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Comfort Dentist's Personal story



Well-known member
Verified dentist
Jul 19, 2009
Miami, Fl
So as most all of you know I am a dentist and a human. This means that I too have teeth and their related diseases. Some time back I had a root canal but due to a root fracture I lost the tooth after some years. Of course I fully know exactly what is going on and the associated bone loss. While I have no phobias I am NOT looking forward to my treatment. So I lost a maxillary molar and I have inadequate bone as it now stands.
This means that I need a sinus lift so that the dentist can obtain enough bone to place an implant.

So my personal issues are as follows:
I dive and I know after the surgery I can't dive, blow my nose, drink through a straw, etc for a few weeks as a minimum. Since I do all the procedures I need to have done and I know several dentists who I have trust in performing this procedure I have to select only one for the surgery. As a doctor it is an honor when another asks you to operate on them. For the surgeon it is also a burden. A fellow dentist is the last person you want to have a less than ideal result.
So did I pick a general dentist, oral surgeon, prosthodontist, or periodontist? And why?
I know many of each but I selected a general dentist to perform my surgery and prosthetic treatment.
Why? There is a small group of general dentists that a manufacturer once told me that they call super dentists. These are exceptionally talented dentists who can perform highly specialized treatment better than the typical "expert" based by their title.
I'll add to this thread another day.
So I personally prefer to use IV sedation for a sinus lift and frankly now I know why.
So I knew that I could tolerate the procedure with just local anesthesia and I had the possible advantage of knowing exactly what was going on based on sounds and sensations.
My first step was to cheat! Yes I gave myself some local anesthesia first before I walked in so I was already partially numb. My injections are far more comfortable.
Positionally I was laying at least completely flat with my head tilted upwards. Why? Because this is a delicate operation and I want to make it as easy as possible for him. While in general I don't like holding still I will say that I didn't move once! Always best to be able to operate under optimal conditions. I also didn't complain about my lip getting partially pinched while either him or the assistant was focusing on the operation. It bothered me but didn't raise to the level of pain. My mouth had a fair amount of saline pooling in the back and his assistant would occasionally suction it out and a few times would run down my neck. Fortunately I breath hold dive for lobsters so I can stay calm under these conditions.
Anyhow I must admit that the whole procedure was rather annoying and it reminded me of what it is like to be a patient. These experiences continue to make me a better dentist. I had never had an ultrasonic surgical device used on me before.
Thanks for posting this Comfortdentist, it's fascinating to read!

And it helps to see dentists as humans :)

I have to ask though because I'm intrigued...did you really inject yourself with a local? Didn't think that was even possible!
YES I gave myself some local anesthesia. It is also the very best way to understand the relationship between injection speed (and technique) and pain.
Let me talk about the ultrasonic device. This is NOT the same as the ultrasonic device used to help clean teeth. This is a high power unit that is very helpful to cut bone and help remove teeth. Not many dentists have them as they are relatively new to dentistry and are rather costly. I have had mine for awhile though. It sprays sterile saline on the site while the tip vibrates very very fast. So it is very nice as you can make fine cuts and you can cut bone without cutting tissues. The later feature is extremely healthful when performing sinus lifts. ( a good question to ask if you need a sinus lift. If the dentist has a piezoelectric bone saw then probably he does have a strong interest in implant surgery). Anyhow I was surprised by how annoying the sound of that thing is on your bone. I never realized it over the years that I have owned and used the device. This is the advantage of being a patient and a doctor.
Thank you for sharing, this it is very interesting for us to be able to read about this experience from a dentists perspective. I am glad that you will gain a better understanding of how it feels to have the procedure and I am sure you will use it to help your patients.

I would like to wish you all the best for your treatment from one patient to another.

I REALLY appreciate the impact of when the local anesthesia wears off and the pain hits. So I went home numb and had ice on my face and even though I had an NSAID(ibuprofen) in my system I soon decided that I would like something stronger when the anesthetic wore off. So I did take a stronger pain reliever which I was glad I had but I only "needed" that one dose. I have heard this from numerous patients before. People have said that they needed the prescription for just one day. The problem is who needs it one dose, one day, two days or a week? This is a dilemma for doctors. The regulatory body would like us to write less prescriptions for opioids as too many of these drugs have been misused resulting in deaths. So who do you write a prescription for? And for how many? Many years ago I would get samples of some of these more potent drugs and I could give a patient a couple and if they needed more I could phone in the prescription. Now they can't give out samples, I can't phone it in as all prescriptions for these drugs must be in writing on special paper. I can't even buy a bottle at my own expense and give out without much more paperwork and cost involved so I know of literally no one who does that.
Anyhow it has been a few days and the swelling is decreasing and I am still taking the antibiotics as bone grafts require them.
Thank you for including us in your experience from multiple perspectives. I'm happy to hear your swelling is decreasing and the pain is manageable. Hoping the rest of your recovery is smooth, uneventful and speedy. How long do you have to wait before you can have the implant placed? Thanks again for sharing your experience with us.
So post -op today. All is fine no signs of infection or opening of the surgical site. Are is still tender to touch and overall sore but I still haven't taken anything for pain but the first night 2 pills.
Hi Comfortdentist,

I have to echo the applause given by other forum users. Thank you for presenting yourself as a 'human being' which for me almost normalises tooth loss. As a phobic who is fearful of actually losing a part of myself this has given me something to think about in terms of my perspective of dental health issues.

I am facing tooth loss at some point in my future and it scares the hell out of me. I can honestly say I have seriously considered taking my life over this. (It's not just the loss but the self blame because I let my phobia keep me away.)

I have so many questions that I'm hoping you can help with. Everyone I know that has lost a tooth hasn't bothered with a replacement but obviously being such a big issue, for me, this isn't an option. I just need to know that implants are a viable option and that replacing my secondary premolar, in the future, will likely be successful in helping restore my self-esteem and in getting my life back on track.

One question at this point. If I replaced my tooth after the recommended two months do you think I would have adequate bone and could thus bypass a sinus lift?

Hoping you can spare a few minutes to answer.

With thanks
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Every situation is unique. Allow your dentist to take an x-ray a few months after the extraction. The dentist will have a much better idea at that time and will be able to explain it to you via that x-ray.
So I have had my implant exposed BUT
So I received a call from his office that he wanted to check to see if the implant was ready. It has been 4.5 months so a reasonable time frame. I go in right after lunch with a planned break before my next patient. So he looks at it then after his assistant takes a radiograph she tells me he is going to expose it. So that means getting injections and a little tissue manipulation. No big deal but would have been nice to know in advance. After talking a little he has me turning my head back and way to his side like almost 90 degrees. He then gives me an injection but didn't mention that he was going to at that moment. For me no big deal but had I known I would have injected myself before hand as it would hurt so much less. So I'm laying back and he did something that had to be done on another tooth with the water filling the back of my throat and running down my neck and chin. Thinking to myself most of my patients wouldn't tolerate this at all. Good news is my implant is fine. My dentist is excellent at procedures but gentleness- NO WAY! Then I returned to m office to see a man with advanced parkinson's who says I'm the best dentist he has ever had and he is grateful.
Awwhhh thank you ever so much for sharing your story in such a frank manner. I must say the *injected myself/wish I could've injected myself* made me smile.
Also the bit about your patient with Parkinson's disease is incredibly touching. You must be truly one of a kind.
Hope everything goes well for you with your implant! All the best!
Comfort Dentist.

I ran across this and know it is old.. But I just want to give you such a huge thanks for all you do for all of us anxious patients.. for your care and attunement to our needs and being very real with us and taking the time to answer our concerns.. you are a blessing!! Thanks!!