Broken Molar Nightmare

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Jacky32

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Something horrible just happened. Actually it has been a long time coming and I feel really stupid for putting it off so long. Last year I noticed it hurt a little to chew on the right side, and while I should have immediately made an appointment I didn't. A few weeks ago I was eating and felt something hard, and it looked metallic. I had lost a filling, or a piece of one. I knew I had to make an appointment so finally I started preparing myself for it when things got worse. It felt like a huge piece of filling or something was loose. I told my dad and he said he would make an appointment for this week. Up until then I still had hope that it could be saved, maybe just a new filling. Now on to the horrible thing that just now happened...

I was eating a sandwich an hour ago when I felt something break loose and bit into something...crunchy. I spit out the sandwich thinking I had lost the whole filling, but then I felt the tooth with my tongue and....the whole side is gone! :o

It is the top second molar back and the whole inside side of the tooth is gone, all the way down to the gumline (at least). The outside part is still there but that probably doesn't matter. My dad says it will have to be pulled. Now he's not a dentist but I fear he is right, how can half a tooth be saved? I'm ashamed to say that I have never taken very good care of them and while I haven't looked at it out of fear I think it is very probable that the tooth is basically completely rotted out. I've never had a tooth pulled before and the thought of losing one and having an empty space there is a nightmare. Maybe I'm overreacting but I am literally crying right now, and I'm home alone so there is no one to talk to about it or comfort me. It doesn't hurt yet, and that is part of the reason I put it off so long. No pain? Ignore it and pretend nothing is wrong. What a stupid thing to do but that is me. So anyway they are taking me to the dentist tomorrow. I'm sure this is not even the only problem I have. I do have gingivitis and probably need other teeth fixed but right now the only thing I can think about is my half a tooth and that it will most likely be completely gone tomorrow. I hope they'll put me to sleep because I'm very squeamish and intolerant of pain. How can I go through this? It feels like the world has come to an end. I'm sorry for such a long post and for being a baby about it but I had to tell someone. I don't even have dental insurance and I don't want to lose my tooth (though half is already gone).

I'm going to go curl up in a corner and cry now. I feel so alone (I guess because I am). :cry:
 
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J

jellyfish

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Don't panic! :XXLhug:

There is a good chance that your dentist will be able to fix your tooth without pulling it, by putting on a crown. Even though it seems like a lot of the tooth broke off, a lot of the tooth is under your gums. To put on a crown, the outside of the tooth is removed just like getting a big filling, leaving a core in the middle. The dentist or a dental lab makes impressions of your teeth using wax and some gooey stuff, then a technician makes a new outer top for your tooth that will fit over top of the core of the tooth. Then dentist then glues the crown onto your tooth with strong cement. Crowns can last for decades if you take good care of them.

The crown can be made of different things - gold, porcelain, zirconium, or ceramics. All of the crowns except the gold ones look white just like your other teeth. Some dentists have a machine in their office (cerec) that lets the dentist make the crown on the same day, otherwise the dentist will make a temporary plastic crown for you to wear for a week or two until the laboratory can make the real one.

I know lots of people who have broken off big pieces of teeth and had them fixed with a crown. Sometimes if the break is very bad, then dentist might need to do a bit more - like a crown lengthening to make more tooth available for the core, or a root canal (these are painless!) if the nerve of the tooth is damaged. I have three crowns, they were all painless to have put on. They feel just like real teeth. Actually, I got gold crowns because they last for a very long time, and the crowns feel very smooth and nice, even nicer than my real teeth.
 
J

Jacky32

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Thank you so much for your reply and your encouragement. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. I'm still terrified about going tomorrow but you have given me some hope to cling to. I just wish this was all over, no matter what happens, and I promise once it is over I'm going to start brushing after every meal and going in for regular checkups like I should have been doing all along. I just hope it isn't too late.
 
J

Jacky32

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Thank you, I just hope I can get through this. Right now I'm feeling sort of numb emotionally, like my brain finally said enough and shut itself off. I know I'll have a hard time sleeping tonight and tomorrow morning I'll probably be shaking in fear but for the moment I guess I'm emotionally drained. I'm also kicking myself for being so dumb and not going at the first sign of trouble, or for that matter not going in for checkups for four years now. I had them all fixed at my last appointment and look what I went and did, but what's done is done. I just want to get through this and start taking care of them so hopefully nothing like this ever happens again.
 
lillyh

lillyh

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I think alot of us just want to think our teeth problems will go away if we ignore them..I know I did..I made all kinds of excuses but I think pain is a great motivator..Doesn't make it any easier or us any less anxious...!! And once you get your teeth all fixed you kinda get caught up in life and convince yourself your teeth are fine..I also vowed that once I get my wisdom teeth out and my partial put in I will get regular check ups and cleanings..Especially since I know there is Ultra Sonic teeth cleaning now which replaced the metal pick which to me could be used as a weapon in a horror movie!!!:D.. I'm pretty sure we are all on this forum because we have so much fear we actually COULDN't go the get our teeth fixed...Maybe one day EVERYTHING about dentistry will really be painless....
 
