When I first showed up with my raging infection, he chose to drill and fill a lower right bicuspid. This made no sense to me, since the infection was in my sinuses above my upper jaw.
So he drills out the amalgam (silver-colored) filling and replaces it with a lovely resin filling. This looks almost like the natural teeth, minus some precision color-matching. It's not quite as sturdy as a natural tooth but it's very quick to put in and does the job most of the time. Still, it did nothing for the infection that had plagued me for about five weeks at that point, so I go back and demand he look at the upper right quadrant.
I've posted about that. Now in the picture the root canal re-do is the forwardmost molar. Once he'd worked that my symptoms reduced significantly but were not fully gone, and because of the temp filling and other such goodies I had to chew lightly on that side--still do. So Doc, I said, if I have to eat carefully on that side anyway, we might as well fix up the teeth on either side of it. Both of those teeth had ancient (15-20 year old) amalgams that hadn't been done all that well the first time (arguably--they did last the full term such fillings were made for). Sure. So he pops both those open, and the bicuspid is fine, a little rotted underneath but nothing a new filling won't fix. The #2 molar, however, showed signs of infection. Endo, he said, root canal. I shrugged--while I hate root canals I expected one for that tooth. He messed around with it, put something called GOE in it, and popped some temp filling over all three on Saturday morning. (Having no luck looking up "GOE"). Sunday morning I go to FiveBucks for a mocha and a bagel, a treat for myself. The bagel was happily chewy which dislodged part of the filling. I was prepared to ignore this, but at lunchtime part of my lunch decided to fill it and not comfortably, so I figured that if I was going to eat I needed something non-food to stuff that hole with. I go in a day before my appointment, signalling that I just needed a little putty and I'd be on my way.
Oh no. He pulled out the old temps, all three of them, and resinated both molar #2 and biscuspid. Let me back that up--he poked and prodded molar #2 and inspected it, finding the root not infected after all, and decided against the endo after all. Told me to keep a proverbial eye on it and if I got any pain (and, I added mentally, any more sinus infections) I was to come in and get the root yanked. But for now it's in a resin cap. I seriously question the wisdom of putting anything so soft on a molar but it's there now. Zombie molar is going to get a metal cap, as it's far enough back not to be seen. I could get porcelain there--no resin allowed over dead roots--but there's a slight possibly of it cracking if I do. So...well, my budget this month is shot, but I'll soon have functional teeth that keep the evil out of my sinuses.
All of this--all the dentistry posts you've seen this year--was done without Novocaine.