Awake During Dental Work: Could Lead To Trauma/Injury?

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Rachel28

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Mar 7, 2007
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7
Hi everyone. OK, so I have a lot of bad teeth but I haven't had pain in quite a long time, thank goodness. Unfortunately this grace period can't last forever, no matter what I do. I can't afford to even see a dentist, let alone have any kind of work done. The University of Toronto here runs a dental school that offers services that still cost, but cost less (though in my opinion they have a funny idea of what 'less' ought to be - they want $50 just to take a look at you at all after you wait forever on their lists! But I digress).

Anyway, a big part of the basis for my dental phobia (and subsequent avoidance of any dentists for years now) is the concern that if I am awake during any dental work, that I will be so terrified and in such pain that I will likely jerk my head involuntarily, causing a drill or scalpel or goodness knows what else to hit other parts of my teeth or mouth or even face. Possibly even causing serious damage! I honestly don't believe I would be physically capable of remaining still for the dentist. Previous experience has shown that I likely have crooked nerves, as up to five injections of whatever it is they use to 'freeze' the nerve & gum - five injections for just one molar! - did not work and I sharply, involuntarily jerked when the guy even barely touched the area. It was extremely sensitive.

So here's the thing. Just today I noticed what I am presuming is a gum boil under my lower right molar...and sure enough, later this evening it oozed some pus. It doesn't hurt at all now. Hasn't hurt at all, in fact, at any time (which struck me as odd, since I read that they're supposed to hurt before they drain, and mine hasn't had any pain). Anyway, I'm concerned that despite avoiding sugar & soda for years now, sticking to plenty of fruit juices, vegetables, milk and good stuff like that (including taking antibiotics several times over the last couple of years whenever I noticed a funny smell along the gumline, which worked like a charm each time)...that this gum boil may signal a turning point. I read that when these appear, if left untreated at the source, the source can possibly - possibly - lead to blood poisoning.

I'm not ready to die. However:

1) I can't afford a dentist, or endodontist, etc. I live on just over $3000 a year after rent.

2) The last dentist I consulted (in 2007) said he wouldn't feel comfortable working on my teeth unless it were in a hospital, because in his professional opinion he said the chances of my dying as a result of work being done on my teeth were significant. He said that he personally would not be comfortable treating me at all, even *if* I had the money, because he was *that* sure that I would probably choke to death on broken tooth and blood, on the table. [Thinking "um, what??" I asked him "wouldn't you folks just suction that out and stop long enough to do that, before proceeding with the surgery?" He said it's not that simple and doesn't work that way. Then he told me to beat it.] *It should be noted that "in my professional opinion, you'll probably die if you get dental work done" has been a remarkably strong incentive to not have any work done, lol.

3) Above all else, I am concerned that even if I could afford to get treated and could find a dentist willing to do so, that I would be unable to afford to be put to sleep. In which case I am *deeply concerned* that the pain & mental anguish would be so significant that as soon as the drill or whatever touches the nerve, my head would involuntarily jerk so far that it would send the drill shooting up into my head or something. You understand what I mean...sensitive work is being done and then the patient's head suddenly jerks violently, sending the damn tool skidding to goodness knows where.

I'm really freaked out, and I need guidance. I try to do what I can to buy time and slow if not stop the problems with my teeth (getting rid of sugar and soda for a few years now has had a tremendously positive effect, as has a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, etc). But this recent gum boil has me imagining a sudden trip to the emergency room (where they don't know much about dentistry), and a damned young death by blood poisoning. I want to live!!!!!!!!!!!! Long!!!!

P.S. Despite the above, I should note that as early as 2007 the dentist who wouldn't treat me (even if I paid) said "you have advanced periodontal disease", and I am a pack a day smoker. I'm probably not going to be quitting smoking any time soon, though I do feel the effects are somewhat mitigated by my otherwise healthy diet and various other little tricks I have. I also keep my tongue extremely clean.

