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Abroad, noticed I have a cavity?

Chop LogicChop Logic Registered User regular
edited April 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
So I'm studying abroad in Italy right now. In a week I leave for Bulgaria, where I'll be very far away from civilization for a month, then I go back to the U.S.

Last night while brushing my teeth, I noticed I have a cavity, or a black spot, on the bottom of my backmost tooth, where the tooth would touch food.

Should I see a dentist here in Italy or wait until I get back home in a month? It doesn't hurt right now, my concern is that I'll be out in Bulgaria and then it will start to hurt, and then I'll be fucked.

If I see a dentist I will have to pay for it, yes I checked.

What should I do?

Chop Logic on

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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Can you afford to pay for it?

    I ask because getting a cavity taken care of now is a lot better than a root canal in a few months.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    JHunzJHunz Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    bowen wrote: »
    Can you afford to pay for it?

    I ask because getting a cavity taken care of now is a lot better than a root canal in a few months.

    And a root canal/crown are an order of magnitude more expensive than getting a cavity fixed, too. So if you think you can't afford one, you really can't afford the other.

    JHunz on
    bunny.gif Gamertag: JHunz. R.I.P. Mygamercard.net bunny.gif
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    adytumadytum The Inevitable Rise And FallRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    How big is it?

    I had a monster cavity (first in years, surprised the hell out of me) while I was out of the US for several months. I went ahead and waited and had no problem.

    Obviously YMMV, but a small cavity isn't going to turn into a root canal in a month, particularly if you're taking care of it and keeping close watch over it.

    adytum on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Also true. Avoiding sugar like the plague and taking good care of your teeth will probably help a shit ton.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I can't tell exactly where the cavity is from your description, but those back teeth tend to be quite thick and you can have one hell of a cavity without needing a root canal or it even beginning to hurt.

    My advice is that you should baby the hell out of it, brush it twice a day, don't expose it to sugars, etc, and take care of it in good order when you can.

    In America, even if you went to see a Dentist today, he wouldn't do the work today. He'd just consult and then reschedule to do the work.

    So maybe you should just a get a consult and an X-ray to see what you're dealing with. If you're just noticing it, I'd be shocked if you were in imminent danger of it becoming a problem.

    Jasconius on
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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Chop Logic wrote: »
    If I see a dentist I will have to pay for it, yes I checked?

    Who did you check with? The nearest Consulate is the best source on local information in situations like this nine times out of ten.

    SammyF on
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    KillgrimageKillgrimage Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Eh, I've had dentists fill cavities during routine maintenance. Just, "oh look, let me fix that for you." In my experience, if it's not ridiculously bad they can fix it in like 10-15 minutes.

    Also, if the cavity looks small, you can probably ignore it for a bit. I've had dentists tell me that a cavity doesn't even get fixable until it's been there for like, 6 months. But hey, my teeth are pretty strong (as opposed to my husband who has a problem every time he goes to the dentist). If you are really concerned (and it does look bad), get thee to a dentist for a checkup. Odds are he'll fill it right then and there. As for payment, try to work it out with the dentist beforehand, make it clear that you are a student without insurance, it's probably not going to be as bad as you think.

    Killgrimage on
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    Reverend_ChaosReverend_Chaos Suit Up! Spokane WARegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    It's not going to turn into a root canal overnight. You should definitely brush, but do so before you eat. I know it sounds wierd and backwards, but a little bit of food that could be stuck there is not as bad as brushing away the Dentin layer of your tooth by brushing right after you eat, which is when it's weakest. Also, you should floss, every night before you go to bed. The crap between your teeth is way more dangerous.

    Stay away from sugar, and carbonation, and anything acidic like soda.

    Reverend_Chaos on
    “Think of me like Yoda, but instead of being little and green I wear suits and I'm awesome. I'm your bro—I'm Broda!”
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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    it could also just be a stain and not a cavity.

    mts on
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    JasconiusJasconius sword criminal mad onlineRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    If you take care of it very well it won't hurt you. I had a hole in my back molar the size of a air rifle pellet that I had to nurse for months because I had no insurance and no money, and not once did it hurt at all.

    The only way it can be a root canal is if the infection is at or very near the root, and it doesn't sound likely that it's gotten that bad if you're just noticing it.

    Jasconius on
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    Blake TBlake T Do you have enemies then? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    How did you check?

    I ask because if you have travelers insurance most offer stop gap dental work while you are away.

    Blake T on
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    Chop LogicChop Logic Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I checked by asking the guy at my school where I'm currently studying. He said my insurance here covers hospital visits only.

    I was looking again last night and I have another one, so I made an appointment for the dentist on Thursday. Basically, it is... on my backmost tooth there is a black spot on the center of the bottom, where it would touch food, that does not exactly look small, and then on the tooth in front of that, on the inside side, there is a little black spot in the center.

    So yeah, dentist.

    Thanks for our help guys, although if anyone has anything else to say I'd be interested. I don't really know how this happened. I haven't really been eating candy over here at all, and oddly enough I have not been smoking here, where as I smoke all the time at home.

    Chop Logic on
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    DeathwingDeathwing Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I don't really know how this happened. I haven't really been eating candy over here at all, and oddly enough I have not been smoking here, where as I smoke all the time at home.

    I've never smoked a day in my life, I don't eat hardly any candy at all, and I have maybe 1 real-sugar soda a month (if that)...and yet i've managed to rack up fillings on pretty much all my back teeth, and had to have my wisdom teeth pulled.

    Could be a lot of things - brushing/flossing techniques, cramped teeth arrangement, food getting stuck somewhere unnoticed, etc.

    Deathwing on
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    It's random, that is not to say sweets do not help it along. Avoiding acidic foods helps, if you're past the "OMG SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR" phase of your life.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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    SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I want to reiterate my advice to check with the Consulate. I've been able to find high quality urgent or emergency care overseas delivered basically at-cost simply by placing a phone call to the nearest State Department employee and asking if she could recommend anyone.

    You'd have to be a silly goose not to at least make the phone call and check.

    SammyF on
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    KillgrimageKillgrimage Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Yup, seems random. I brush daily and try to floss, but my dentist loves me because I rarely have any problems. My husband babys his teeth and ends up with a cavity or a crack in his tooth(!!!) almost every time (we both eat candy, but don't drink soda). Some people just have weaker teeth than others.

    Killgrimage on
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    CuddlyCuteKittenCuddlyCuteKitten Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    OK people, from a dentist here. It's NOT random.

    It's a balance of a large number of factors which basically boil down to a simple chemical reaction based around the stability of the minerals in your tooth in acid environments. More acid equals more disolved minerals and more cavities.

    While not all of the factors are currently understood we do know that the main thing is that suger is metabolized to acid by bacteria. Other factors affect the balance between health and disease but two things are certain:
    1) If you do not have any bacteria in your mouth you cannot convert carbohydrates to acid (the faster the carbs the more acidic end products are converted, thus refined sugar is the biggest threat by far)
    2) If you do not eat any sugar or other fast carbs the bacteria doesn't have anything to convert into acid.

    Thus regardless of the other factors improved oral hygiene to get rid of bacteria and reduced intakes of carbohydrates will reduce the ammount of caries you get.

    Saying it's random or that it depends on genes is just an excuse.

    CuddlyCuteKitten on
    waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaow - Felicia, SPFT2:T
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    bowenbowen How you doin'? Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Wait. It's not random but it is? o_O

    But that is basically rewording what I said and putting more dentisty wording behind "random, but acidic!" that I said earlier.

    bowen on
    not a doctor, not a lawyer, examples I use may not be fully researched so don't take out of context plz, don't @ me
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