At my wits end

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Aj64

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May 4, 2018
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16
#1
This might end up a long post. Sorry to make you read so much.

It started October 2017. I began getting pain in my left temple area when I touched it. Saw a neurologist and several doctors. Had an MRI scan but nothing was found. But the pain kept increasing. Then in March 2018 my gp suggested seeing a dentist. I wasn't getting any tooth pain at all but I was desperate for answers. I hadn't seen a dentist in over a decade (I know, very daft of me). It took a while to find an nhs dentist who was accepting new patients.

So I saw a dentist. He took xrays and said it was possible I needed a filling replacing on my upper left, first molar, but that the head pain probably wasn't tooth related. So he rem9ved the old filling and found a lot of decay beneath it which he said had probably been festering for a long time.

After removing the decay he was now extremely close to the nerves of the tooth but put a new filling in and we hoped for the best. The pain skyrocketed, both the pain in my temple and now the tooth itself. So he said I needed a root canal.

So he gave me the root canal. After completing it he told me that he had never done an unsupervised molar root canal before!!! The pain didn't go away. I went back to his office every week for a month telling him how much it was hurting. Even my tongue brushing the tooth caused extreme pain. He said he didn't know what else to suggest and maybe I should find a new dentist. I was so scared and annoyed.

I found a new dentist (private this time as no local nhs dentists were taking new patients). This dentist was annoyed that the nhs guy attempted the root canal. He told me I had 2 options. Extraction or see a specialist endodontist to see if the tooth could still be saved. He also told me that due to the position of the roots of my molar, extraction would likely cause a sinus perforation. My fear skyrocketed and stupidly I googled sinus perforations and read some real horror stories.

So I found an endodontist. It was now July 2018 and I had suffered months of sleepless nights and absolute agony in tooth, temple, left eye and cheek. The endo did a retreatment (costing £900...most if my savings). And we waited. Still the pain wouldn't go.

So in November 2018 the endo tried another retreatment for free (very kind of him). He discovered I had extra canals (instead of the usual 3 or 4 I had 6!).

The pain was still there. It had eased a bit but still impossible to chew on my left side or even brush that molar properly. But the endo said wait and see if it settles.

In the meantime I found a surgeon (had to go private again as nhs waiting lists were obscene in the area). He said he could extract and if necessary do a sinus repair using my cheek fat...But it would cost £2000 and require general anaesthesia. I simply could not afford that after the root canal cost and the thought of general anaesthetic scares me. But I booked anyway thinking I could get a loan.

A week before the scheduled extraction they called saying the surgery had been cancelled due to staff shortages. They wouldn't be able to rebook until January 2019

To cut a long story at least a little short, I still have the tooth now. Some things happened in my life earlier this year and money has become a big issue so there is no way I can afford that much money. I have after much searching found a local(ish) oral surgeon who will see me on 1st April. He isn't too expensive and seems experienced.

Now I am absolutely terrified. The prospect of sinus perforation and having to deal with so much healing really terrifies me. I've lost so much weight through not being able to eat properly through all of this (I only weighed 70kg to begin with and am now at 55kg). Between the weight loss and loss of sleep I look like a zombie and feel like I'm actually losing my mind. I just sit and cry for hours sometimes and this entire situation has left me feeling helpless. It seems so weird that 1 tooth has affected my life so much and no one has seemed able to help me properly.
 
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Judythecat

Judythecat

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Mar 7, 2018
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269
#2
Gosh, poor you. This might be a daft question, but are you still registered with the NHS dentist? I was referred to an endodontist for root canal on an upper molar, which had huge, twisted roots close to my sinus cavity - my own dentist was happy to do it, but said if it was her tooth she would prefer a specialist. He said that if the tooth needed extracted, he would send me back to my (NHS) dentist, who would then refer me to the dental hospital. I paid privately for the root canal, but had I needed the extraction it would have been free of charge. I am in Scotland so I know things are a bit different here, but might that be worth looking into?
 
Enarete

Enarete

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#3
Hi Aj64,

so sorry to read what you have been through and even more that you are still suffering after so many visits :( Will you see the surgeon for the first time on 1st April for a consultation or is the procedure scheduled already?
 
A

Aj64

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May 4, 2018
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16
#4
Enerete
The appointment on 1st April will be an initial consultation. I did speak to the surgeon on the phone though and he said he thinks my extraction should be within his skill level (he's been a dentist for 30 years and an oral surgery specialist for 9 years).

Judythecat
I'm no longer with the nhs dentist. What happened really scared me so I am now registered with the private dentist who seems much more caring and isn't much more expensive than the nhs anyway. I am very jealous of Scotish people...your government actually seem competent and caring. The nhs down here is a bit of a mess, particularly dentistry.
 
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MountainMama

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Jul 1, 2018
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851
#5
So sorry to hear about your struggles. I had an upper left molar that had a similar situation. I had a root canal (with an endodontist) that never settled. She performed an apicoectomy, which did perforate my sinus. It wasn't as bad as it sounds on google. I had a sinus infection for about two weeks and wasn't allowed to blow my nose during that time. Ultimately I had to have the tooth extracted. It again went into my sinus. The oral surgeon used a synthetic membrane to cover it, and I had bone grafting done. It again caused a sinus infection but healed nicely.
 
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Aj64

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#6
I've been reading your journey mountainmama. I feel bad for being so scared after all youve been through! You're so strong to have dealt with everything. It sounds like we had a pretty similar problem with our upper molar. My new dentist thinks there may be a crack but said the only way to know would be to extract and see. I'm praying to every god imaginable that this surgeon I'm seeing in a few weeks can extract the tooth without tearing my sinus open. The idea of a hole between my mouth and inside my face really freaks me out.
 
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MountainMama

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#7
I've been reading your journey mountainmama. I feel bad for being so scared after all youve been through! You're so strong to have dealt with everything. It sounds like we had a pretty similar problem with our upper molar. My new dentist thinks there may be a crack but said the only way to know would be to extract and see. I'm praying to every god imaginable that this surgeon I'm seeing in a few weeks can extract the tooth without tearing my sinus open. The idea of a hole between my mouth and inside my face really freaks me out.
I hope my journey can help in some way. I was absolutely terrified of extractions and dental procedures when all this started, but now my fear of procedures has definitely lessened. The surgeon should be able to fix a sinus communication pretty easily. I had it twice, and saw an ENT. The ENT said that it really isn't that big of a deal and it heals on its own.

You will be fine! Deep breaths, and trust your surgeon. They do this all the time.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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#8
Enerete
The appointment on 1st April will be an initial consultation. I did speak to the surgeon on the phone though and he said he thinks my extraction should be within his skill level (he's been a dentist for 30 years and an oral surgery specialist for 9 years).
I know this is easier said than done but if the procedure scares you so much, it might be good to separate it into bite sized pieces and only think as much forward as necessary. Your next appointment is a consultation so for now thinking about your questions and the things that scare you would be the best idea. You can still worry about the actual treatment later. Hopefully your surgeon is a nice one and will do his best to put you at ease and explain to you why all the awful things you are imagining won't happen.

Really hope you can get some sleep soon and find a way to distract yourself to get through the next two weeks. Thinking back on my journey, writing a journal was what helped me any time I felt overwhelmed by fear.

All the best wishes and keep us posted
 
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Aj64

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#9
I will keep this updated as things progress. It's great to have somewhere to talk with people who understand how frightening this all is