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Dentistry/Dead Molar?

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Question
I chipped my back right molar (the one right before my wisdom tooth) about 8 months ago.  It didnt hurt at all until about 4 months ago.  It hurt to chew on the tooth for about 2 months.  My back right wisdom tooth then started coming in, and i noticed it was pushing on it, which I assume was the cause of a lot of the pain.

 Then it stopped hurting so much, and a lump started forming on the outside of the gum, which I assume meant it was infected.  The bump would come and go over the next couple months.  Now it doesnt hurt at all to bite down on it, however I have a strange dull pain in my neck, lower right jaw area, my ear feels clogged, and I get a slight headache every now and then right by my ear.  When checking around my neck, there is a swolen lump up by my jaw bone, which I assume is my gland, as there is a smaller lump on the opposite side of neck.  None of this pain is unbearable at all, its all slight dull throbs, not unlike the symptoms I get when I have a sinus infection.

I just acquired dental insurance, and have made an appointment to get it checked out.  What im wondering is if it could possibly be a serious problem.  Judging by what I've read, it seems as if the tooth is dead.  What are the chances, in 8 months, that the infection has spread to my jaw, or worse, my skull or brain?

Thanks for any info you can give me to help ease my stress.

Kevin Jordan

Answer
Kevin,
You're right, it does sound like the tooth is infected and there is a some swelling in your jaw.

I would make an appointment with an Endodontist as soon as you can.  Endodontists are specialists in root canals, related surgeries, and managing oral facial pain.  In doing a root canal, the inside is cleaned out by the endodontist, the bone will heal (about 95% success), and you can save your tooth.

There is a significant association with dental infections and major complications:  though the % is low.  I would watch for any of these key signs or symptoms:  fever, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, your tongue feels raised, visible swelling.  If you have any of these symptoms, contact your dentist or visit the local hospital emergency root immediately.

Otherwise, I would make the appropriate dental appointments with a general dentist and an endodontist.

Best of Luck,
KG Amin, DMD

Austin Center for Endodontics (Root Canal Specialists)
Austin Center for Endodontics
www.rootcanalspecialists.org

Dentistry

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Ketan Amin, DMD

Expertise

Graduating from Harvard School of Dental Medicine, I received a broad understanding of both medicine and dentistry. I continued my training at New York University, as a dental specialist in endodontics, which concerns root canal therapy, related surgeries, as well as diagnosing and managing various forms of pain occurring in the head and neck

Experience

Dentistry; Specialist in Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy).

Organizations
American Association of Endodontics American Dental Association American Academy of OroFacial Pain

Education/Credentials
Harvard School of Dental Medicine-Doctorate in Dental Medicine (DMD) New York University College of Dentistry-Certificate, Endodontics

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