Today was a great day for me. Let me set the stage for you: My jaw / mouth / face / ear has been hurting since mid-February. I have seen three dentists and one doctor during this time and have received multiple conflicting diagnoses. Grinding my teeth. Jaw strain from an unknown cause, perhaps “biting down wrong on an almond”. TMJ. Fibromyalgia (chronic pain / heightened nerve activity). Old silver filling that might be loosening. Recommendations not to open wide, not to eat popcorn or almonds, to use a fork with a hamburger so I wouldn’t strain my jaw.  A couple of the diagnoses were handed out BEFORE the “medical professional” even examined me. They didn’t check out my medical history, look at my charts, ask me what was going on. But they prescribed lots of meds, most of which I never took, because I didn’t believe the diagnoses. Two dental night guards were created for me, one of which wasn’t fitted properly and had to be discarded (although I paid for it), and the other which (I assume) is still at the dentist’s office, no one ever having called me to say it was ready.
I had a crisis of confidence, for seven months, while I also had escalating pain in my face. It might have made me a bit grumpy.


Stock photo (not me, but a pretty good representation of tooth pain)

Today, a marvelous and extremely professional full-scale dentistry practice spent time listening to me, evaluating my input, and doing a deep and time-consuming examination. And then they dug in ~ literally! ~ to fix my issue. It turns out that I had a crack in a back molar, a condition that doesn’t show up on x-ray and requires an intensive visual examination. Cracked molar syndrome is hard to diagnose and requires a dedicated, thorough professional to find it. The crack extended to the nerve cavity, my whole tooth was dead, and the infection was into the bone. I had a root canal today and got a crown, and am so very happy to finally have: a.) a medical staff that cares enough about figuring out and solving the problem to spend time on it (I was there for 5 hours) and b.) a solution! I didn’t realize how much the chronic pain in my jaw was weighing on me.

There’s no “poor pitiful me” in this saga, simply a realization and cautionary tale that you have to aggressively seek solutions these days when you have a weird or unresolved medical issue. The burden of investigation and tenacity about solving the problem has shifted from the medical professional to the patient. Sometimes you have to seek help from multiple sources before you get an answer. And you have to listen to your gut. I somehow knew that my problem wasn’t just grinding my teeth or wasn’t anywhere close to being fibromyalgia.

My jaw is throbbing a bit this evening from the oral surgery and the infection from living with that cracked tooth for over 7 months, but my heart is soaring with the knowledge that my issues have been diagnosed and addressed. The oral surgeon even called me at home at 7 pm tonight to make sure I was doing ok. Really! When was the last time that ever happened, a medical professional calling you at home to make sure you’re ok? I’m jazzed about that charming “bedside manner”.

I still have a crisis of confidence in the medical profession in general as a result of all this, but the Stephens and Gatewood Dentistry Office has my complete confidence.

This will be me again, soon! A nice lady in her early-to-mid fifties with a pain-free smile.

Reminder: this is a non-commercial blog, and any product or service recommendations are strictly my opinion and not a paid advertisement. 
Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

10 thoughts on “Root Canal for Cracked Tooth Syndrome: I Will Survive!”

  • Kim,
    I am so glad they found your problem. That is so disappointing and terrible that you had to go through all of those doctors. It is very discouraging that other dentists couldn’t find the root cause and made you pay for unneeded treatment. I hope your pain goes away quickly now that you found the root problem. LOL! A little humor and a quick recovery is being sent your way! 🍷💐❤️

  • Last time I went for a cleaning I was informed that I have a cracked tooth due to an expanding amalgam filling and that the tooth will need a crown. No pain yet, fortunately. Haven’t made the appointment yet.

    My dentist did indeed call me (once) at home one evening after having extracted a tooth earlier that day. It ended up quite embarrassing. He began the conversation exactly as a string of solicitation calls had begun just prior by asking how I was doing this evening. My hearing is not the best and I didn’t catch his name, so I assumed he was another sales person and asked him what he was trying to sell me. He quickly explained who he was, and of course I was grateful for the call as well as very embarrassed. He never called me at home again.

  • Having kind and compassionate dentists who listen makes a huge difference. People are often astonished when I say I love my dentist; she’s the reason I’m no longer phobic. When I needed a root canal, she referred me to an endodontist who was equally kind and compassionate. While I don’t care if I never have another such procedure, I at least know that there are people out there who are kind, gentle, and understanding.

    Glad you got through this okay!

  • Maybe all this arise from a deeper need to go further into your being and realize your self. Am sorry for the pains, I abhor pain so much. You will be fine, stay still.

    That which is beyond the fathom of the doctors can be cured subtly by your own introspective self.

    • Whoops, I didn’t realize my comment was misleading – the whole time I was at the dental office was 5 hours. It wasn’t all surgery – there was consultation, prep, waiting for the crown to get finished, etc. I was just so impressed that they could fit me into their schedule to do all that stuff to “fix” me when it was my first visit. It was actually almost pleasant (believe it or not). They were so nice, and I had my own little TV with the Food Channel on. 🙂

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