B

blackhound

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Try not to panic. Easier said than done, but not all is lost. Believe me we all understand that feeling of impending DOOM.

Modern dentistry can do amazing repair work. You are off to a good start in getting in to see the dentist instead of avoiding the problem. You should give yourself a good pat on the back for that.

What happened to your tooth sound similar to what happened to me this past summer. In fact, it was the tooth directly in front of the one you broke. My tooth had a lot of silver filling in it and the back half of the tooth broke clean off while I was eating potato chips. :cool:

My tooth required a root canal, post and core buildup (because half the tooth was gone) and a crown. It is still in my head, functioning properly and looks better than the tooth that was damaged. Yes, it was a hassle, but depending on the evaluation by your dentist it is possible to keep that tooth. Even if the worst happens, and the tooth is broken too far below the gumline to repair and the dentist recommends an extraction, you always have the option of a single tooth implant as a restoration.

Hang in there. I'll keep a good thought for you.

BH:XXLhug:
 
J

Jacky32

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Yes, I've been doing my best to stay calm and rational about it. I have to go so there is no point dreading it but as it is getting dark now and bedtime approaches I can feel that dread building up again. It's silly but it feels like this is my last night on earth. You have all helped me more than words can describe, and I promise to check back in tomorrow after it's over and let you know how it went. I'm sure there will be more appointments after tomorrow, maybe it will be weeks or even months. I'm trying to look at the light at the end of the tunnel though, it will all be worth it if a few months from now it's finally over and I can eat normally again and without constant worry (I've had nightmares about losing my teeth, that's how bad I'm afraid they've gotten and how much I worry). Thank you all again for the kind words and encouragement.
 
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lillyh

lillyh

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When you mentioned you have nightmares about your teeth it reminded me of the dream I had the night before my dentist appt. I dreamt I was in his office and he told me he didn't want to fix my tooth and that no dentist would help me!!! I worried about that all the way to his office the next day! I even was so upset that I told the receptionist that if the dentist wouldn't pull it I was leaving...First time I've ever been that assertive with anyone..I was so scared...But it didnt end up that way of course..just my crazy brain over reacting...:devilish:
 
J

Jacky32

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Thanks for sharing that Lillyh, I think that is the first time I've smiled today. Well it's bedtime for me, but my dad looked at it earlier and he says it's not as bad as he thought from what I was telling him and he thinks they can fix it now instead of extracting it. I really hope he's right, I just want to be able to eat again. I haven't had a bite since that happened this morning and I'm really hungry. Anyway good night everyone, tomorrow is the big day for me. I hope I can get some sleep tonight.
 
lillyh

lillyh

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Good morning Jacky 32,
I'm glad you smiled!! Good luck today...I'll be thinking about you.Can't wait to hear how it went for you...
 
J

Jacky32

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Thanks, my appointment is in 2 hours and I'm sitting here petrified thinking about it. The doubts about it being saved are coming back and now I'm almost certain it will have to be pulled. I hardly slept at all last night, and at one point I woke up thinking "was it all a bad dream?" but then reality came crashing down on me. I'm not just worried about that tooth (although the thought of losing it is terrifying to me) but all the other serious problems I fear I have. I know my gums are infected for sure, they bothered me all night. I'm also worried that two of my other molars have cracks in them. I'm not sure the dentist I went to before (the only one I've ever been to) did a very good job with my fillings. I'm going to a new dentist this time though, hopefully he will be good but also that makes the fear of the unknown that much worse.

I just don't know how I'll get though this, even though you have all been such a great help. I'll let you know how things went when I get home, although that seems so far away right now. I guess I had better go get ready. I really hope I can get home without any terrible news and without being in pain; either way I'll just want to crawl into my bed and stay there the rest of the day and try to put all of this out of my mind for a while.

Edit: Oh dear, I just examined them closely in the mirror and my lower gums are receding very much, especially on one of my lower front teeth. Now I'm more worried than ever because I keep reading that this is not reversible. Am I going to end up with dentures before long? I've gone all day so far without sobbing but now I've started again. They aren't bleeding though when I brush them and they used to a lot, not sure if that's good or bad. I remember when I had my last cleaning my two lower teeth actually moved apart and I had a gap. That was scary, then they moved back to normal after a few weeks. That can't be good. I'm just scaring myself now though.

