Pain when chewing with a composite filling. Will I need (yet another) root canal? And what's up with my teeth, anyway?!
Since last autumn (see this previous question
) I've had a series of about a dozen fillings done, all on my bicuspids and molars. My current dentist was the one I went to for a second opinion; the first dentist suggested expensive onlays, not fillings, to treat my cavities--which I've seen both in the mirror and on my X-rays--but when I went to get a second opinion, the second dentist suggested that none of the cavities were deep enough to necessitate an indirect restoration. I felt much more comfortable with the approach of the new dentist (more conservative, it seemed), not to mention the cost, so he's been slowly filling my cavities over a course of several months.
His office only does composite fillings. The vast majority of those composites have been fine. However, three of the cavities were in teeth with existing amalgam fillings. He drilled out the amalgam and replaced them with composites. These three teeth have been problematic, to say the least. One flared up into a terrible toothache that was both heat and cold sensitive with a gum fistule above it. With another--a lower molar--the bite felt off. He readjusted it twice, but my jaw felt increasingly achy and eventually became heat sensitive and started waking me up at night. I asked my asked my dentist for a referral to an endodontist, who tested both teeth and determined they needed root canals. The root canals were painless and I now have temporary fillings in both; I'm returning to my dentist on Thursday to get started with the permanent restorations.
The third tooth, also a lower molar, was the only tooth with any sensitivity before the fillings were done (to sweets). I now have sharp pain when chewing on food on that tooth--the pain seems to radiate from the center of the tooth, and is worse if there's a piece of food stuck on it. However, it doesn't hurt or have any other sensitivity at any other time. There's no acheyness with cold or heat. There's no pain when biting (only chewing on food!). I asked the dentist to readjust it once, but the sensation hasn't changed at all. I'm using sensodyne and gelkam, which hasn't seemed to make any difference.
I know you are not my dentist--but
, since I'm going to speak to my dentist on Thursday anyway, I'm planning on asking him about it. Google results seem to suggest that either the filling needs to be redone or that I need a root canal. However, the sensation with this tooth is so different
from the other two infected teeth that it seems strange to me that a root canal would be required. I was wondering if any Mefites had similar problems with composites when they replaced amalgams, and if they had any relief from just getting the filling redone--or if I'm just doomed to have another root canal (since I'm out of my dental benefits, and I know this tooth would need a crown too, you can imagine why I'm reluctant!). I'm also curious as to what I should ask for from my dentist--an x-ray of the tooth? Tests to see if it's cracked? A sedative filling placed?
Also, as a follow-up question: from the above, you'd probably think I have terrible oral hygiene. Though I probably was a bit lazy about taking care of my teeth in, like, middle school, that hasn't been the case since my late teens. The longest I've ever gone between cleanings was nine months. I brush 2-3 times a day (sometimes with an electric toothbrush, though I've been using a manual toothbrush since I got the temporary fillings in) and keep floss at my desk and floss constantly. Right now, I'm using both gelkam and an ACT fluoride mouthwash (fluoride city). More than one hygienist has commented that my teeth seem very clean, and that it's clear that I floss. One dentist a few years back casually mentioned that I might have acid reflux, though I've never noticed it, from the color of my molars, but when I mentioned it to my current dentist, he just shrugged and suggested I need to brush more (!). I'll admit I have a bit of a sweet tooth, but I'm doing my best to cut back and always, always brush. Bad (British) teeth do somewhat run in my family, but I'm sort of at a loss as to how I can keep my teeth from getting any worse--and I'm only 26! Am I missing some sort of holy grail of dental health? Should I visit a gastro about acid reflux, or start aking vitamins, or something?
Sorry so long. But clearly, I'm flummoxed.