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Dentistry/Re: Discomfort after having a temporary crown placed on molar


QUESTION: Hello, Dr. Burnett:

Please, I need your opinion about this: about 3 days ago I had a temporary crown placed on a molar. The molar was healthy, no problems with it, but a dentist told me that the tooth could get fracture due to an old, deep feeling and it needed a crown to be protected. During the procedure to have a temporary crown I felt a tool around my tooth's gum borders and I had a burning sensation. I felt like a smell of something burning. Surely my tissues were burned. I have a dull pain in the exterior part of the tooth now covered by that crown. There is a nasty-looking dark line around the tooth - blood?- the gum receded and I can touch bone. When I lay down the dull pain, something it bothers me, worsens. I have a burning feeling, a pressure inside the tooth. What's your opinion: what happened there? I'm going to see this dentist next week and I'll ask her to remove that crown: I don't want that crown. Could the dentist remove this temporary crown without my tooth be affected by it? I don't want a crown anymore.  At this point in time I don't trust this dentist anymore. Did the dentist burned my gum with that tool she used and for that reason I still have that burning sensation, that dull pain? I included a pic for you to see.  I really would appreciate your answer, I feel very anxious, upset

ANSWER: Hello Allen,
I didn't find your photo attached but I will try to answer your questions based upon what you wrote.

First and most important I want you to know that although a dentist can tell you if a filling is broken, a dentist cannot predict that an intact filling will break in the future.  If I went to a dentist and he or she told me that one of my fillings, no matter what size, will break and that we need to do a preventive crown, I would assume the dentist was using his expertise and authority to sell me unnecessary dentistry, and I would be angry.

Im not saying this must be the case in your situation because that dentist may see some defect that you and I Are not aware of.  You might ask her how she could predict your filling was in imminent danger of breaking.  And if so, why not do the crown after it breaks.  There is no way to predict where and how a filling would break, i.e. Like under  the gum  

Regarding the burning smell and resultant pain.  The burning smell may have come from neglectful overheating of the tooth while drilling, or more likely from an instrument that is designed to remove gum tissue by burning it away instead of cutting it with a scalpel.  Either of these things could be the cause of the discomfort you are having now.  If the electro surge was used in a way that the jawbone around the tooth was exposed, this would increase severity  and healing time from the wound.

I hope your dentist can give you other reasons for the problems.  I just want you to have factual information to help you judge for yourself.

Please be aware that your dentist can see what I can't so  you must stay open for a plausible explanation other than what I have written.

Larry Burnett DDS

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Dr. Burnett:

I'm grateful for your answer. I don't have more discomfort now.
I want to ask you this follow-up question: Right now I have a temp crown on my molar as I said,  I have not a root canal, as I said before the dentist said the filling was old and deep and it could fracture the tooth. I made the mistake of not asking for a second opinion. I believe what you said. My question is this now, and I ask you please, give me your expert opinion: I'm about to have a permanent crown on that molar in two weeks. What would happen if that tooth got a decay and it has a crown on it? Would it be possible to have a filling having a crown there? The dentist said the possibilities of having a decay are almost zero because the tooth is protected with the crown. In your opinion, Dr. Burnett, is this true? My question is this now: should I go ahead and have a permanent crown placed on it in two weeks? Or should I ask for a refund and have my temp crown taken off? I feel confused and angry too, because I think that dentist fooled me to charge me for a crown I didn't need.  I had wondered  how the dentist knew that tooth could fracture without a crown if it was healthy? I fell for it. Now, I wonder if I should go ahead for a permanent crown. I already paid $1,400 making a great effort. I'd appreciate your answer, please. Thank you so much

When a crown gets new decay around or under it, that usually requires another crown.  The average life of a crown is about 10 years.  The usual reason for failure .is new decay..

It is too late to change your mind.  Your best hope would be for the dentist to finish giving you the final crown at a reduced or no fee.

Larry Burnett DDS


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Larry Burnett DDS


Preventative Dentistry. Conservative Periodontal Therapy


National lecturer on conservative treatment of periodontal diseases and elimination of tooth decay. Former adjunct professor of oral microbiology at a Leading school of dental hygiene. Former investigator for State Board of Dentistry. Retired from private dental practice.


RDH Magazine. Numerous articles

Graduate of Medical College of VA School of Dentistry. 20 years teaching hygienists at NOVA

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