I've had an ongoing low-grade problem with a tooth that had a crack in it and that my dentist capped a couple of years ago. Upon evaluation, the specialist said that I should have a root canal because there's probably a tiny infection down at the root of the tooth. Unfortunately, for healthcare-financing reasons (it's an expensive procedure that my insurance only covers at 60%), I had to wait from last May until after the first of the year before I could actually schedule the procedure. Fortunately, the pain has been mostly minimal unless I bite down hard on that particular tooth or eat very hot/cold foods and surround the tooth with the heat/cold source. Anyway, I called the specialist this afternoon, and she said that even though it's been about nine months since she evaluated me, she didn't think she'd need to do a new evaluation, so next Thursday afternoon, I get to go up to Redwood Shores and have a root canal. Oh joy.
It's a shame she'll have to drill through a perfectly good gold cap to get at the tooth, but that's still better than having to remove the tooth entirely, which might have eventually happened if we didn't eventually get at the root of the problem, literally.