Tag Archives: tooth extraction

Can’t Afford My Sinus Perforation

I had a molar extraction about six months ago. During the procedure, my dentist perforated my sinus. After a few weeks a piece of bone came out. I thought it had healed over after that. However, recently I blew my nose and so much air came through that it literally blew my partial denture out a bit. I don’t have the money to get this fixed at the moment and my dentist has retired. What do you recommend?


Dear Laura,

I am glad that you wrote. While a sinus perforation can happen to any dentist because of mouth structure– there are some maxillary molars that have a very thin membrane separating them from sinus cavities. That being said, your dentist should have addressed the issue. While it sounds like he let you know that it was perforated, it does not sound like he actually closed the perforation.

At this point it should have healed. Because it did not, I would suggest you see an oral surgeon. I know you said you are not able to afford a dentist right now, but I think your dentist should take responsibility for this. If the dentist had partners, talk to one of them about what is going on. They should cover the cost of this.

If his practice was sold, there should be provisions in the contract dealing with post-operative complications, etc.

I feel confident that you can get this covered without expense to yourself (except for your time, of course).

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

My Dentist Doesn’t Seem to Care

I had a fractured tooth and the dentist put a crown on it without telling me it may need a root canal treatment. I probably would have just had it pulled if I knew that ahead of time. The crown never felt right and I told the dentist that it was painful whenever I had to chew on that side, but he blew me off and said it is normal to have some irritation after a crown. I waited and then the next month, I ended up needing a dental crown on the next tooth. I asked them to fix the first tooth before crowning the second one, but they weren’t interested in that. All he did was numb the first tooth a little and crown the second tooth then tell me to come back in a couple of weeks. Now I find out the first tooth has a periapical abscess. At this point, I think they should refund me on the crown and I just pay for the extraction at this point. Is there a way to get this money back?


Dear Margie,

In the long run, this is not going to be the best dentist for you. Though, I am sure you have already figured that out. He is sloppy in his work and doesn’t have good follow through. In fact, he seemed more interested in collecting a fee from a second procedure than fixing the first one.

While it is true that there can be some sensitivity after having a crown placed. That sensitivity has more to do with temperature changes. Pain when you are chewing is completely different. That is a sign something is wrong. When a crown is done well, you don’t even notice it is there.

What Treatment Should You Get For This

I don’t think you should get this tooth extracted. Because of the periapical abscess, it will be extremely difficult to get the surrounding area numb and this will end up being a traumatic experience.

If you, instead, had a root canal treatment done, you would be in a better position. Not only will you save your tooth but a dentist could drill down in there and you wouldn’t feel a thing. The tissue inside the tooth is dead.

I don’t trust your current dentist, so I recommend you see an endodontist (root canal specialist) to have this done.

Can You Get a Refund?

That’s a bit tricky. It wasn’t great care, but it doesn’t necessarily qualify as malpractice. Your best bet is asking for a refund. If he refuses, which he probably will, you can tell him you are going to leave a bad review explaining that he doesn’t care about his patients and does poor quality work. That may convince him that it is in his best interest to make this right with you.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Dental Disaster in Mexico

I went to Mexico to have two dental crowns done because it was supposed to be a lot cheaper than having it done in the United States. In two days the first crown fell off and I had to go back. When I did, they told me I needed a root canal before they could replace the crown. I had some doubts about that becuase the tooth wasn’t hurting but they seemed certain it was necessary. Then, it starting have senstivivity to hot and cold. Now I can’t even eat with it. I called them and they told me I needed to come back in. These trips are pretty extensive so I decided to just get a second opinion with a local dentist. He said the tooth did not need a root canal and is actually cracked and needs to be extracted and replaced. My question is, do you think it is reasonable to ask them to apply the cost of the unnecessary root canal they did toward the cost of the extraction and dental implant?


Dear Pam,

What a disaster. While I am sure it is reasonable, I don’t know if you really want them doing that. A dental crown is one of the first things a dentist learns how to do in dental school. He couldn’t even do that right. Then, they gave you an unnecessary root canal treatment. AND, they didn’t even do it right because you should not have had any sensitivity to hot or cold.

Dental implants are one of the most advanced procedures in dentistry. If they can that wrong, it will cause you serious, permanent injury. What if they place it on a nerve? Or you get an infection in your jaw that causes you to lose bone?

In your place, I would bite the bullet and have this done in the United States with a reputable dentist with dental implant training and experience.

I do not know what the laws are in Mexico as far as getting a refund for malpractice, but you can at least try.