Anyway it's time for my appointment. I'm so ashamed on top of being terrified; wish me luck, I'll need all I can get.
 
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lillyh

lillyh

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GOOD LUCK:clover::clover::clover::clover::clover::clover: Post when you are feeling better...
 
T

tabatha7

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Please let us know how everything goes. I'm hoping it will be good.
 
J

Jacky32

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I'm home from my first visit, one of several apparently. Today I just got my X-Rays and an examination, and the dentist talked to me and let me ask questions. He was so much nicer than my previous dentist who would scold me for my lack of care. He was very young but he seems very smart and caring. So on to the visit...

When I went back I met a very nice young woman who I originally thought would be my dentist, but she was only his assistant. She took my X-Rays and wow they took a lot, I wonder if I glow in the dark? First was a big machine that zoomed all around my head, then she had me bite on this instrument for I think four more on a portable machine. It wasn't much fun and I gagged a few times but she was very patient. She also took my blood pressure, something my old dentist never did. Once that was all done the dentist came back and did an examination with his scary hook. I was a little concerned that he didn't numb me or anything but he was gentle with it and it didn't really hurt.

We first talked about my primary concern, and one of the first things he said was that he would recommend that it be extracted. I felt a look of despair come over me and I'm sure they both noticed how nervous and scared I was but I was too embarrassed to come out and say it so they didn't mention it. He said saving it would be a long shot because a cavity had formed beneath where the filling once was and now most of the remaining tooth was decayed. He told me I could think about it and make a decision but I suppose having it out is the best course as much as I fear having it done. Mostly because of it not being there and having a space, I don't know how I could adjust to that. He said many people do and the main problem might be food getting trapped there, and that later on if I wanted an implant would be possible. He kept assuring me that it was my decision and he didn't want to push me into anything.

Next up he immediately felt beneath my tongue and I knew why. I have a small stone blocking a saliva gland and have for about seven years. I was impressed that he found it before I could even ask him about it because my old dentist never noticed or mentioned it. I told him it hadn't swollen up or bothered me for some time and he said as long as it didn't that it was ok but it was something to keep an eye on. I'll talk to him about it some more next time when I have all my questions better prepared. He told me I had some really heavy plague build up, so much that you could see it on the x-ray. However he didn't chastise me, in fact he said brushing wasn't really a solution for that. Apparently I have a high mineral content in my saliva and that was probably also responsible for the stone. The only solution was regular cleanings, and he recommended every four months instead of six. All the same I know my brushing habits have been terrible, something I must work to improve. He said my gums were inflamed but that the plague was mostly responsible and that we could reverse those problems with regular care and cleanings.

On to the cavities, I was dreading this imagining I'd have dozens. I was surprised when he said my other issues were minor. Decision time again though, I have a cavity on each of my upper wisdom teeth. I had my lower ones out years ago and because they are basically useless he said I might consider having them out, but he thought he could fill them with no trouble. It was up to me. However he also said they might be causing the minor alignment problem I'm having by putting pressure on my other teeth. Next visit I am going to ask him about having an oral surgeon remove them and the broken tooth all at once while I am knocked out cold like I was for my other wisdom teeth. That would take away much of the fear of having my broken molar removed. Being asleep is good, even if I'm a bit sore and loopy when I wake up.

Finally he said the x-rays showed that my bone structure was still good, which was a massive relief for me. I have much hope now that my gums can be treated and hopefully cleared up or at least kept under control so no further damage occurs. It also means having an implant shouldn't be any problem if I decide to go that way.

My next visit is next Monday, and that will be when the heavy work begins. Of course I dread it very much but it's a whole week away. Right now I just dread having to be so careful eating and only being able to chew on one side. He also told me to call immediately if I got any pain or swelling, and the great thing is the office is only a 20 minute drive from here instead of almost an hour like my old one. I have to make some decisions before then too. Have the tooth pulled or try to save it. He showed me the x-rays on the computer screen and explained it very well and trying to save it seems pretty far fetched and temporary. Also whether to have my remaining wisdom teeth out or just get them filled. I didn't ask about my gums really since I was already on information overload, but I plan to discuss it next time as well.

All in all I think I've lucked onto finding a very good doctor and clinic. Perhaps the world won't end for me after all, but rest assured I'll be in a full blown panic again by next week. :D

Thank you all again so much for your kindness and compassion. I don't really have anyone to talk to or lean on in real life. My relatives care about me very much but they are all much braver than me when it comes to things like this and think I'm really panicking over nothing. They mean well though, I just wish I could be that brave.

