I’m a little freaked out here. I had a really bad toothache and I went to the emergency dentist to have it checked out. He said he didn’t see anything wrong with the tooth, but based on my symptoms, he could tell my tooth had a small crack in it. I started the crown that day and then I went back after two weeks and had the new crown placed. None of this really helped to clear it entirely up, but it seemed to feel better. He told me that I could need a root canal on the tooth if the pain didn’t go away. I don’t want to have to have a root canal, so I’ve been nursing it along and taking Tylenol. It’s been about two months with no improvement, but today I noticed that the tooth next to it seems to be turning darker, almost gray. I don’t know if I’m imagining this… maybe the crown is just whiter than my other tooth was? Could the emergency dentist have done something to the other tooth? Anything you can tell me would be helpful.
For starters, it sounds like your gray tooth is “dying” or dead. When a tooth dies or is injured, it can become discolored as you’re describing. It’s a lot like a bruise on the skin, but behind your enamel. This needs treatment, which will include a root canal. Until the tooth gets cleaned out and filled from the inside, it can harbor bacteria, which will eventually blow up into an infection. So, this should be addressed sooner rather than later.
As far as the emergency dentist causing it somehow, probably not. There are a few likely culprits here. First, it could have been that tooth hurting you the whole time. Sometimes teeth can refer the pain to neighbor teeth, or even an entire arch. If this is the case, you’re looking at a mistaken diagnosis. The other possibility is that both teeth were somehow injured at the same time. Let’s say you bit down on something hard, traumatizing the gray tooth and cracking its neighbor. The tooth may not have died right away, but slowly faded over time instead. Lastly, you could be looking at two totally unrelated incidents, which happen to be affecting two neighbor teeth. Unlikely, but possible.
You may never find out if this was a misdiagnosis by the emergency dentist, but if you suspect this to be the case, ask the first doctor for a copy of the x-ray and take it to another dentist and have the gray tooth reevaluated. If he missed a sign that’s visible on the x-ray, you should be able to have him refund the money you paid to have the crown done. If there’s nothing on the x-ray, he probably didn’t miss anything. He operated based on your symptoms, which may or may not have provided the right diagnosis. Best of luck to you.
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