Friday, January 12, 2018

Dentally Challenged


In what is an all-time first for me, I seem to be developing a toothache.

My tricky back molar, the one with the almost 10-year-old gold inlay that has given me fits on and off for the entire decade that I've had it, is causing problems again. As I've written before, the tooth has gradually become extremely sensitive to temperature changes. Drinking cold water feels like sticking a live wire in my cheek. I tried Sensodyne toothpaste at the suggestion of the dentist, but that didn't seem to do much.

At my last dental checkup, just a few weeks ago, I asked the dentist about this tooth and he X-rayed it and said it looked fine. But the pain is getting worse, and now the entire side of my face and neck feels a bit swollen and strange. I don't see any visible swelling, but I know something's not right. Fortunately I can still eat and drink, as long as I protect the tooth from temperature extremes.

So I've made another dental appointment for Monday -- the earliest I could get in. I'm also using this opportunity to change dentists to one in my neighborhood (rather than our old neighborhood of Notting Hill). I asked some coworkers who live nearby which dentist they attend and got a recommendation.

I'm just not sure what the future holds for this tooth. Here's the back story, for those of you who are dentophiles (if that's a word). About 22 years ago, when I lived in Florida, I had a cavity filled, and the dentist drilled out a very large area of the tooth -- almost half of it, I think. He put in a conventional filling, but after a little more than a decade, the filling seemed to be degrading. A subsequent dentist (in New York, now) suggested replacing the filling, which he said was really too large to be stable. He said a crown might be an option, but he was afraid so much of the tooth was already gone that there might not be enough left to anchor a crown. So he went with the gold inlay.

In the years since, that inlay has popped out twice, forcing me to make emergency trips to the dentist to have it re-installed. And the tooth has never felt quite right.

So -- a root canal? A crown? Either would be a first for me. We'll see what this new guy suggests!

(Photo: Shoreditch, East London.)

17 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

Ouch I had a similar thing last year and the x-ray showed nothing. But ended up having root canal work and a crown fitted and now it's fine. Good luck with yours!

crafty cat corner said...

There's something spooky here, lol
I was up last night with toothache taking ibuprofen. Mine is a back molar that is loose, another old age condition sadly. This morning it seems okay again but there is the constant fear that it will suddenly start and not stop. I hate the dentist but I now have to pluck up the courage to make an appointment possibly to have the thing out.
Good luck with yours.
Briony
x

Yorkshire Pudding said...

If you sense that there might be some swelling, you have probably got an infection - perhaps a developing abscess. It's disappointing that you didn't post a picture of the offending tooth to accompany this blogpost.

e said...

Yikes! I hope there's a quick resolution that works...

37paddington said...

Don’t mess with a possible tooth abscess my friend. It can lead to all sorts of systemic problems. Glad you’re seeing another dentist.

Red said...

Good luck with your dental work. Dentists can do miracles but sometimes it's over. I hope there's one more miracle with your tooth.

Sharon Anck said...

I don't envy you at all. I certainly hope they come up with a positive solution.

The Bug said...

Remember the weekend before my surgery when I thought my tooth was infected & I might have to cancel the surgery? Someone recommended that I swish with salt water & then gargle with mouthwash. I did it all that weekend & it worked to calm the tooth down. Now it still flares up every now & then - I know I need a root canal, but I've got other priorities right now :)

robin andrea said...

Good luck with all of it. I hope you have no pain over the weekend and the Monday visit goes well.

Catalyst said...

Pull it! No more problem.

ellen abbott said...

pain in teeth is hard to pinpoint. I was have pain in the second to last molar on the bottom. dentist couldn't find anything wrong with it but the pain persisted and finally he did a root canal which stopped the pain...temporarily. went out to dinner a few months later and bit down on that side/tooth and the pain came back. went back to the dentist to discover the last molar had a crack in it. so he did a root canal on that one and problem solved. unfortunately, the first root canal was done on a healthy tooth. he called it pain transference.

Stubblejumpers Café said...

Steve, lots of times what seems like a toothache is actually in my gums. I rinse my mouth with a teaspoon of salt mixed into a cup of warm water, and it does wonders. Hope it's something so simple for you! -Kate

jenny_o said...

Oh, lord - I could go on for hours about my various dental adventures and misadventures but I will refrain :) Bottom line: teeth are not as straightforward as we think they should be. And there is little worse than a toothache or a headache. You can't seem to get away from the pain. The dentist may have an emergency telephone number on the weekends - if you are in a lot of pain suddenly, you can try calling their regular number and see if they have a message to that effect. I love my current dentist. She has a careful, logical, conservative approach when she isn't sure what the problem is, she is so pleasant and encouraging, and she's excellent at the actual restoration and other technical stuff that is the basis for so much dental work. I will never enjoy going to the dentist but she makes it bearable. I hope for the same for you with your new dentist.

Vivian Swift said...

Professional dentistry is one of the best things about living in the 21st century. I can't bear thinking what people had to put up with in olden times. A toothache is indeed one of the worst pains in life and I hope your teefer problems are minor and routine and fixed up with one visit to one of those modern miracle workers.

Vivian Swift said...

I also wanted to say that the photo of the gates is gorgeous. Just beautiful. It looks like early morning, probably on your way to work? What a good life you have. to come upon such everyday loveliness. And what an eye you have.

Iris said...

A crown would be the next thing to go for, unless your new dentist discovers that your tooth is beyond that now. Then a root canal is the next thing. Although a root canal is a bit of a time consuming visit, it is no big deal if your dentist is good. Actually, an endodontist is the one who should do it. After that your tooth will be dead, never hurt again and, yet, stay in your mouth! Win-win situation. Best of luck with it!

Steve Reed said...

Wow! Thanks for all the feedback on my teeth, everybody! I guess dentistry is one thing that unites us all, right?! Fortunately the pain was a little better yesterday (and is still relatively mild even at the worst of times) so I think I'll be able to get through the weekend before being seen on Monday.

I'll try the swishing-with-salt-water technique.

Vivian, thanks for the comment on my photo. I firmly believe ALL of us come upon such everyday loveliness. One thing that my photography has done is help me SEE things that were around me all the time.