Cracked Tooth Syndrome in a dead tooth-- pre-vacation edition.
July 31, 2018 4:35 PM   Subscribe

You are not my dentist or endodontist. I have both of those. I have bruxitis and sleep with a night guard, but I don't always use it regularly. I am having a problem with a back left molar which had a root canal many years ago which seems like it might be cracked tooth syndrome. I am leaving on a two week vacation in ten days. How can I best time this with minimal risk?

A few months ago I noticed mild intermittent pain when I chewed gum on the upper right side. I suspected a molar with a filling of causing problems. I went to the dentist who took xrays and found nothing. I stopped chewing gum. The problem went away.

A few weeks ago the pain when chewing recurred and I noticed mild pain around the gum line. The pain this time was clearly linked to a molar on the upper left side which had a root canal and crown five years ago. My (very relaxed) dentist thought it was likely linked to my bruxitis and recommended I wear my night guard more regularly. He said if it got worse, it might be cracked tooth syndrome and I should go to my endodontist.

Now it's getting worse (not more painful, but less intermittent), and I'm about to head to my endodontist, but I have questions. I am leaving for a reasonably strenuous hiking trip in ten days. My endodontist is not relaxed. He's very good, but he tends to err on the cautious side and likes to do procedures. I realise that if the tooth is badly cracked, the likely treatment is extraction and implant. I obviously can't do that and still hike in a week.

Has anyone gone through something similar? My vacation is expensive and my travel insurance will not cover cancellation for tooth issues (I checked).

Can anyone share stories and timelines with cracked tooth syndrome? Or does anyone have similar experience which may be relevant?
posted by frumiousb to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
I just had this happen. I had the tooth extracted. I was much better in a week. I still had soreness a week later, but nothing dramatic. I don't see why you couldn't have an extraction and hike in a week. It's not ideal. But I would pick that over cracked tooth pain, which was much worse than extraction pain. Extraction, to me, felt like someone punched the shit out of me in the jaw. The recovery seemed equivalent to a good punch in the face. Much better in 72 hours. YMMV
posted by orsonet at 5:22 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

This was me 3 weeks ago. Cracked tooth and leaving on vaca for 2 weeks in 5 working days. I called around and found a dentist who had an oral surgeon on site so I could go from the exam to the extraction by walking to the next room. (Honestly, the things that fell into place that day were ridic. I was super lucky.)
They pulled the tooth, and I needed to have only liquids for probably 2 days, mushy food for the rest of the week, and by about 10 days after extraction, I was eating normal food, albeit carefully. You’ll need to take an antibiotic for a week. I also had to rinse twice daily with chlorihexidine gluconate. (I’m likely spelling that incorrectly.) They didn’t tell me how long the do that for, so I did it for 10 days.

The implant can be done later. I didn’t have mine done the same day.

I think you could be ok as long as you’re super careful with what you eat, you follow the care regimen, and you have a little luck. I’m wishing you the luck.
posted by greermahoney at 7:57 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm a hiker, and a dentist. If you were my patient I'd say deal with the tooth before your trip. Post-op pain is manageable and a known thing, a steadily worsening untreated problem has too many variables that could ruin your trip.
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:15 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

I had a painful tooth that cracked the day before I had a two week business trip. If I remember correctly I only had to delay my trip two days to get a root canal done with a temporary filling and went on my trip with no problem you should be good. Having an extraction is like a worst case scenario.

In fact I had a root canal this afternoon. I was at the regular detist in the morning and she said I needed a root canal. I got into the endodontis a few hours later and had the procedure done.

It's wierd, the place were I got the numbing shots hurts worse than any part of the procedure. That and my pocketbook.
posted by Che boludo! at 8:49 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks MetaFilter! I went to my dentist this afternoon and both my regular dentist and specialist agreed the tooth needed to come out and they were able to schedule it immediately. It was kind of an ordeal, but they also think I should be fine for hiking in ten days.

Currently biting on a bit of gauze to stop the bleeding. :)
posted by frumiousb at 4:51 AM on August 1, 2018 [3 favorites]

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