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With all the bad news about stiff competition and price erosion, I thought we all could use a “feel good” reminder that you deliver an invaluable service to the patients who receive your work; I’m one of them!
In March 2013, I went to a local general practitioner to have number 14 looked at. I was unable to chew without getting a shooting pain. (I wrote about this earlier and, for the details and more photos, go to http://lmtmag.com/series/baddentistry.)
Unfortunately, because this dentist didn’t realize how traumatized the tooth was—and didn’t give it a chance...
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Sometimes one poor decision turns a routine restoration into an expensive, time-consuming series of additional procedures and discomfort. I think there were two poor decisions made in my case. Check one for the practitioner and one for me.
This is my story and it pretty much dominated my summer.
Lately, Iâd noticed some pain when chewing, but I wasnât sure whether it was coming from that tooth or the opposing PFM crown. Though #19 had a root canal [the one from LMTâs second crown experiment, 1987], there was a chance that the tooth had cracked.
Decision day. I went in to have the filling removed to see what was left of the tooth. Even this standard procedure is one that separates excellent dentists from just okay dentists. Unfortunately, this dentist is "just okay."
After the decision was made, I learned that there were several things she might have been able to do to better stabilize this tooth. But none of these things were on the table.
Take another look at the X-ray. [And, by the way, take a look at the bitewing to note the occlusion.] Note that there is a good amount of natural tooth surrounding the filling. From her...
The Night of June 6
A bunch of us were sitting around the fire pit on my patio, protected from the rain by a covered pergola. It was a Thursday night. We—LMT staff members, Andy and I—were enjoying our visitors from the Chicago LAB DAY setup team. Without warning, my laughter was replaced with a yelp; what started as a low-grade ache suddenly turned into a searing pain in my mouth.
I knew in that instant that #14 was saying it's time for that root canal procedure.
But we still had another day of scheduled activities with our visitors, so ibuprofen and I coexisted until Monday morning...
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After the Fall
After finally finding my fallen crown, I gently ran my tongue across the prepped area. It felt like a wizard's hat: thin, tall and pointy.
We headed for home but made a stop for lunch along the way. That's when the wizard's hat came loose. I now held it in my hand. It didn't look or feel like a piece of my tooth. I stashed it in the plastic bag that held my crown and called my once husband/dentist Rob.
Since my appointment with the prosthodontist was over a week away, he said, "Stop by my house on your way home, I'll cover the exposed root with cement for added protection. You...
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The following week, the prosthodontist confirmed that, indeed, the next step would be the crown lengthening procedure followed by six weeks of healing time before he would insert a post to further support the crown. And, as Bill Mrazek, CDT, recommended, the best restoration in this case, would be a PFM. He and his office are the cat's meow when it comes to professionalism and patient care and I'm fortunate to become their patient.
The periodontist he recommended was the same one I'd already called so that added to my feeling of being in the right hands. I've since had the crown lengthening procedure....
This week I was scheduled to have two posts placed in my crown-lengthened tooth. That didn't happen.
Instead of feeling no pain in the tooth, it became increasingly sensitive to pressure. Then, a few weeks ago, I couldn't tolerate anything cold in that quadrant of my mouth. So I went to see the prosthodontist who tapped the teeth in the area. The cold sensitivity was coming from #15, not #14 and he thought it would go away. It did.
But he also acknowledged that #14 should not be sensitive to touch. He sent me back to the endodontist. He considered for a second the possibility of a fourth canal...