Anyway....yeah, sorry for going on so much. Basically my main concern is whether being awake would mean risking significant jerking & consequent trauma/injury. Oh, one more thing - I'm not convinced that 'laughing gas' would be an acceptable alternative to the 'freezing' that doesn't work. People's minds react in different ways to things, and I'm convinced that the mental trauma would still be beyond scarring were I awake in any capacity. (Also, if I could *afford* laughing gas, I'd be opting to pay to be put to sleep anyway).

Rachel :)
 
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poolie

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Aug 30, 2009
Messages
16
Hi Rachel,
Dont know if this will be of any help to you, but i hope it'll ease some of your worries. I recently had 14 teeth took out all at the same time. I live in England and i am bein treated by an NHS dentist, so i didnt have the choice of being asleep when they did it. You can be but it takes months to be referred for it where i live.
Anyway, i had them all taken out after having the injections. If i felt the slightest twinge while he was doing it, i just made an appropriate noise. LOL. And he would give me an instant booster for the numbness. I wasnt entirely sure about that working when he told me about it, but, it worked.:jump:
As for the dentist who told you that you'd choke to death?????? how EVIL can one man be??!! And they wonder why were petrified eh??!!:confused:
If you try it, when you put your head back, you can actually pull your tongue to the back of your throat comfortably, sort of sealing your windpipe. My dentist dropped at least four bits of teeth or teeth while he was taking mine out. He just got me to sit up, cup my hand over my mouth and cough it out then have a quick rinse. As for the bleeding, the dental nurse was by me the whole time sucking it all away while the dentist caught the rest with gauze. I doubt yours would continue after doing one extraction if the bleeding was that bad. He certainly wouldnt keep going if it was, i wouldnt think.
I hope i've been a little help to you anyway. Hope you get sorted out soon too. Took me 12 long years to go to the dentist, and i wasnt in pain either when i did. I must've been slightly mad at the time??:hic: But i'm glad i did. It's slowly becoming worth it.
Good luck. XXXX:hug2:
 
Cielo

Cielo

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Jul 18, 2009
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Hi, Rachel~

The dentist you saw in '07 should have his license revoked and be flogged. What he said sounds like it came out of the mouth of an imaginative 7 year old, not a health professional.

Unless you have teeth the size of golf balls, it would be nearly impossible to choke on a tooth or tooth fragment. Cough and sputter, maybe, but choke? To choke, it would have to lodge in your throat and block the passage of air. Think about it... are your teeth big enough to do that? My son swallowed a tooth in his sleep when he was little and didn't realize it until he woke up in the morning minus a tooth. :rolleyes:

As for the drill slipping and causing injury, have you seen a dentist's drill? The bit used is very, very tiny. There is no way it can slip and "go shooting up into your head." They're noisy, but hardly dangerous. Dentists are accustomed to patients moving, they handle it like the professionals they are and lift the drill. I slid down the chair once, ducking out from under the dentist's hands. The drill stopped immediately, but even if it hadn't, I don't think it could have done much damage.

I've had the drill touch my tongue and cheeks briefly. It's never done any damage that I've been able to notice, so please don't let your imagination get carried away, okay? Concentrate instead on finding a way to get to a good dentist and start your own journey to a healthier mouth.

I wish you only the best and hope you can be seen soon and put these fears to rest.
 
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Rachel28

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Mar 7, 2007
Messages
7
Thank you, Cielo and poolie. I'm not certain that I know what to do next, but I appreciate the considerate posts. Knowing from previous experience more than 10 years ago that up to five 'numbing' injections didn't have any real impact in reducing pain or sensitivity (and that was just for one cavity in one molar!), I am still very leery of having any work done unless I am asleep. It doesn't seem humane to ask someone to be awake while this sort of surgery is performed on living bone & nerves.

Anyway...thank you in advance for bearing with this looooong post: there are some actual questions towards the end *hugs*. :)

Basically the thing that startled me most in 2007 was how when it looked like I *might* be able to find the money (via an unusually generous gift from an acquaintance who has long since vanished, along with said offer), the dentist I saw was so sure of my kicking the bucket on the table that he refused to treat me, no matter what. Like even if I had the money, he wouldn't do it - precisely because he felt that my chances of surviving the treatment was *that* awful. Surely no dentist (especially in a relatively wealthy area of town) would turn down money - thousands of dollars - unless they believed what they were saying. He did say he would only ever consider treating teeth like mine if it were done in a hospital, because of the increased risk to my life, but that I would have a very difficult time getting cooperation from any hospital for that unless I was dying. And that he wasn't interested in or comfortable with personally taking me on, hospital or no, because he felt it was that dangerous.

