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Bone conduction, noise, and getting a crown

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curlsandsuch

Junior member
Joined
Dec 16, 2021
Messages
4
Location
Boston
I had my first cleaning/xrays today in many years, and it actually went really well, but the dentist thinks it's time for me to get a crown for a molar that has (painlessly) had a crack since college. I'm objectively on board (they're the experts!), but I am really, really worried about what it's going to be like when they "prepare" the tooth. I've never had a filling, or a crown, and I'm really concerned that I'm not going to be able to handle the noise of the... drilling or whatever else it is they need to do.

At today's cleaning, they started by passing an electric device of some kind along my gum lines. It made a very high-pitched sound that was loud but tolerable.... except for when it conducted through my bones to my ears! I'm not exaggerating, when that conduction happened, it was subjectively maybe the loudest sound I have ever experienced. My eyes started to water. I really tried to keep still, but could not stop myself from shaking during the moments, off and on, while it was so loud. The hygienist stopped to ask if I was having trouble with the sound, and kept promising it was almost done.... And it was, and we moved on to things I'm more familiar with, like using the little scraper to clean, and brushing and flossing. Great, clean teeth now.

I have no idea what that device was, but that was maximally unpleasant. I would rather have pain than that extremely loud sound.... and that was just some gum-cleaning device. I can't even imagine how much worse it's going to sound when they are actually drilling or sanding or whatevering the bone of my tooth.

I am worried that I going to flinch or shake or otherwise move and mess up the dentist.

Does what I experienced sound typical, and likely to happen again during the prep for the crown? Do you have any suggestions for what I can do? I don't think headphones or ear plugs, which I have read about people using during procedures, will help, because they won't stop sound conducted that way. And is it realistic that, if I lose it and do flinch/move/shake, I will mess up the dentist and potentially cause them to damage my teeth?

Thanks for any thoughts, this basket case greatly appreciates it lol!
 
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C

curlsandsuch

Junior member
Joined
Dec 16, 2021
Messages
4
Location
Boston
FWIW: I am now guessing the device was an ultrasonic scaler.
 
drhirst

drhirst

Super Moderator
Verified dentist
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
759
Location
Welwyn Garden City, UK
Hi curlsandsuch,
You are correct it was an ultrasonic scaler. In some people it can be unpleasantly noisy when it contducts the vibrations through the bones close to your ears. Not all patients expereince this, but some do. In order to mitigate this, I uses hand scalers on the problem teeth and/or turn the vibration level right down.

The good news is that the the drilling for the crown will not produce this sensation as it does not vibrate in the same way, so ear plugs or headphones will be effective in reducing the sound to a minimum.
 
C

curlsandsuch

Junior member
Joined
Dec 16, 2021
Messages
4
Location
Boston
Thanks for your reply, and ooh, good to know that drilling doesn't have the same effect at all.

Thanks also for explaining that you are able to turn the vibration of your ultrasonic scaler down or switch to hand scalers if your patients are getting too much noise on particular teeth. I will ask if my hygienist can do that, next time.
 
C

curlsandsuch

Junior member
Joined
Dec 16, 2021
Messages
4
Location
Boston
This is scheduled for tomorrow. Appreciating again the knowledge that it shouldn't be extremely loud.
 
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