LAB DAY 2012
At dinner with Bill Mrazek, CDT, and his wife, Gloria, during which I asked his advice regarding tooth #14.
Lately, I'd noticed some pain when chewing, but I wasn't sure whether it was coming from that tooth or the opposing PFM crown. Though #19 had a root canal [the one from LMT's second crown experiment, 1987], there was a chance that the tooth had cracked.
"Eventually, I think I'm going to need another crown, but I'm concerned about having two opposing crowns. I don't want to create a TMJ problem," I told Bill.
He recommended that, since the lower molar is a PFM, my best choice might be to have a PFM on #14. Unless, of course, I did have a cracked tooth in which case, #19 would need an implant.
"Keep me posted," he said.
Armed with Bill's advice, I favored the right side of my mouth for the rest of the year before revisiting a dentist, noting that things seemed pretty stable.
I went in for another cleaning. "Do you still have sensitivity on the left?" the dentist asked. "Yes, if I accidentally bite on anything hard there, I get a searing pain."
She tapped #14, 13, 15, 19. I couldn't be sure which one was sensitive.
"You may have a crack in #19." [We thought the pain was coming from the lower molar.] "But it could also be #14; it has a very large filling. At some point, you should probably get a crown on that one."
"It's show season," I said, "I can't think about this now."
"You'll have to address it soon."
The Next Month, After LAB DAY 2013
I went back to the dentist.
"Okay, I don't have any pain on my lower molar. It's coming from the tooth with the large filling [#14]."
History: #14 had a huge filling placed by a dentist in Myrtle Beach, SC. (I lived there for a year.) He told me then—w-a-a-a-y back in 1972—that it may not hold up many years and I may eventually need a crown. So let's see, that was 40 years ago!! He clearly did an amazing job.
The X-ray of that tooth shown above is as it looked in January 2013.
"Ah, I see the problem," said the new dentist. "You have a cracked filling." (I didn't ask how she was able to see it now but didn't see it earlier.)
"I'm concerned about needing an implant if there isn't enough tooth left for a good prep," I said, as though I was schooled in dentistry. "I'd rather save this tooth."
"Also," I said, "I'm going to Europe next week, so I can't schedule this repair now." [I was heading out to the IDS in Cologne with an added week beforehand for touring around Austria.]
"I'd rather not attempt it now in case it does require root canal treatment. That will affect your travel plans. So I'll give you pain medication in case it bothers you while you're away. Try not to chew on that side and I'll see you when you get back."
So far, so good.
On Wednesday, August 14th, I'll share "The Moment of Truth." I'm hoping you'll offer your thoughts on what options the dentist might have recommended in place of the option she took.