One might think "oh, how nice - this dentist was concerned for your well being." That wasn't the vibe I got from this guy at all. His bedside manner was terrible, and truly lacking in compassion. His whole attitude towards me was one of slightly bored disinterest - and when pressed, downright hostile. He certainly didn't seem to understand or care about the impact of his 'professional' assessment re: my teeth and how to proceed. His reasons for refusing to treat me amounted to something along the lines of "there will be a lot of blood from your gum-diseased gums, which will make it difficult to work - and plenty of weak tooth shattering into thousands of pieces and being nearly impossible to extract properly from the diseased gums...and the excessive blood and loads of bits of tooth will fill your throat, causing you to choke to death in mid-procedure" (???). He said more, but the bit about dying was the part that stuck out in my memory. I went to him being honest about my dental phobias and he was very dismissive of the very notion of dental phobia. Then he turns around and tells me treatment will likely cause my death! Yoy!

Now I know...this sounded ridiculous. I looked at him cockeyed when he said all this - a lot of it didn't seem to make any sense to me and I said as much - which caused him to get a bit uptight and brusquely say "Well I don't expect you to know anything about oral surgery." He was very adamant, aggressively so, in his assertion that "it's not that simple, it doesn't work that way" when I asked "wouldn't you simply take a minute to suction the blood and stuff out of my throat so that I don't choke to death, and then continue?"

Then he said that I could *try* to get treated by the University of Toronto's teaching school (which does lower-cost dentistry of a sort for lower-income people) but that my chances of being accepted & treated by them were virtually nil, for precisely the same reasons that he was refusing to treat me. Apparently he was (at the time, anyway) one of their dentists as well, and so 'in the know.' (Recent perusal of their website *does* indicate that if a patient requires excessive amounts of work, or complicated care beyond the scope of the average need, that they may be turned away with a recommendation to seek out a private dentist).

Then, bizarrely - after having just told me how incredibly high my chances of *dying* were if I pursued treatment - he turned around and said that all dentistry - yes, ALL dentistry - is entirely cosmetic and medically unnecessary UNLESS a person is within 24 hours of death as a result of their dental problems. His exact quote was "it's no more important than a nose job or a boob job - that's why it's not covered by OHIP." [OHIP is the Ontario Health Insurance Plan - basically the 'universal' health care that Canadians living in Ontario enjoy.] He said "look, you're not writhing on the floor in agony at the moment - you're not dying yet. So why risk your life to get treated? If you're not going to die in the next 24 hours, then you don't *need* treatment, you merely *want* treatment." He also made it very clear that the 'unnecessary' nature of dentistry was what allowed him to pick and choose whom we treated, based on his own criterion.

He said that I could attempt to find another dentist, adding: "I think you'll find any competent dentist will decline to treat you outside of a hospital for the same reasons I've given. And many will not be comfortable with proceeding even in hospital."

His final recommendation? The most insane thing I've ever heard from any health professional: "Your only other option is to just wait until blood poisoning occurs. Then you'll be rushed to an emergency room in a hospital and because you're at death's door they'll put you to sleep for free, and treat your teeth for free, and they'll *have* to do it to keep you from dying, so there won't be any objections over the risk. Though the risks to you will be at least the same as they are now, if not stronger." He recommends waiting for blood poisoning!

As much as I loathe this 'dentist' and his horrible...everything...the truth of the matter is I've unintentionally been following his advice (after a fashion, anyway). Despite having done nothing 'professional' to treat my teeth (which are a mess), I'm basically pain-free now and simply hoping to somehow remain functional enough to just somehow never ever have to actually get my teeth treated. Like just live with the situation, forever.

