17 years ago I broke a large piece of my tooth and ended up having to get a root canal performed. My dentist at the time drilled out the area that had broken and put a filling in place, and within a day I was ready to knock the tooth out myself. He set up an emergency appointment for me to get a root canal done the following Monday. Everything went according to plan, with the exception of getting a crown put on the tooth. I don't know what the likelihood is of anyone else having a root canal with an exposed filling, but I do since I couldn't afford the procedure the first time. My problem is this: 12 years ago, I saw a dentist who informed me that there was a hairline fracture in the filling. I had felt some odd pains in this tooth before that was ever mentioned, and I thought it was strange to have pain in a tooth with no nerve or pulp in it. As I have gotten older, the tooth is still there, without a crown or anything to cover it, and it seems to be holding up well. My problem now, however, is that about once a week, the tooth in question begins to throb like a toothache, sending sharp pains into my jaw and ear. I have a high pitched ringing in my ear ever since I had this root canal done, and I'm wondering what exactly I should do once again.
There could be an infection that could be treated with antibiotics. That you never got a crown and the filling is cracked is telling. With a root canal, the metal filling is now stronger/harder than your tooth. Once it cracks there is opportunity for decay which loosens the filling even if ever so slightly. Over time, every time you chew you literally drive the filling down into your tooth like a wedge. It is possible to fracture your tooth which would cause pain like you described. Decay would show on an xray, but a fractured tooth likely would not. The jaw pain and ringing in ear is also telling. Root fractures are among the most difficult things for a dentist to diagnose and extraction of the tooth is the only true remedy. I don't mean to alarm you and I hope this is not the case, but if nothing else seems to work, this should become a part of your conversation. Best wishes.
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