Edit: Wow I didn't realize how long this post was. I didn't mean to write a novel. Just had so much to talk about. :)
 
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J

jellyfish

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It sounds like you've found a good dentist, which is the most important thing! :jump:

If your broken tooth is a second molar (right next to the wisdom tooth), I have heard that it is easy to adjust to having one extracted, especially if you have the top wisdoms removed also. Do you miss the bottom wisdom teeth that are already gone? Having a second molar removed would be just the same.

Do you have an electric toothbrush or any other fun toys or gadgets that might help you keep up with brushing? Maybe your dentist or hygenist can recommend some to help you with regular maintenance.

Since your dentist sounds so helpful and thorough, I'm sure he will make sure that you are comfortable during all the dental work. You've already gotten through the hardest part! :XXLhug: :XXLhug:

ps. I have a dentist appointment next Monday too, so I'll send you good thoughts!
 
J

Jacky32

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It's actually the second from the front, second premolar? I don't know their names really. I'm kind of wondering if maybe I made a mistake by not just having him remove it and get it over with. That way I could spend this week healing instead of worrying about it getting infected or hurting. I knew there was a chance he would have to pull it but I was so hopeful it could be saved that when he sprung it on me I just didn't feel prepared. Plus he said I could take time to think about it which gave me the chance to chicken out, lol. Next week though I guess it will have to be removed. I do believe I'll want to get an implant eventually to replace it. I don't like the idea of having a big gap there, but as he said I should take time to see if I can get used to it and time for it to heal.

I don't have an electric toothbrush but I want to get one. I really want to get everything fixed, I've had problems with them since high school and now that I've found a nice dentist who is so confident they can be I want to go for it. Then I can finally stop worrying about them all the time and concentrate on other things I want to improve.

Best of luck with your appointment next week. :)
 
J

jellyfish

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You can get an inexpensive electric brush at the drug store - I have one that was only $20 that has lasted for 8 years! You do have to replace the bristle part regularly though. The electric brush is a little weird at first, but I think it is nicer and gentler than the manual brushes. My dentist recommended one because I drink tea and it helps to cut back on the tea stains.

There might be another option aside from an implant - a bridge. The main problem with bridges is that the dentist has to crown the two teeth next to the missing tooth, so it is not so great if the neighboring teeth are healthy. And bridges can cost almost as much as implants. If you don't like having a gap but want to wait to decide if you want to get an implant, you can ask the dentist for a flipper - it is a false tooth that is removable and fits on something kind of like an orthodontic retainer.

I'm sure your appointment next week will be fine - you could call and ask the dentist what they plan to do, they might only have you scheduled for a cleaning! :XXLhug:
 
lillyh

lillyh

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jacky32,
I'm glad you seem to have a dentist who will listen to you and explain everything needed and how it will be done. Big step!! Congrats !
 
J

Jacky32

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jacky32,
I'm glad you seem to have a dentist who will listen to you and explain everything needed and how it will be done. Big step!! Congrats !

Thanks, I can't believe how fast the week is going by though. It's already Thursday, at this rate I'll be in the chair before I know what happened. I'm getting really nervous again too, thinking about what it's going to be like to have it extracted (maybe I can talk them into putting me to sleep first) and even worse thinking about the rest of my life with a big empty space there. Wondering if I'll ever be able to eat normally again or if every time I feel the missing tooth I'll be reminded of how stupid I was for not getting it fixed a year ago when it wasn't too late to save it. Not sure if I mentioned it before but the first sign of problems was when I tried to chew something and it hurt to bite down on that side. That was early last year, but I just got to chewing on the other side and ignored it since it didn't hurt unless I bit down. So dumb, I just let it rot out basically. If I had ever imagined one day it would just break and need to be removed I wouldn't have put it off. Maybe this lesson will stop me from ever letting things go like that again.

I've been reading about implants too and getting kind of scared the more I read. Says they put in something then I have to wait six months for the bone to grow around it, then they put in a post and I have to wait for it to heal up for another month or more, all that before they finally put the crown in. I didn't realize it was such a long road, and so incredibly expensive. I don't know if I can even afford it. Then I read about them sometimes failing or causing other problems. As I mentioned he wants me to wait for a while before I do anything and see if I can tolerate just not having it, but I'm scared about teeth shifting, bone loss or just not being able to live like that. How did I get myself into this mess? This was all so easily preventable. I made a huge mistake and now my life has changed forever. :cry:
 
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