Dental tourism is always a gamble. Sometimes it works out. The problem is in the cases where it doesn’t, it is always a disater and in many cases people end up with permanent problems.

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Can You Have a Root Canal Done a Third Time?

I had a root canal treatment done about nine years ago. It had to be re-done a few years after that. Now it is bothering me again. Is it possible to do a root canal treatment a third time?


Dear Mary,

You can re-do a root canal treatment quite a few times. However, you may want to evaluate whether or not that is your best course of action. Root canal treatments are tricky under the best of circumstances. It is estimated that even when a dentist does everything perfectly, there can still be a 15% failure rate. Why is that?

While there is between one and four canals in a tooth, depending on the type of tooth, there are branches that stem off from the main canal. These can take crazy twists and turns. In some cases, they are literally impossible for us to clean out and seal properly with the current technology we have. If a dentist can’t reach all the pulp, there is a significant chance of re-infection.

In addition to that, the chances of a successful re-treatment go down with each attempt. This will be your third treatment. A second option is root canal surgery. However, some patients are not candidates depending on where the nerves lie.

While a good dentist always tries to save a tooth, the honest answer is some teeth are not saveable despite everyone’s best efforts. In that case, the only thing left is to get a tooth extraction and then a replacement.

If that happens, the two best replacements to look at are a dental implant or a dental bridge. Both will serve you well. Just speak with your dentist about your particular circumstances and he or she will help you make the right decision.

Best of Luck!

This blog is brought to you by Phoenix Dentist Dr. Hillary Peck.

Is My Root Canal Linked to My Cancer?

Hi there,

I am in remission from a bout with cancer, and trying desperately to stay that way. I recently learned that getting root canals can be linked to cancer. A documentary I saw recommended extraction instead of saving the tooth via root canal treatment. I had a root canal about 10 years ago, and am now terrified it may cause my cancer to come back. Will  a dentist be willing to remove the tooth? Should I have opted for an extraction over a root canal back then? Honestly, I would feel better with it out at this point.

Zarya, from St. Petersburg, FL


Hi Zarya,

You probably could find a dentist to remove the tooth. However, the dentist would likely be doing it to calm your nerves, not because it is  a cancerous ticking time bomb. A general dentist can do the procedure, or you can look for a holistic dentist in your area. A holistic dentist takes your entire body’s health into consideration when recommending treatment.

The documentary you saw may have been focused more on fear-mongering than accuracy. As you probably learned,  teeth requiring root canals have bacteria present. A root canal removes the bacteria, and seals the tooth, so it cannot become filled with bacteria again. More recent studies show that patients who receive root canals are healthier, and even at a lower risk of cancers. The documentary you saw likely referenced an old, outdated study that has not been replicated, yet is still causing panic and worry.

Good oral health is linked to good heart health, so taking care of your teeth is necessary to a healthy body. Being concerned about your oral health is important to keeping your body healthy. However, you do not need to worry so much. Your past root canal did not cause your cancer, nor will it cause it to come back. Getting it extracted is up to you and your dentist.

This blog post is brought to you by Scottsdale dentist and root canal provider, Dr. Hillary Peck, of Peck Family Dentistry.


Should I see a pediatric dentist for my child’s loose tooth?

My elementary school-aged son has had loose front-teeth for a couple of months now. He complains that they hurt and give her trouble when he eats and applies pressure on them from his tongue. When I look at them, I can see them moving around and that they are very loose, so I can tell they are ready to come out. However, he will not let me near him in order to extract them myself, nor will he pull them out himself. I know a pediatric dentist could remedy the issue quickly and easily but am not sure this is something for which they see patients? I know they will pull teeth that need to be pulled, but will they remove a tooth that is basically hanging by a thread?


Dear Dan,

The ligaments which hold a tooth in place are just like a rubber band. They will stretch out but then tighten back up, causing the process of losing a baby tooth to be quite a process. It appears that your son could be experiencing this to some extent, which could be why it is taking the tooth longer to fall out on its own than you might be used to.

It’s generally a good idea to let baby teeth do their thing until they fall out naturally. Attempting to pull a baby tooth prematurely not only hurts the child but can cause unnecessary trauma to the area. The baby tooth also helps keep the space open for the adult tooth to come in.

If the tooth is bothering your child, seeing a pediatric dentist would not be a bad idea. He or she can assess the situation and ensure nothing out of the ordinary is happening or causing the delay. If the dentist determines that the baby tooth will not come out on its own, he or she may suggest extraction as a solution. But, if you think your son will oppose a dentist, as he does when you try to touch the tooth, it may be better to wait it out and let nature take its course.

