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Last Wednesday Young Son and I went to the dentist. I was worried I would have to have another root canal because I had developed this tingling sensation around the area of the tooth I had removed last spring. In looking at the tooth behind the gap of the missing tooth, I saw a black spot. I thought it was a filling, but the tingling gave me pause. Was this a cavity? How could the dentist have missed this last spring?

The tooth behind the gap. Note the black spot. October 2010.

The tooth behind the gap. Note the black spot. October 2010.

Worry, worry. If another root canal was suggested, I was not going to go through with it. Pull the tooth and be done with it! I can deal with the pain of a pulled tooth. I can’t deal with the extended pain of a root canal, which would lead to a brittle tooth, which would probably break and have to be pulled anyway. (The story of the missing tooth.)

I went to the dentist with no small amount of trepidation. The dental assistant took X-rays (it’s the 115th anniversary of the discovery of X-rays today, according to Google) and said the black spot looked like a filling. She did note a strange little growth toward the top of the tooth, which she thought might be a ligament.

The dentist came in and did a thorough cleaning, including scraping the tartar off my teeth. Let me tell you, it felt like he was scraping cockles off the side of a ship. Not pleasant. I must brush better in the cockle-covered areas.

After the cleaning, he showed me on the X-rays that I had three tiny cavities, all in areas between my teeth. No cavity in the tooth I was worried about, however. That one has a filling already, as I suspected. The dentist told me the growth could be a piece of bone or tooth or ligament that has come through due to the pulling of the other tooth. It can easily be removed the next time I come in.

As for the tingling, which sometimes causes me to clench my jaw at night, the dentist explained that when a tooth is pulled, it’s like pulling a stick out of the sand. There will be a depression in the bone/sand for a while, where the tooth/stick used to be. Eventually the depression will be filled in with bone/sand, but it takes a while. Could it be that the tingling I feel is bone growing into the depression?