I've relied on healthy changes to diet and so forth to maintain the situation as is (which so far has had a tremendously positive impact, all but bringing my problems to a standstill). If all it meant was having awful looking teeth and the occasional mild infection (easily treated with a standard round of antibiotics), and even some pain sometimes, I could honestly live with that. Which is the point - I'd be alive.

But the gum boil (there are two now actually, one below the right molar and one below the left molar, or what remains of it) - gum boils - are a wake-up call. I'm deeply concerned that my current course of inaction re: professional treatment could lead to my premature death. I *so* don't want that. Yet that dentist's refusal to treat me in 2007 (not even for money) sticks out in my mind...the treatment could mean death too, assuming I could find it and afford it. Because I really cannot afford to even pay for a simple checkup, with any dental professional.

And now the QUESTIONS part of this much-too-long post: :D
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- What I really need to know is...what kind of risk am I running here by self-managing the situation?

- Are these gum boils the turning point, the precursor to a young death, that I'm imagining them to be? Or are they just an otherwise standard part of having bad teeth that I can live with?

- Are they even gum boils (seeing as I'm not feeling any pain from them, before or after they eject their pus)? At no point have they been even mildly sore, let alone painful.

- Are there some kind of home remedies that I can use on my own, just to stop my teeth from ever reaching a life-threatening point?


I realize I'm probably engaging in wishful thinking here but as I said before...if all that failure to get professional treatment meant was having awful looking teeth and the occasional mild infection (easily treated with a standard round of antibiotics), and even some pain sometimes, I could honestly live with that. Which is the point - I'd be alive.

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Anyone with pertinent knowledge regarding how to proceed (especially re: a Canadian citizen living in Toronto), your post(s) will be appreciated. The truth is, it's so easy to just go about one's day and pretend this problem doesn't exist. But I really don't want to die at 30 as a result of doing so - not if I can help it.

A thousand thanks to everyone who read this *hugs*. :)
 
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brit

brit

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What the last dentist you saw told you is outrageous - I personally don't believe a word he said corresponds to the reality of your situation - people do not die from competent tooth extractions...awake or otherwise.

You may have an issue with numbing or it may have just been a one-off problem caused by acute infection....some dentists are familiar with advanced techniques for hard to numb situations...there's more info here:


I can't really comment on your current situation but would advise consulting a different and hopefully more humane dentist as soon as possible. I/V sedation might be a good option for you...it is much cheaper than full GA in hospital. :grouphug:
 
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FinnishGirl

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May 13, 2008
Messages
372
Could you try to see another dentist anyway? What your previous dentist said can't possibly be true. What about the dental school, could you afford it? There must be some way for you to get the treatment you need. Yes, need, it's not all about what you want. When I read this forum, I never stop wondering how incredibly immoral and unprofessional people call themselves dentists.
 
brit

brit

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I just found your previous posts.

So sorry it's taking you so long to get sorted out. If you still think you will need dentures, you might be better off consulting an oral surgeon instead of a General Dentist since they will likely be less phased at the thought of doing extractions than the last dentist seemed to be. :grouphug:
 
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Rachel28

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Joined
Mar 7, 2007
Messages
7
Thanks Brit. I'll look into finding an oral surgeon. But bear in mind, that last dentist was an oral surgeon if memory serves me. Anyway...the following is what I really need answers on and haven't received yet:

- What I really need to know is...what kind of risk am I running here by self-managing the situation?

- Are these gum boils the turning point, the precursor to a young death, that I'm imagining them to be? Or are they just an otherwise standard part of having bad teeth that I can live with?

- Are they even gum boils (seeing as I'm not feeling any pain from them, before or after they eject their pus)? At no point have they been even mildly sore, let alone painful.

- Are there some kind of home remedies that I can use on my own, just to stop my teeth from ever reaching a life-threatening point?

I realize I'm probably engaging in wishful thinking here but as I said before...if all that failure to get professional treatment meant was having awful looking teeth and the occasional mild infection (easily treated with a standard round of antibiotics), and even some pain sometimes, I could honestly live with that. Which is the point - I'd be alive.

