I chipped my tooth, and now I'm getting a strange taste in my mouth.
February 14, 2010 11:16 AM   Subscribe

I chipped my tooth, and now I'm getting a strange taste in my mouth.

A piece of crunchy peppermint chocolate chipped part of one of my molars off. I've had a lot of fillings, particularly in my molars, and I'm *guessing* it is probably a filling that came loose rather 'real' tooth.

That was almost a week ago. There's no pain, and I've still been able to eat, although I'm trying to be gentle around the chipped tooth. I'm not seeing the dentist for another week and a half - they claimed not to be able to give me an 'emergency' appointment any sooner, and since there's no pain, I decided it wasn't worth trying to go somewhere else.

However, a couple of times over the past few days, including right now, I've been getting a weird taste in the side of my mouth where the tooth resides. It's an unpleasant, earwaxy kind of taste, and a bit sharp and bitter like blood. This time it started about 30 minutes after I flossed and brushed my teeth (gently around the chipped tooth) - I'm not sure if that's significant as I can't remember whether I had recently brushed my teeth on the other occasions.

Does anyone know what this might be? Is it anything I should worry about? Is there anything I can do about it?

Thanks everyone.
posted by Kirn to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
IANYD but I grew up in a dental family: what you are tasting here is 95% likely a bit of the metallic taste of the newly exposed amalgam -- previously hidden behind the now-broken surface of the molar -- along with a bit of the decay beneath it (the unpleasant bit). Restorations are held in place by binding to the physical architecture of the tooth and if there is a bit of decay still left beneath it, the restoration is that much weaker. Imagine walking along a plank which rests firmly on some cinder blocks and then imagine walking on one that has a cinder block under each end but a gap beneath it in the middle: this is a restoration with some decay beneath, and it is much less stable (this is likely why it broke in the first place). Nothing to worry about and not much to be done. On the other hand, it will probably diminish, the way the metallic taste from a new filling does over a few days.

The smaller possibility is that you have an abscess and the bad state is the abscess draining. However, if there is no pain, this is quite unlikely.

If you start getting any pain, call your dentist and move the appointment up; if not, you have a minor distraction for a couple of weeks (which will likely gradually reduce anyway between now and the repair).
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:42 AM on February 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Same exact thing happened to me about 3 weeks ago. The dentist posited that it was "draining." (Draining what, I don't know and I really didn't want to ask). That lasted about a week. FWIW this was also on my molar, also near a filling. It had stopped by the time I got my root canal. NOT saying you're going to need one too, IANAD, but that was the protocol for my tooth.
posted by contessa at 11:47 AM on February 14, 2010

IANYD. It's not likely that anything that you are tasting, be it old filling, decay, liner material, or even pus, is going to hurt you in the short run, and whatever it is will wash out sooner if you keep the area clean. first thing monday morning call your dentist and give them an update, they may have gotten a cancellation over the weekend and might get you in sooner.
you could go to the pharmacy and get some temp material and plug it over the hole, but if this is a draining abcess that might exacerbate the situation by allowing pressure to build.
Pain, swelling or fever should move you to the front of the line.
Good luck
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:48 PM on February 14, 2010

That's uncanny... the same thing happened to me about three weeks ago. In my case, my dentist squeezed me in the next day to put a temporary crown on, over the old filling. Unfortunately, it turns out an infection had already started in the tooth root underneath the old filling, so a few days later the pain began, and it got worse immeasurably over a few more days, culminating in a mostly-dead tooth and a root canal. Yay.

The upshot of this is, (1) I'd suggest you call around for another dentist who accepts your insurance, and try to get seen as soon as possible, and (2) if the worst happens and you do need a root canal, root canals are actually not bad at all, about like having a filling done only it takes a bit longer.
posted by 2xplor at 6:28 PM on February 14, 2010

Thanks very much everyone.
posted by Kirn at 1:33 AM on February 16, 2010

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