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Possible root canal - Covid 19 delay

M

Mrsc123

Junior member
Joined
Aug 7, 2020
Messages
2
Location
Scotland
I have been experiencing occasional sharp pain in a tooth during lockdown, just when biting hard foods. Our dentist (NHS Scotland) has just reopened for very limited services, but I made an appointment expecting to be told to come back in few weeks for a filling.

However, based on x-ray, the dentist thinks the nerve has died in a tooth, and that there may be an infection at the tip of the root. She suggested I go to an endodontist for a root canal, but didn’t seem 100% confident in her diagnosis (especially due to my lack of severe pain/swelling). I asked to leave it a month to see if things changed, partly as I wanted to wait for Covid-19 restrictions to get a bit more back to normal and partly because she seemed unsure, but I’m now overthinking that decision.

This was only a few days ago, but I’m getting more and more anxious about leaving this, to the extent it’s distracting me from work. I also feel that I am developing a bit more toothache, but wondering how much of this is psychosomatic: I didn’t have it before my visit but now I’m thinking about it constantly. (Toothache feels more like a pain in my jaw, and would be maybe 2 out of 10 on a pain scale - not something that would normally concern me, but I’m worrying about the infection.)

Two main questions:

is it safe to leave a root canal for a few weeks? Or longer? I’ve been reading up on the procedure to understand what’s involved, and everywhere says “you mustn’t delay this”. But how long a delay is okay? Especially in the current circumstances - what if I can’t get an appointment straight away? Really don’t want to lose the tooth (dentists can do extractions here), but I’m worried about the infection spreading.

Looking at the local endodontists, both websites say “we do a temporary filling and then you go back to your practice for a crown”. My dentist didn’t discuss this with me, but mentioned they aren’t allowed to do any drilling at all at the moment, and aren’t expecting to be allowed to work on molars when they restart (possibly 17th August). So presumably she couldn’t do a crown now? How long can a temporary filling last? Should I be factoring in paying for a crown at the specialist too? [One of the endodontists is linked to a private practice who I think would do this, but they are still completely closed. The other endodontist is open, but only does root canals.]

I know I need to go back to my dentist to discuss all of this with her again, now that I’ve got my thoughts in order, but my next appointment isn’t until the end of the month, and I’m worrying about this constantly at the moment.

So I’m looking for some reassurance on timescales, and next steps after a root canal procedure.
 
Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
Verified dentist
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
6,763
You can't have a root canal done just now in Scotland. Except under emergency circumstances in an emergency treatment centre, which doesn't sound like you'd qualify for (which is generally a good thing!).

Given that, waiting a while for it is your only option other than to extract the tooth. When this will change I have no clue.
 
M

Mrsc123

Junior member
Joined
Aug 7, 2020
Messages
2
Location
Scotland
Thanks for replying, Gordon. My dentist seemed to think the private endodontists were back at work, so I was getting a bit panicky about my decision to leave things for a few weeks. But if getting the work done isn’t possible then the decision is straightforward!

my dental anxiety is more based around making decisions about what to do/shame and guilt about needing work done, rather than a straightforward fear, so I was working myself up over this. I’ll try to stop worrying about it for now and just wait and see.
 
Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
Verified dentist
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
6,763
I'm not 100% sure of the private sector, a small number may be back at work but the big majority aren't.
 
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