The story goes back a long way. For several years now I had pain in my upper right teeth. I did numerous x-rays, went to see several dentists, but while all were able to take my money in all sorts of creative ways none was able to tell me what was wrong. The last doctor I've been to suggested redoing an existing filling, which helped: it helped because while treating me she was able to see that the neighboring tooth was cracked, and it also helped because the pain narrowed down from an entire region of teeth to this cracked tooth. That is, I had multiple problems before, one of the reasons why a specific problem was hard to locate.
Today the same doctor wrapped (with much force) that metal band around the cracked tooth, and for the first time in eons I can chew and drink with my right side without feeling electrocuted. There is a catch, though: the metal band is just a temporary measure; it's uncomfortable to begin with, with all the food bits getting stuck in it. What it does provide is an indication of what comes ahead: if all's well after the band is installed then I need to replace it with a crown; if there are still issues then the solution is the much dreaded root canal. I have two weeks to decide...
Regardless of what lies ahead, I just want to go over the main lessons from this story:
- Be aware that there is such a thing as a cracked tooth and that these cracked teeth do not come up on x-rays. They still hurt, though.
- Teeth get cracked from all sorts of reasons: chewing hard stuff (like unpopped popcorn), clenching your teeth against one another, and lack of flossing - to name my own crimes first.
- In my case the problem is exasperated by my receded gums making the whole affair much more sensitive than it should be. The reason for the receded gums is rather mundane: years of brushing my teeth too hard, especially when using electric tooth brushes that let you brush hard without much effort. Do take it easy!
Oh, and I'm applying for a role in the next James Bond.