Molar with Big Composite Filling

Sep 2, 2017
Hi There!

Just wondering if anyone can help. Just seeking independent random advice :)

I've got a molar with a large composite filling... done roughly 2 years ago. Now when it was done, my dentist warned me it was very close to the nerve.... I've previously managed to crack an older filling and snap off one of those pointed parts of the molar, and as a result this was done. That tooth since has been very annoying. It was painful for weeks after the procedure and never could take a lot of bite pressure again. It did settle down though. I just didn't chew hard with that part of the mouth since. Well, I am now seemingly going through the same process again.

About 5 days ago I woke up at night with massive jaw ache. I couldn't figure out what it even was at first, so here is how it went:

Day 1. Had massive lower jaw ache and couldn't figure out what it was all day. Tried chewing hard on the teeth on the affected side, but didn't figure out which tooth it was. Just sat with a hot water bottle and aspirin tablets all day.
Day 2. The jaw ache subsided and the pain was now concentrated on that lower molar. Couldn't even meet the lower/upper jaw together without major pain. Constant dull ache, sharp pain... all kinds... with or without stimuli... I thought it was infected. I didn't have the time to get to my dentist to get antibiotics, so just started eating massive amounts of garlic to see if it worked. Started taking aspirin + codeine tablets for the pain.
Day 3. Still lots of pain with no stimuli, but less.
Day 4. Got slightly better, but still random pain flaring up.
Day 5 (Today). I stopped the pain killers and only have pain after leaving a lot of cold water in the mouth or if I try to chew on it hard. If I don't do anything or chew hard, there is no pain.

It's pretty much of a repeat of what I've been through when the procedure was done years ago.

I am wondering what to do with this? I am in Sydney / Aus, where complex dental procedures are extremely expensive.... Would leaving it be for another week to see if settles down completely be a good idea... should I get some antibiotics? Is there a proper way to test if it's even alive... I read about reversible/irreversible pulpits and not sure where I fit, as I have been through this cycle before and it got better last time. Or should I get it pulled, and save up for a replacement tooth? I am not too keen on root canals, some family members have had bad experiences where the dead tooth just disintegrates later and causes more problems.

Best Regards,
Oct 2, 2017
A root canal is a last resort for pain management. Sounds like you are getting close to needing one. Either you pull it or root canal depends if you have the money to plug the gap. Root canals not all bad can be trouble free for decades but yes it's like a dead tree stump left behind.

Dec 6, 2017
It can take quite a while for some fillings or crowns to settle down. I once had pain for about three months with an onlay but now it's fine. It's best not to worry too much and just wait a few weeks, If the root dies there is often a pain or soreness when you press the outside root. I once had a cracked tooth that one dentist wanted to root fill (it was extremely painful when I ate hot food). But I went for a second opinion and another dentist fixed it with filling. It was sensitive for a while but fine for ten years now. The dentist that filled it said that if you feel cold (like cold water on a cotton bud) then the nerve is still alive. If it fails you won't see it for a couple of months, but hopefully yours will settle. Go easy on the grinding. You can also try to very very gently bite down on a cotton bud to see if it's tender. If you get a really sharp pain that's a sign it's not in good shape. Thing is that if the nerves are close they don't have to remove the whole filling. Leaving part in situ can help save the tooth from trauma. It's not ideal practice apparently but better than needing root treatment. You should get a second opinion. Perhaps it's just needs a slight adjusment and some sensitive toothpaste.


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