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Old 07-30-2011, 05:22 PM   #1
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Exclamation Need help please- 4 surface cavity?

Hi there

I went to the dentist recently and one of my teeth apparently needs a 4 surface filling. while i know what this means i am concerned because my dentist said it might need a root canal but he is not sure. i've had whole mouth xrays, bitewings AND single xrays done on this tooth and how can he not know if it needs a root canal? i also know the cavity is re-current decay because it's under an old filling i had done 6 years ago.

i'm not having any symptoms of pain on this tooth except random weird feeling of the tooth when i start to think about it a lot or panic, maybe can be described as a slight, slight slight ache that does away. i do not notice any night-time pain. he did the cold test on a normal tooth and the one in question and both teeth reacted the same way: pain and then it vanished without lingering.

i am getting a second opinion but i am just wondering if anyone knows if a 4 surface filling will last or eventually lead to a root canal or if i REALLY do require a root canal like my dentist said? how is it possible that he doesn't know if i need one? and if anyone has experience with 4 surface (deep cavity) fillings i'd appreciate it. the other advice i was given was that i get a filling that is temporary and if it starts to hurt, then get a root canal. i'm just confused about what to do. i should also note that i can see a little brown specks under my old filing but my tooth isn't black or anything.

anyyyy help would be great, i'm freaking out about this because i do not have dental insurance and cannot afford to spend $1000 on a procedure i might not need. thanks so much!

ps- if this helps, it's tooth number "46" or a back molar, lower right side. thanks

Last edited by headswillroll; 07-30-2011 at 05:24 PM.

 
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:27 PM   #2
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Re: Need help please- 4 surface cavity?

A four surface filling is a filling that requires four surfaces of your tooth to be filled,
(a three surface filling, for example, would be mesial, occlusal and distal, which means that there is decay to the front of the tooth, the middle part of the tooth and the back part of the tooth) as you already know. The problem with x-rays is that they may not always tell 100% of the story. You can have decay that gets removed and doesn't expose the nerve and you wouldn't need root canal. You can have decay that is so rampant that it gets TO the nerve and in order to get the decay out there's no choice but to hit the nerve- and then you would need root canal. It is entirely up to how much decay is hidden in there.
Decay is sneaky so I am in full agreement with your present dentist when he says that he is not sure, but is warning you that there is the possibility you will need root canal.
That is good dentistry, in my opinion.
If the decay can be totally removed without going near the nerve, then your filling can last a very long time and you probably won't need root canal. If the decay is rampant, once the dentist goes in there with his drill he will know right away.
Hope this helps,

Sue

 
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