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Tooth pain migrating to jaw pain; unbearable
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Tooth pain migrating to jaw pain; unbearable

I had a toothache on a left molar in November, which was satisfied with aspirin at the time. It progressed to the point where a root canal was suggested, but a lack of endodontists in my plan's roster led us to decide to replace the filling instead. It helped for a few weeks.

The pain and sensitivity came back with a vengeance last week; I checked with my PCP and got diagnosed with an ear infection, for which I am on the 4th day of Zithromax. He also gave me Vicodin for the jaw pain. The ear pain has settled down; however, the jaw pain (can't even pinpoint the tooth anymore) is solidly in my left jaw, molar area, and up to the top jaw as well. The pain responds somewhat to aspirin and Vicodin, but comes back in an hour or so after medicating.

The pain itself feels like a vice grip coupled with a sharp throb. It comes in waves, and wakes me from sleep. I cannot concentrate, since the pain affects my ability to concentrate and, in some moments, see. This is not affecting the right side of my mouth at all. I do have some gum erosion on my lower left side, and I historically have had very sensitive teeth (I use Aquafresh sensitive and an Rx flouride gel).

I am wondering if this pain is now beyond a root canal; I have no idea what to consider as next steps, but I need to do something fast, as the pain is debilitating. Thank you....
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
It sounds like you need to have root canal therapy on one of those teeth asap.
7 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
the mistake was (either you or your dentist) selecting a treatment based on your "roster". treatment selection should be based on what is NEEDED, not what you "want" for whatever reason--- roster, finances, etc. If a root canal was needed (and it sounds like it was) and at the time you were unable to do it, the tooth probably should have been extracted. If you broke a bone in your  leg and are in need of a cast, would you consent to putting a band aid on your leg? Now you are paying the price. currently, it sounds like there is infection present. The tooth should be evaluated by a root canal specialist asap. If that is not an option for you, then extracting the tooth is the only viable alternative. But now you have infection to deal with---see your dentist asap to discuss the tooth and advise you.
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Avatar_n_tn
Unfortunately, my dentist was unable to determine whether the root canal was actually needed.... she said it might work, might not. So when the endodontists in my area weren't taking new patients, I went back and asked if any other options existed - that was the decision to replace the old filling.

Because it still wasn't clear whether I actually needed a root canal, I didn't want to be a hysterical patient and get one "just because." I'm also a dental phobic, so believe me, I'm not doing anything unless it's needed, and I'm certainly going to do whatever my dentist tells me is needed!
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Avatar_m_tn
it just seems odd to me becasue you said you dentist "suggested" a root canal, which implies to me that it was needed. You said that something else was done (a filling) because there were no endodontists in your area that are on your roster. The correct solution, it seems, would have be to see an endodontist who is NOT on your roster... To say that something is needed, and then to "try" something else does not make sense to me. From what you say about your symptoms leading up to your dental visit, it seems pretty obvious the nerve was involved and root canal therapy was indicated at that time. "Fillings" are placed to restore decay or to replace older, broken fillings when the nerve is NOT involved.
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Avatar_m_tn
it just seems odd to me becasue you said you dentist "suggested" a root canal, which implies to me that it was needed. You said that something else was done (a filling) because there were no endodontists in your area that are on your roster. The correct solution, it seems, would have be to see an endodontist who is NOT on your roster... To say that something is needed, and then to "try" something else does not make sense to me. From what you say about your symptoms leading up to your dental visit, it seems pretty obvious the nerve was involved and root canal therapy was indicated at that time. "Fillings" are placed to restore decay or to replace older, broken fillings when the nerve is NOT involved.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello
I had same symptoms about 2 months ago. Sharp pains shooting through my right bottom jaw, throbbing toothache, heat and cold sensitive. It was the nerve dying in my tooth. My dentist Xrayed it to confirm this. I had a root canal filling done over 2 appointments. One one hour appointment and one 30 min one. My tooth is now totally pain free. Sounds like your nerve is dying. You must have a root canalif this is the case or eventually you will end up with an infection of the gum or worse. I am really nervous and asked for oral sedation in the form of pills which really helped calm me down. It was fine and went fast and did not hurt.

Good luck
Rachel
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the input!

I saw both my doctor and dentist yesterday; the doctor confirmed that the ear infection is still present, and gave me different antibiotics and stronger pain medication (which worked, yay!). I saw the dentist, and she saw how much pain I was in. She called an endodontist who is fitting me in today for a root canal. This time she was definite about it, so I feel much better knowing that it's not just a "look and see what happens" root canal.

She also made sure that they would properly sedate me, as I have kicked a hygenist badly before during one of my panic episodes. So that will help, thank goodness!

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