This content is brought to you by office of Phoenix pediatric dentist, Dr. Hillary Peck.

Are All Dentists Judgmental?

I’ll admit I don’t get to the dentist as often as is recommended. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just I can’t afford it. Not only do I not have dental insurance, so everything must be paid for out of pocket, but I lose income by going. I’m paid by the hour and dentists only seem to be open during normal working hours. I have to miss work to go. Essentially, I’m charged twice if you think about it. Even though I don’t go very often, I do try to go every two years. I rarely have a problem with my teeth, but I get a lecture every single time. I’ve switched dentists every couple of years for that very reason, but no matter who I go to, there’s still that lecture. Why are they so judgmental? Why can’t they seem to understand it’s a sacrifice for many people to get to the dentist?

Avery L.

Dear Avery,

I can understand your frustration. Here you are trying your best, making sacrifices to even get to the dentist and when you do, they treat you like someone who doesn’t take care of things. First, I want you to know that not all dentists will lecture you. In fact, some dentists will just be grateful you came and tell you so. Both sets, judgemental and non-judgmental, likely have the same mindset behind their response. They care and want you to get the proper care for your teeth. They go about it different ways, some more productive than others, but they mean well.

It sounds to me like you want dental care, but you need an affordable dentist. There are dentists who work to keep their fees down. They may even work with your schedule, so you don’t lose income. Explain your work situation. It may not be that they hold regular Saturday or evening hours, but would be willing to meet with you twice a year at less than peak times so you don’t lose income to get your teeth cleaned. They wouldn’t want you to advertise they’re doing that, but would be willing to help.

Another option is to consider using a program such as Care Credit. It’s a medical “credit card” of sorts. It allows you to go ahead with treatment and then slowly pay out the bill for the services you receive. Depending on what type of credit you have, you may even be able to get zero interest payments.

Something patients don’t generally consider is how much going to the dentist regularly saves them money, health, and time. If you get your teeth cleaned regularly you’re less likely to develop a cavity. If you do happen to develop one anyway, they’re often caught so early that a simple, small filling will be enough. When things are left to progress without early intervention you end up with a more invasive (and costly) procedure, such as a root canal treatment, or worse, an extraction and the need to get a tooth replacement.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.

Errors and Overcharges From an “Affordable Dentist”

I recently visited a doctor who advertised as an “affordable dentist.” One of my premolars became a problem suddenly. I was in agony and my whole face was swollen. I knew I couldn’t wait until I had more money and see my regular office, so I looked up the name of an affordable dentist online and scheduled right away. I thought I was lucky because he was charging hundreds less for the root canal, but my experience was horrific. He went through the process of doing the root canal and spent nearly two hours doing it. I was almost in tears because he kept jerking my head around and my mouth was open for practically the whole time. Then, he tells me that he wants to prepare the tooth for a crown then and there. He said that the decay was bad and he wanted to get at least that much squared away. I agreed to it, thinking the guy was looking out for me. When he was removing the cavity, I felt it give way and he muttered something and left the room. A few minutes later, another assistant came in and told me my tooth would need to be extracted.

I thought I was lucky because he was charging hundreds less for the root canal, but my experience was horrific. He was rough, made me keep my mouth open for two straight hours while he yanked and grabbed violently.  I was almost in tears.  Then, he tells me that he wants to prepare the tooth for a crown then and there. He said that the decay was bad and he wanted to get at least that much squared away. I agreed to it, thinking the guy was looking out for me. When he was removing the cavity, I felt it give way and he muttered something and left the room. A few minutes later, another assistant came in and told me my tooth would need to be extracted.

I agreed to the extraction and the doctor came back and did it. I wasn’t thinking and just left afterward, only to get a bill about a week later for the root canal and the extraction. I called the office and the lady said the doctor deserved to be paid for his time. Clearly, he was no affordable dentist, but can they actually do this? Is there a law or a rule that protects me here? This wasn’t my fault and I shouldn’t pay for both. I don’t think I should pay at all after facing such horrendous treatment. What now?

Scarlett – Washington


It sounds like he was a little sketchy on the ethics in billing –. Certainly inconsiderate. I understand your frustration. You went to an affordable dentist because you needed the affordable part. This seems like a stab in the back.

My advice would be to first get a copy of your x-ray, so if you need a second opinion on whether he missed something you can get it. Then, talk with their office manager. Tell her it is fair for you to pay for the extraction. .

If that’s not enough, try talking to the dentist directly. Show your x-rays to your current dentist. He should be able to tell you if the other dentist ignored something obvious.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Kevin Peck.