days ago, got a full 8.5 hours for the first time in ages.

I trust him and he makes me feel comfortable but I don't believe in blind trust.