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Dentistry/Unidentified source of pain in relatively healthy molar


Hello. I have only recently acquired dental insurance, so when I visited the dentist for the first time in a few years there were a few problems to address; namely the extraction of a wisdom tooth, and a root canal.
Since then I have experienced pain in the second lower molar at irregular intervals - the pain feels deep and achey, not sharp, and it comes and goes unpredictably, not brought on by pressure or temperature. The only things I've noticed which tend to bring the pain on are stress/anxiety and bodily movement - for example, if I am bumped or if I jump from a height, I tend to feel the impact in the tooth first.
My dentist is unable to identify any problems with the tooth. At first it was thought the pain was from a tooth directly infront of the second molar, and a root canal was performed on that tooth. No change with the molar. A large x-ray was taken of all my teeth, with no abnormal signs. Likewise with smaller x-rays of the teeth in question.
The pain appears to be getting worse day by day, and sometimes ibuprofen and Vicodin have no effect. Occasionally I will have a whole day with no pain at all, but this seems to be less and less often.
Do you have any ideas about what could be causing this pain, in a tooth identified by a competent professional as being pretty much completely healthy? The tooth does have a small cavity, but he said that this would cause sensitivity rather than the sort of pain I'm experiencing.
I bit down on an olive pit a few weeks ago, and I believe it was the tooth in question that took the brunt of the impact. Is it possible that there could be a hairline crack in the tooth? I have every confidence in my dentist - is it plausible that he might miss something like that?
One more thing: I am quite convinced that the pain is in this tooth. Pain can be hard to quantify and identify accurately, but because of these ongoing concerns I have poked and prodded the tooth with my tongue while looking in the mirror. There was some debate about the exact location of the pain when I first spoke to my dentist about this tooth, and at this point he decided to work on the tooth (bicuspid?) in front of that one. After that, I paid particular attention to trying to locate the source of the pain. The first session on this tooth was, in fact, with a different dentist at the same surgery - so 2 have confirmed that the tooth I claim to be the source of pain appears to be healthy according to their visual check, percussive/temperature tests, bite tests, and x-rays. And yet the pain persists...

hi mathew
this sounds like a cracked tooth... a small crack thats evaded your drs.
i suggest you get a root canal done on this second molar.
all the tests you have mentioned may not be accurate in all situations. its more like a judgement call.
take a 3rd opinion from an endodontist before you take a leap of faith.
best wishes
dr m


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dr mayank kaurani BDS, MDS


rootcanals, cosmetic dentistry, dental pain, cavities, tooth colored fillings, endodontic diagnosis, post & cores, ceramic veneers, composite fillings, dental whitening, bleaching etc. please remember: i cannot treat you online and neither can i touch your teeth or test their health! i can give you general suggestions and critically evaluate various treatments and offer my advice.


14 years of clinical experience. i am a professor in a postgraduate dental school, in the department of endodontics. my primary field of specialization is in endodontics and conservative dentistry. i am a consultant endodontist in private dental clinics and run my own clinic restricted to conservative dentistry & endodontics since 2006.

DENTAL SPA, JAIPUR (INDIA). Mahatma Gandhi Dental College, jaipur(india)

new york state dental journal journal of contemporary dental practise

BDS, MDS (conservative dentistry & endodontics)

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