In July, I noticed staining on my right incisor. When I had my dental exam and cleaning last week, my dentist took an x-ray. She said that the root canal is calcified and scheduled root canal treatment. What is root calcification, and is a root canal the only option? Thank you. Samuel from PA
Thank you for your question. Dr. Thomas would need to examine your tooth and take an x-ray for an accurate diagnosis, but we will explain root canal calcification.
What Is Root Canal Calcification?
Root canal calcification is a buildup of excess calcium in a tooth’s root channels. Calcification often occurs after trauma to a tooth, but it also appears as we age if we do not have enough calcium and vitamin C.
- After trauma, calcium deposits help the tooth repair itself.
- Sometimes the calcium deposits fill the pulp chamber and root canals.
- Crowding inside the tooth makes it challenging to heal.
Does a Calcified Root Canal Need Treatment?
A calcified root canal requires a root canal if an x-ray shows signs of infection. An endodontist (root canal specialist) uses specialized tools and technology for treatment, including:
- 3-D CT scan – Identify the calcified channels to treat only the affected parts of the tooth
- Dental microscope – Helps locate the channels during treatment
- Ultrasonic dental instrument – Minimizes the amount of structure removed to prevent weakening the tooth
What If You Decline a Root Canal?
If you decline a root canal, the infection from calcified channels will spread and affect other teeth and your jawbone. Without treatment, the condition will linger.
We recommend scheduling an appointment with a dentist with advanced root canal training or an endodontist (root canal specialist) for a second opinion. Please do not delay treatment until you have an emergency and risk more invasive treatment or tooth loss.
Dr. Siny Thomas, a Sugar Land, Texas dentist, sponsors this post. Dr. Thomas is a graduate of the surgical program of the Pikos Institute in Trinity, Florida.