I'm in my 40s and I've never had problems with my wisdom teeth, which are all in, until I had a small cavity filled in my upper right wisdom tooth about two months ago. Since then, I have had pain from the tooth, especially when I chew anything, and the filling--which the dentist looked at twice after I had it done--is not too high. The pain now is still there when I bite down but is much less than the first two weeks, which were agonizing and hurt the entire right side of my jaw. The dentist thinks the tooth may have been cracked when filled and referred me to an endodontist, but I am unsure whether I really need a root canal. What are other potential options and would they be done by a regular dentist? I guess I'm wondering about 91) extractions of the top and bottom molar versus a crown versus (2) a crown versus (3) a root canal (plus crown?). I've never had any of these procedures before so I'm somewhat in the dark about where to go next. I'm not in so much pain that I couldn't see a couple of people before deciding what to do. Thank you for your time and suggestions.

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  • Dr.Ritz

    Dr.Ritz 21 - December - 2012, at 02:40 AM

  • It is rare that a wisdom tooth confers any function or can play any logistical role in the overall workings of the mouth. Wisdom teeth are commonly viewed as expendable, and often pose more of a liability than an asset.
    Although there are situations where a wisdom tooth does provide some value (for example, as a support or "abutment" for a fixed bridge or removable partial denture), these situations are uncommon. The filling of a wisdom tooth is sometimes justified if doing so is expedient, and the repair is predictably reliable. On the other hand, if the damage to the tooth is severe and it requires heroics to salvage the tooth (for example, root canal therapy or crown placement), most of the time this would be an excessive expenditure of effort, and extraction is more appropriate.
    I would hope that you and your dentist could collaborate in determining a reasonable and rational course of action. Admittedly, this turns out to be extraction more often than not.

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