My Huge Filling Is Giving Me Trouble Again

(Post 211 of 263)

Saturday night, I was having some yogurt and granola when I realised that I had a giant hole in one of my molars — the filling had fallen out and I’d presumably swallowed it!

This filling’s history could fill a long novel. I don’t know how it got started, but it probably got as bad as it was because of how I was treated by Canadian dentists, and also, of course, by the fact that dental care is such a luxury in Canada that a common mortal can’t afford it. By the time I had to get it fixed circa 2005 or 2006, it was already huge, and I was treated to a lovely one hour of getting drilled with no anesthetic because Canadian dentists a) would not believe I was not numb/thought I was just a wimp and b) are on the clock and wouldn’t stop to wait for extra anesthetic to work anyway.

By 2013, I had a big hole again, so while I was staying in Port Lavaca, Texas, I took the opportunity to drive to Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas, and have it repaired again. My thoughts on what dental care is changed immediately. I’d never been cared for so well.

Unfortunately, the repair didn’t last long and I had to have it done again in Mazatlán in 2015. At that time, I was told the next step is a crown.

I messaged my dentist yesterday morning, Monday, and asked for an appointment that afternoon if at all possible. They could fit me in at 4PM. After removing all of the previous filling, the dentist, one I didn’t know, said that she was pretty sure that we were beyond a standard filling. She asked a specialist (reconstructionist, I believe, is the term she used) to come and evaluate. They also took an X-ray right there and then with a portable machine.

The news was surprisingly good. While I have a huge amount of the tooth missing, the root and nerve structure is fine. I was proposed something I’d never heard of before, an “incrustation,” which I’ve since learned is an “inlay” in English. What they do is essentially create a prosthesis for the tooth to fill in the missing part — imagine someone 3D printing a chunk missing out of a turtle’s shell. This is considered a better outcome than going with a crown because the healthy part of the tooth is not covered. The lifespan of an inlay is also much longer than of a filling.

It’s a two-part process. I have to go back next week to get a mould and prep done, then they will have the inlay manufactured, then I have another appointment to install it.

The cost for my emergency visit yesterday was $400 (about 20USD) and the cost for the inlay will be $2,650 (about 150USD). I’m so glad I’m here!