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Ask Dr. Gott 10/14
Dental work leaves bad taste behind
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    DEAR DR. GOTT: I am a 71-year-old woman in relatively good health. About six months ago, I had an upper molar capped. My dentist has a new system in which the procedure is done all at one time. Immediately following the capping, it started feeling as though I had a cement-like discharge from that area. As were we getting ready to head north for the summer, I opted to do nothing until we returned.
    Upon returning, I immediately made an appointment with my dentist again. She determined that the cap was chipped and drilled it out. It was then replaced during another three-hour procedure. This made the discharge worse. It felt waxy and sticky, but she was unable to see it. I have had several X-rays but none detected anything wrong, so I was told I had dry mouth that coincidentally started when I got the first cap. I was given all sorts of dry-mouth treatments, including toothpastes, rubs and mouthwashes. Nothing helped, so my dentist then determined it was a medical problem and told me to go back to my gerontologist.
    When I went to see him, he looked in my mouth but couldn't see any discharge, either. He ordered all kinds of blood tests, which were all negative. He then ordered a CT scan to see if the discharge was coming from my sinuses. It was negative, so he sent me to an ear-nose-and-throat specialist, who had no idea why I was there. He gave me a "magic" mouthwash that didn't help. He thought it was a dental problem and that I might be allergic to the cement or porcelain that was used, so he referred me to his dentist. This dentist then removed my cap and put in a temporary acrylic one with "old-fashioned" cement. It didn't help, and, while flossing recently, the cap came out. I decided to leave it alone and see if the problem went away, but it hasn't yet.
    Both my dentist and doctor are stymied. The discharge feels like sticky paste, yet no one can see it. I am going nuts and don't know where to turn. Please help!
    DEAR READER: I, too, am stymied. This seems to be a dental problem, and you need to be seen by an orthodontist. He or she can then investigate the cause of your sticky discharge.
    You don't say why the tooth was capped. Perhaps the discharge is coming from the tooth itself, and the best option would be to have a root canal or the tooth pulled. Pus from an infected tooth can often feel sticky but can usually be seen upon examination. Make an appointment with an orthodontist and let me know what happens.
    To give you related information, I sending you a copy of my Health Report "Medical Specialists."
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