For the past three months I have been undergoing assorted horrors with an upper left molar. A dentist put a filling in about six months ago for a 'small cavity', but apparently had not fully cleaned out the tooth or the infection had spread, as a very painful abcess developed a few months later. A root canal was performed in early July. Pain and swelling remained; the dentist re-did two of the canals and said to let it settle down. Pain subsided but did not disappear; after three weeks a post was put in. Pain continued, I was put on more antibiotics and a round of steroids to calm down residual swelling. Pain is now mild, but the tooth (which currently has a root canal and a post but no crown) has a fracture in it -- no serious crack or chip but a visible line of fracture along the back. It is still painful to bite on that side and some days I have residual throbbing pain in the area. The dentist is having me wait a MONTH for the pain/swelling to subside as she thinks it is still just residual swelling, and then intends to crown the tooth. She is worried about the crack and is unsure of whether or not I will lose the tooth but thinks that a crown will take care of it.
I am very concerned about this -- what is the logical prognosis at this point? I have spent nearly $12,000 so far on this tooth alone but worry that having it pulled would also be quite expensive, but don't know if there is any other option at this point. I have been in pain for over three months and every single treatment on the tooth in this time has failed or somehow gone wrong. Nothing has made me feel better. I am even more terrified of the dentist than I was to begin with.
The teeth on either side of the problem tooth have also recently had root canals (within the past year), and have crowns on them -- does this mean a bridge would not be an option? What if I am not a candidate for or (more likely) cannot afford implants? Will I need to get a partial denture as a healthy 24 year old woman?