Ask The Dentist – June 2023

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Written and Medically Reviewed by

Medically Reviewed

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts. Dr. Daniel Cho strives to provide unbiased and honest feedback regarding dental topics. This article contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

What Happens if I Don’t Get Any Treatment?

While it heavily depends on the recommended treatment, there will be an increased risk of the condition worsening. For instance, many dentists recommend getting a crown on a tooth with a large filling to prevent it from fracturing. In worst-case scenarios, the tooth is not fixable. If the tooth remains stable with no active decay or fractures, it may be some time before the tooth fractures. However, if/when it fractures, it may do so in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to fix. If the recommended treatment is because of decay, then that decay will get bigger as time goes on. With enough time, decay will reach either the nerve or the bone, reducing the prognosis of the tooth and significantly increasing the cost.

How Common is Oral Cancer?

The good news is that, more often than not, lumps, bumps, and bruises inside the mouth are not cancerous. This does not mean that cancer does not occur and that you should not be vigilant about seeking care if you are worried about an anomaly. An excellent rule of thumb is to wait two weeks for the lump or bump to go away before seeking professional help. Most lesions go away within a couple of weeks. Cancer is typically not high on the differential diagnosis for most clinicians. 

Why Does My Root-Canaled Tooth Feel Different?

The procedure of a root canal removes the nerve from within a tooth. Which means the tooth will inherently feel slightly different from other teeth. The difference is due to the lack of sensation within the tooth. This lack of sensation will make the tooth feel different from vital teeth. This feeling is perfectly normal and not a cause for concern. Odd feelings that aren’t necessarily pain but feel strange or slightly different are also considered normal for root-canaled teeth. These sensations are usually infrequent and non-painful. Should the tooth become consistently painful, seek professional advice as something may be wrong. 

Why Don’t Teeth Heal By Themselves?

While teeth are considered a bone, they are not like the bones within our bodies. With the exception of the pulp, most of the bone does not contain live cells as opposed to the other bones of the body. Additionally, in order to heal, there needs to be a constant supply of blood. As half of a tooth is exposed, no blood supply is readily available to heal the tooth. This lack of blood supply is why whenever you fracture a tooth, it will never heal by itself. This is where dentistry comes in, which uses synthetic material and various techniques to restore a tooth to its original form and function.

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