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Infection or leaking filling, X-Ray Question

K

KittyKat

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2020
Messages
26
Location
UK
I've been having some pain, off and on, in an upper molar for about 6 months now, but the last few weeks it's got slightly worse. The pain is like a pressure sort of pain, gets worse if I bend over or after I've been lying down. I don't feel the pain at the root; it literally feels like on the bottom, the biting surface. It's not sensitive to hot or cold and doesn't hurt when I eat, but I am now getting some discomfort when I bite together. It feels like when you've just had a filling and your opposite teeth come into contact with it for the first time, feels a bit sore and odd for about a day or two. I have a strange taste in my mouth and keep getting a sore throat.

Dental X-Rays show no sign of infection but how accurate are they? Because in my experience I've been here before when in pain with a tooth and they say no sign of infection. A few weeks/months later I'm in agony with a proper toothache and looking at extraction or root canal. I really wanted to avoid that this time and try and get any work that needs doing done before I reach that stage, particularly as dentists are so booked up at the moment. But two dentists have said they can't find anything wrong apart from a filling which looks like it might be leaking a bit. Could a leaking filling (another dentist called it unstable) cause these symptoms and might all I need is the filling replaced? One dentist said they could replace the filling but said it wasn't urgent.

So, my questions are- could this tooth be infected but it's not showing up on X-Rays, or is it the filling causing this problem? I've read that normal Bitewing X-Rays aren't that good at detecting infection or an abscess. Is there a better X-Ray I could ask for that would show more clearly what is going on?
 
Gordon

Gordon

Administrator
Staff member
Verified dentist
Joined
Oct 25, 2005
Messages
7,992
Your first paragraph sounds a lot more like sinus pain than tooth pain, the pain on bending over/lying down is very distinctive, as is the bad taste/sore throat.

X-rays are just a part of the diagnostic tools needed, they need to be interpreted along with visual and tactile exam. Your pain doesn't sound like it's coming from a leaking filling.

Bitewings are not intended to diagnose infections or abscesses. They are for detecting decay between teeth. For infection or abscess you want a periapical film.
 
K

KittyKat

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2020
Messages
26
Location
UK
Thank you. Sinus pain was suggested to me, although I've never suffered before with sinus problems and don't feel any facial pain or have any nose congestion. Not sure if sinus problems can last as long as this problem has been going on. Might have to consult my doctor on that.
I think I've had periapical X-Rays taken as well and nothing showed on those but then she took a Bitewing to get a better look at it but said she wasn't able to position it properly and get the root and sinus cavity because I was gagging on it. Doesn't seem like she got those on the periapical either which is strange as I'm sure they've shown up before when I've had those type of X-Rays taken. The pain seems centered on a particular spot on the molar. It doesn't seem to be affecting the whole of it, which is why I think the filling was suspected as being the problem. Thanks again for your help and input.
 
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