Second Opinion: Pulp Capping, Root Canal, or Extraction?

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Posted on By Lanette Simmons In Patient/Consumer Inquiries

My tooth recently broke in half. No pain is felt from it. I can still chew on it. It isn't sensitive to hot or cold food and beverages. My local dentist suggested a root canal or extraction. I did additional research and discovered Dr. Gordon Christensen's Q&A on "Pulp Capping or Endodontics? I also found a case study in which he and his patient opted to perform pulp capping over a root canal (see first photo). I read that even is the nerve was exposed and infected, medicine could be applied to it and pulp capping could still be performed as a worst case scenario. I immediately asked my local dentist about the procedure only to discover she was not familiar with it at all. Because of that reason, I haven't allowed her to excavate my tooth. I wanted to find someone experienced with pulp capping first. Unfortunately, I am finding it difficult to locate a specialist in my state that is familiar with pulp capping in order to have them excavate my tooth and let me know whether I could potentially have pulp capping and restoration instead of a root canal or extraction and dental implant. I'm willing and able to travel for the right expert. I'd even travel to obtain a second opinion from Dr. Gordon Christensen after seeing photos of his work. The x-ray from my local dentist is photo #2 and was taken less than a month ago, about a week after my tooth broke. I'd welcome any feedback.

Dr. Gordon Christensen's work
My x-ray

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Lanette, You are correct that many times pulp capping can be a valuable treatment in deep carious restorations. The fact that you feel no sensitivity to so close to the pulp may mean the tooth is non-vital....meaning the nerve is 'dead' or dying and you would definitely need a root canal treatment. If you can let me know what state you live in perhaps I can recommend someone to see. But based on the X-ray your best bet would be to have the tooth pulp tested by an Endodontist who is a specialist in evaluating teeth like yours.


Exhaust your dental health care options first before giving up. You may very well regret your decision if you did otherwise.


Henry Schein