One of my upper left molars has a large filling. Within the past 3 months, it’s been increasingly sensitive to heat, cold, and air. I was trying to delay seeing my dentist, but the pain is getting intense. I went to the dentist last week, and she used a dental tool to blow air on my teeth in different areas. She applied what felt like a gel on the tooth. She said that if my pain continued, she would need to remove the tooth nerve.
I’m concerned that the issue might be related to my braces. There is also a hole in the filling in that tooth. Is this nerve removal like root canal treatment? If so, I’m trying to avoid another root canal. I had a root canal 6 years ago, and the dentist who did it dug around in my tooth so harshly that it hurt for weeks. I don’t think I can take another one without being knocked out. Is an air test enough to give me an accurate diagnosis? I don’t understand. Thanks. Olivia from TX
Thanks for contacting our office with your question.
What an Air Test on Your Tooth Reveals
The test your dentist performed by blowing air on your tooth is a legitimate way of diagnosing tooth pain.
- Blow air on a tooth and it hurts – An unprotected sensitive spot is causing the pain. Your dentist can coat the tooth with a bonding agent that desensitizes the tooth nerve.
- Pain that immediately goes away – The tooth pulp or nerve is irritated and may heal
- Lingering pain – If pain lingers longer than a few seconds, the irritation of the nerve or tooth pulp is permanent. Your dentist will need to perform root canal treatment.
Your dentist can also test your tooth with electrical impulses, cold, or heat depending on your description of the pain or discomfort.
Are Braces or a Filling Causing the Problem?
Braces – Dr. Brooksher would need to examine your teeth and braces to determine if braces are causing some of the sensitivity.
A filling – If a filling is old, damaged, or leaking, decay can get beneath it and irritate your tooth nerve or pulp.
Ask Your Dentist for an Explanation
Call your dentist’s office and ask to speak with her. If she isn’t willing to answer your questions about the cause of your tooth pain and why she suggests root canal treatment, you can get a second opinion.. Even if you need sedation for dental procedures, if you don’t trust your dentist, you can still have doubts and anxiety.
Ensure your questions are answered before you agree to any treatment. But don’t delay the process. A lingering tooth infection will get worse and become more complicated to treat.
Steven Brooksher, DDS a cosmetic dentist in Baton Rouge, LA, sponsors this post.