Monday, March 2, 2009

NPR - A tooth update

Update at end

Original Post June 2008

I know, a toothy post. And yes, that's a polaroid of a molar, number 30 for all you dental aficionados, and that's a bloody tooth. My dentist discovered it last year when the original filling developed a crack and he found a cavity beginning to develop underneath the filling. When he drilled away the filling and surrounding tooth, he found blood-stained tooth tissue.

When he found it, and after saying it was the first time he's seen this condition and invited everyone in the clinic to see it, he said it's rare because there's no overt or obvious cause for the blood stain in the tooth. He said blood will leak into a tooth from the nerve canal or a crack in the root and always is the sign of tooth decay with soft tissue, but here there were no signs of leakage and it's solid tissue. The only answer seems to be that it developed when the tooth was formed, hardened with the blood stain, and then sealed itself.

He said the remaining tooth, root and nerve are fine and healthy, and I now have a lopsided cap on it. When I went back for the the permanent cap he said he couldn't find any other dentists who remember seeing a tooth like this one. It only goes to show you we all have our individuality, even it's buried in a tooth. And sadly tooth numer 31 has the same condition, a cavity under a 17-year old ceramic filling.

What's a dentist's favorite saying? "Get out your checkbook, this is going to hurt." And they don't mean just physically, but financially too.

Update, March 2, 2009. In December the gum around the tooth swelled up and appeared to become infected. A trip to the dentist didn't show anything wrong with tooth, such as a cavity, split crown, etc.,, and he suggested waiting to see if it got better, and considering my routine visit was in January, he could see if things had changed. Things did.

Comparing x-rays one and two years previous showed a significant density loss in the bone undernearth tooth (molar). So he had me see an Endodonic specialist (those root canal guys). The Endodonists suggested the root canal had an infection that somehow had spread to the bone and there was anyway of seeing let alone doing anything without a root canal. Well, considering the tooth felt just slightly loose, I said ok, Remember we're talking $1,500 (no dental insurance).

Well, all is done and fine. The root canal worked and found a small hole through the tooth into the bone, where and how the infection leaked into the bone. Now it's wait and see, but they said the bone should heal back to normal since the source of the infection is gone and the body will fight it and rebuild the bone density.

And the red dentine? Well, the Endodonist suggested it was from something tramatic with the tooth, but there is no indications when it happened, but he removed it to insert the filling. He's sending copies of the photos and report to my dentist to check and monitor the tooth over time and he'll see me and it in 6 months to check the results.

Or at least that's the story to date, one good tooth, with a root canal, a crown and a filling.

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