QUESTION: Last week I had an old filling removed from a molar and replaced with a new one..That same day I could not chew on that side and still can't. They checked my bite 2 days later, it was fine. I still cannot chew on that side because the shooting sharp pain I cannot take. On day 4 I started to feel a dull ache and sought a second opinion. They prescribed amoxicillin and a pain killer and said I would either need a root canal or an extraction. Frustrated I saw my regular dentist today and they said we could "test" it with a temporary medicated filling..I am very frustrated as I learned 3 other molars have to be removed ( I'm only 30 and my teeth look great) and I would like to save this tooth, however I cannot take any more pain..I would like to know if a medicated filling will cause me even more pain, more damage to the tooth, and is it really worth it in the long run or am I just postponing the inevitable? Please help.

ANSWER: Crystal, thank you for this excellent question. Firstly let me show some empathy for you and let you know that I appreciate what you are going through. If the antibiotic and pain medication did not improve it then we have to look for another cause for you pain other than abscess.  Usually there will be improvement if there is an abscess at least temporarily.  I wonder how large this filling is because even with a medium size filling the tooth might have a crack in it.  If that is the case then, assuming the break is not too severe, then a root canal would be warranted.  The medicated filling of which you speak is good for minor pain but not what you are describing. Why are you losing the three other teeth? Are they wisdom teeth?  If the break in the tooth goes into the root then extraction is the only cure for your pain and even a root canal will not be of help.  The medicated filling would not cause more pain but from what you've described I do not think it would be of any benefit so I guess further evaluation of this tooth is warranted. Is this tooth sensitive to hot and cold and how long does the pain last if you get something hot on it and it starts to hurt? The same question for cold.  I think the least I would do is what is called a pulpotomy which is the first step of a root canal and see if that would relieve your discomfort but what really troubles me is the loss of the three other molars.

Dr. Karmen

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QUESTION: Thanks for responding, still confused about my tooth problem. Well today I went back to dentist #2 and she did a medicated filling, but she said it is not the kind that will save my tooth, it is the kind that will help the pain but within a month I either need a root canal ( which I cannot afford) or extraction. The medicine taste in my mouth is horrible and she left a small piece of cotton inside the tooth. The filling was very deep and she thinks the pulp is exposed. I'm still very afraid to chew on this side and have not yet today, and can't understand why she had to do this in order to pull it instead of just pulling it? I was told that my other molars are already 80 percent filling and have decay so the best thing to do would be to pull them...Also yes it is sensitive to cold and the pain lingers after eating something like ice-cream.

Hello again Crystal and I am again sorry you're having this difficulty.  I think what she is trying to do is to get the tooth to calm down and stop hurting before forcing you to lose it.  It would be possible to extract this tooth right now assuming there is no serious infection going on which it does not sound like there is. If you do not have a fever, no swelling and the x-ray is negative then it could be removed now.  Being sensitive to cold is a bit normal for a tooth like this but if the pain lingers for 15 minutes it's hopeless and needs the root canal or extraction.  I hope this answers you and if I can be of further help always feel free to ask me.

Dr. Karmen


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Thomas Karmen


All general dentistry questions, especially those related to fixed prosthetics. Endodontics, Periodontics, and implants, minor oral surgery I can't answer much about othodontics nor advanced treatment of carcinoma nor deep tissue surgery nor osseous surgery such as jaw reduction or advancement.


DDS In general practice and consulting with having done some lecturing for local dental societies.

ADA and Florida Dental Association and Iowa Dental association

DDS degree

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