Did the Emergency Dentist Destroy One of My Teeth?

I went to an emergency dentist because of some pain while I was out of town. I told him what was going on. He couldn’t see what was going on, but said based on my symptoms he feels certain I cracked a tooth. He did a crown. The pain went away for a little bit, but is now hurting again. I looked and the tooth next to the crowned tooth has turned gray. Did the emergency dentist damage it when he gave me the crown?

Lisa L.

Dear Lisa,

It would be unlikely the emergency dentist caused the tooth to die. I can think of a few scenarios which are possible.

The first is a misdiagnosis. Possibly, the graying tooth could be the one bothering you all along and it referred pain to the crowned tooth. If that’s what happened, having another dentist look at the x-rays should be able to tell you for sure. If it turns out it was an obvious misdiagnosis, you can get a refund for your dental crown.

Another possibility is that something damaged the adjacent tooth after your appointment. Admittedly, this is the least likely option. The chance of something causing trauma to a tooth right next to the one you had treated without you realizing it is pretty small. But, it’s worth mentioning as an option.

The most likely option is that both teeth were traumatized at the same time. Sometimes it takes a while for the results of the trauma to show up. So, one tooth was cracked and another possibly had its blood supply cut off. This would cause it to gray slower than the symptoms on the other tooth showed up.

You may never know for sure unless it is a misdiagnosis. However, the dying tooth needs to be addressed. You’ll need a root canal treatment. If you don’t the bacteria it’s harboring will blow up into a tooth infection and you’ll end up with another dental emergency.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Ryan Perry.

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