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Ask Dr. Katz Your Own Question
Dr. Katz
Dr. Katz, Dentist - DDS
Category: Dental
Satisfied Customers: 3520
Experience:  Dentist and Anesthesiologist for 37 years.Anesthesiology Fellow-Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.Evaluator for Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners.
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Last week a dentists cleaned out and replaced a filling in a

Customer Question

Last week a dentists cleaned out and replaced a filling in a back molar . At that point the filling was made much larger. . The tooth had never hurt before but the following day it hurt. (To be honest it felt like he was jamming the filling in.) Six days later the tooth doesn't hurt but there is some radiating pain in my ear. It does seem to be decreasing. An endodontist looked at the xrays and said I am not a good candidate for a root canal on this tooth and I really don't want one. Can I wait to see what happens and whether the pain decreases before I have the tooth extracted? This is my only remaining back molar on the bottom and attached to a bridge of two teeth that will also need to be removed -- leaving me only with bicuspids. What I really want to know are there any other options besides extraction and a root canal. (I am also on a fixed income and an autoimmune patient so implants are not a great idea nor affordable for me.)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dental
Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 1 year ago.

Is it possible for you to post an xray of this area so that I can get a better idea o what this tooth looks like?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It's the second lower molar on the right. (both in the panoramic and the close up.) The first molar is no longer there - it was removed early this year.
Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 1 year ago.

Your second molar,the one without the bridge attached is probably the one that was extracted.The first bicuspid on the lower right also does not look so good and has a persistent abscess at its tip.If you have no pain or swelling,you can let the bridge on the right stay for as long as you want to but eventually you will need to do something.The cheapest and most expedient way to deal with your situation would be to cut the bridge at the cuspid tooth on the lower right, remove the first molar,remove tooth number 21 on the lower left,let both sides heal and then have a lower cast removable partial made.I am assuming that you are in a full upper denture.This plan would not only remove the infected teeth,but would restore your bite on both sides again without spending a lot of money.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Okay --s. I know that a partial lower is an option But the question I asked was other than root canal (which you don't mention?) or an extraction of the molar (and whatever else going forward). is there any other option? I am kind of upset that this tooth is was fine until now.The tooth with the persistent absess has never caused a problem to date. It shows a minor abscess going back 20 years.
Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 1 year ago.

I don't see any real abscess on the molar but it does show that there is a gum problem from bone loss in the furcation area.That is why doing a root canal on this tooth is not really worth it and I would think about extracting the tooth if it were loose or became abscessed.At this point ,if there is no mobility swelling or pain,leave the tooth alone .I am worried that you have no molars on the opposite side to chew with and that is why a partial would be a good idea.I would just leave the tooth as it is .It does not appear to be a tooth worth putting alot of money into at this point.Watch for any swelling or for any pimple like appearance in the gum and keep the area clean.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I'm hearing that there are no other solutions for the tooth other than extraction or root canal which you do not recommend either. And please confirm what I'm also hearing that if the referred pain I have (right ear) keeps diminishing that's good --and of course if it goes to no pain that's best -- but if it gets worse or has some sign of abscess then take the next step. Correct?
Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 1 year ago.

The pain that you are having in your right ear,most likely has nothing to do with that molar.The ear pain is from an unbalanced bite because the molars on the left are missing and your bite is collapsing.This is called Temporomandibular joint dysfunction.One your bite is restored back to normal by replacing the missing teeth,the ear pain may slowly diminish.If your problem was with the molar,it would hurt and not your ear.The option for the molar if not root canaled or extraction..would be to leave it alone.There is no magic that will cure it.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your time and have a good day.
Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome.Let me know if there are any other concerns.

Expert:  Dr. Katz replied 1 year ago.

When you get a chance ,please supply a rating so that we can maintain good quality control on this site .Thanks