Previously crowned tooth has become loose (no pain/swelling)

Jul 10, 2011
I have a bit of a unique situation.

About 5 years ago, I had a tooth crowned (#20). At the time, my dentist thought I'd need a root canal from looking at the x-ray. I wasn't having any pain in the tooth at all. When he cleaned out the decayed portion of the tooth, at which point he said he could see what I believe he called the pulp head. He asked if I was having any pain a that point, to which I replied that I was not. He told me we could do a root canal or he could put some medicine on it and it might heal. At the time, I was about to go on a trip, so he advised the medicine for now with a temp crown and he would re-assess when I came back in a few weeks.

When I came back, I still wasn't having any pain so he decided to just put a crown on the tooth.

Fast forward 5 years. I've since moved and have a new dentist, who I trust and think is great. She was redoing some of my previous fillings from when I was young and found a lot of decay under one on #19, so much so that a crown was required. After the tooth was prepped and I was sent home with my temporary crown, I started having hypersensitivity in #20, my tooth that was crowned 5 years ago. It REALLY hurt if I bit down on it even a little. I called my dentist and she told me to give it a couple days and if it persisted, to come right in. After a day the pain started to go away and after 3 days it felt back to normal. BUT... I noticed it seemed to be slightly loose. I wasn't sure so I told my dentist about it when I came back for my permanent crown.

She took a look at it and sure enough the tooth was slightly loose. Her first thought was that the crown was loosened when she was working right next to it on #19. She tugged and wiggled it slightly to see if it would become more loose (no pain when she did so), which it didn't. She then took an x-ray, from which she could tell that the ligament looked a little loose. She told me that it was most likely from the trauma of working on the other tooth and that it should tighten back up to keep and eye on it and if it got worse to call her to set up an appt.

This was about 3 months ago and the tooth seems to be in the same state. Still slightly loose and still no pain.

My questions are:

1. Do I possibly have an abscess that's causing the looseness.

2. Is it possible I'm not having any pain since this tooth has never hurt to begin with (even when faced with a root canal)?

3. Should I go see my dentist immediately?
A. If so, am I looking at a root canal or possibly (gulp) an extraction?
1. If it's a root canal, is it likely the crown, which is porcelain fused to metal, can be saved (drilled through or pulled off)?

Personally, I'm getting a little worried, as I really don't want to think about an extraction or the cost associated with a bridge (and having to redo the crown I JUST got on 19). My spouse thinks I making too much of it.

Thanks so much.




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