----------

Anyone with pertinent knowledge regarding how to proceed (especially re: a Canadian citizen living in Toronto), your post(s) will be appreciated. The truth is, it's so easy to just go about one's day and pretend this problem doesn't exist. But I really don't want to die at 30 as a result of doing so - not if I can help it.

A thousand thanks to everyone who read this *hugs*. :)
 
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Rachel28

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Mar 7, 2007
Messages
7
Hi everyone .... OK so I'm evidently still alive. Here's the latest.

- I definitely have gum boils, though whether the cause is acute gingivitis or abcesses I have no idea. Personally I'm hoping it's gingivitis, since that's something I perceive to be more easily self-treatable. Also I don't think it's abcesses because there's really no pain and hasn't been for years.

- The gum boils come and go, and dehydration during sleep seems to make them appear in particular & fill with whitish pus. I pop them and rinse thoroughly with warm water whenever they appear (there's two of them, each under the main back molar on either side of the lower half of my mouth).

- Very recently the one on the right suddenly clotted for some reason (it appears to be a loose blood clot to me anyway) and hasn't formed a 'boil' (i.e. with pus) since. I feel some numbness/pressure around it under the tooth, like in the gum. I'm not sure what the hell any of this means. Is it insignificant? Is it urgent?? I don't know, that's why I come here.

As to treatment, after extensive hands-on research & more dental visits than I can remember, one thing is now finally clear: barring some extremely newsworthy changes to social medicine in Canada, preventative self-treatment is my only option. I can barely afford to eat each month, so:

- There's no money for sedation or for seeing a private dentist.
- There's no money for lower-cost dentistry.
- The dentistry teaching schools in Ontario will (at their discretion) flat-out refuse to treat a patient that requires complex and/or extensive amounts of dental treatment. (My required treatment could hardly be any more complex and extensive, and one of the teaching orthodontists from the U of T dental college program [who took a look at my teeth before refusing to take me on in his private practice] has assured me I would be wasting my time trying to get accepted for treatment through them).

So it's preventative self-treatment then - delay and prevent the need for treatment, forever if need be. So far my plan involves:

1 - Continuing to keep virtually all sugar and carbonated drinks out of my diet (as I've been doing for several years)
2 - Attempting to quit smoking (even repeated failed attempts are better than none)
3 - Using Listerine
4 - Brushing the tongue

I'm now 31. My gums are visibly the worse for periodontal disease. Methinks smoking has been a key factor in that, and I'm hoping that a reduction and/or cessation of smoking, in combination with the Listerine & tongue brushing & sugar-free diet, will help to bring them back to at least partial vitality. But anyway - now that we're all up to speed, here's my question:

What else can I be doing on my own just to keep myself alive in regards to my teeth? Basically I've long since given up on having beautiful teeth, fake or real, and long since given up on ever being able to afford and/or be approved for professional treatment. I'm now focused on just literally staying alive and relatively pain-free. Are there any tips or tricks you can recommend? Any particular vitamins or home remedies or such?? Any medicine or regimen you can think of that can be self-administered, legally, to allow me to live a relatively fine life eating mushy food etc with the minimum of risk to my life. I'd hate to think that I could be doing something more but aren't because I failed to take the time to ask you kind folks what that something more is, know what I mean?

That's what I need. My sincerest thanks in advance. I'm just hoping to learn some things here that I don't know now, things that will help.

*hugs* Thanks! :)
 
Gordon

Gordon

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There's next to zero chance of dying because of your teeth. Maybe if you lived in the 3rd world someplace, it might be an issue.

Now, Canada is not 3rd world, if things were to flare up to such a serious extent, a quick bumful of antibiotics in your local hospital would clear up almost any dental infection very quickly :)

As for your self-treatment plan, the smoking is going to kill you more effectively than tooth problems will, so keep trying to quit. Cutting out sugary drinks is going to reduce your risks of diabetes and heart disease, so good idea to cut them down. Listerine is pretty evil stuff, so save your money and use warm salt water instead. Brushing your tongue will make your breath smell better, nothing else.
 
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