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Confused about periodontal disease



Junior member
Jan 9, 2023
Hi all, thanks for creating a forum where people can share their concerns.

A little back story. I've never had major dental concerns, until I was in my mid 30s, 3x route canals in quick succession. Unfortunately I wasn't informed at the time that I would need a bridge or anything else, so they eventually failed, one only a week later (I chnaged dentist since then).

My main fear of the dentist started at this point, mid way through the procedure the anaesthetic wore off. The dentist had a trainee with him and was getting them to poke around in the tooth. I have a fairly decent pain threshold but after a short while I made it clear the pain was unbearable but was told to just 'hold on'.

That put me off quite a bit but I continued to go sporadically but in all honsty, I have tried to avoid the dentist where I can. I last went in 2019 where I was told I needed to be very conscious of gum diseas. Fast forward to 2022 and I damaged my wisdom tooth which also impactee the one next to it.

Due to a loss of income from the pandemic I put getting it looked at, off until last week, when the damage was clearly getting much worse. I managed to get an emergency appointment with an NHS dentist, they said my wisdom tooth couldn't be saved and the one next to it would need to be looked at by a specialist and also, I would need a small cavity filling elsewhere.

As there's a 13 week wait foe the extraction, I thought a second opinion would be a good idea and this is where my problem lays. The second opinon (a private dentist) told me I have severe bone loss upto 50%, I need several of my teeth extracing and I'm not a candidate for implants due to where sinus is located? And to add insult to injury she pressed so hard on one tooth, the tool went straight down into the nerver ending (ouch) That was quite a shock to the system, however, the worst part is, I wasn't really given any other alternatives as to what I can do, am I looking at dentures? Are there alternatives, I don't know.

Looking at my teeth, I can see the gum has receded quite significantly, now it has been pointed out, so I am inclined to believe them.

But I've gone from needing a wisdom tooth out and a small cavity, to needing 8 separate appointments with 5 extractions and a poor prognosis for the future. I'm only 43!

So, I'm currently sat here at 3am completely bewildered, my gums are completely inflamed. Unfortunately I was unable to get the antibiotics I was prescribed as the prescription was filled in incorrectly by the dentist. My head hurts, my hearing is muffled and I've lost my sense of taste and smell, fingers crossed its not all related. And to top it off, I'm faced with losing half my teeth!

I'm not sure I have a question as such I'm completely confused and don't know what, where or who to ask for advice. I have no spare money, for pricey procedures, just the bare essentials.

I know my first port of call will be booking an appointment with the hygienist but even that is filling me with dread.

Anyway, thanks to anyone who has read this far, wish me luck!
Wow, that sounds rough, you have been through a lot dental wise, in the past few years.
The difference of opinions sounds bewildering, I am dealing with that myself right now. Not knowing is horrible, I know. That has been the outcome of having opinions all over the map for me too, so I understand. Can you call the dentist and get them to fix your prescription, so you can at least get that?
@NervousUSA. Thanks for commenting. Yes, it's all a bit of a minefield.

I'm going to the hygienist on Friday, they said they can prescribe the antibiotics then.

I'll hopefully be able to talk to the dentist whilst there and try to clarify a few things too.

I'm currently still in shock. Annoyed with myself and quite frankly angry that I allowed this to happen. I always had very good teeth but the rapid decline has really taken me by surprise.

The hygenist won't be fun but I'm determined to do everything I can to prevent things getting any worse. I really hope there's a way of either saving the teeth or being able to get implants. Dentures, even partial are my worst nightmare, I can't even put a pen in my mouth without gaging...

I hope you manage to get some clarity at some point too. When getting such wildly differing opinions, it makes an unpleasant situation, so much harder!
Hi! Thanks for posting.

While I don’t have any advice, you are demonstrating lots of good humor: including both the instrumentation poking your nerve, and the messed up prescription.

As far as the one dentist recommending so much more than the first, I’d not hesitate to get a third opinion. And, if you still don’t have peace, even a fourth.

Just my two cents!

Good luck. Keep us posted.
That is great you are going to go to the hygienist, which should be good for you and help make things better, and get the antibiotics, and you will be able to get information from the dentist, hopefully, while you are there. That sounds like it will be some good progress.

Don't be mad at yourself, that situation where you were asked to hold out in pain while a trainee practiced with you was horrible, the way they treated you was innappropriate and inhumane, and that was enough to drive anyone to stay away from dentistry.

One thing I notice, I wonder if the private dentist might be motivated to give you a worse diagnosis because they would make more money treating you? The two most dire opinions I got on my teeth did come hand in hand with someone suggesting an expensive treatment.
Thanks both.

I agree a third opinion would be good but there's a cost associated with it and funds are not really there. That said, the two opinions are so extreme, that it's completely thrown me!

I'll see how it goes Friday and hope for the best. Ironically, I had no pain until visiting the dentist, now my whole mouth hurts from inflammation. The irony hasn't escaped me!

For now it's hope and pray, alternatively, I may seek a specialist, to see what they suggest after the Friday frolics. I can always sell a kidney, to pay for it...
I am starting to think because of the different opinions, dentistry is dramatically unstandardized or something. I have very tight fitting front teeth with a lot of wear and cracks on all my incisors. In the past year I have had the opinion of my old dentist that they would be destroyed by my bite and I would have to have work done on them, so I might as well have veneers put on all of them now, an orthodontists assistant opinion said they would continue to wear shorter and more sensitive without orthodontics to change my bite, my new dentist said he couldn't predict what would happen but it would be best to do nothing, a telehealth invisalign dentist said it could be easily fixed with invisaligh, then I saw two orthodontists, one who seemed to agree my bite would wear out my front teeth to need work done, but said treating it with orthodontics would be very extreme and have so many downsides it would be no better than staying as I am, and the other who said my problems were entirely caused by biting my lip, or biting other things, not my bite, would not progress, and that basically everyone who told me otherwise wanted to overtreat me. All over the map. I am starting to think it is possible that none of them really know.

When it comes to affording second opinions, or cheaper second opinions, if you can get your x-rays and take photos of your mouth, you can get a teledentistry second opinion from Denteractive for $10, and you can just discuss your situation with the dentist you talk to there, too, what your different options are, etc. I am not sure if you an use it from the UK though.

Good luck on Friday! I hope that you can get antibiotics and get that inflamation under control.
@NervousUSA cheers mate.

I guess the issue would be how do you regulate it. The same in all walks of life, one opinion can be dramatically different to another.

In my case, I believe the first dentist suggested the bare minimum to keep me going, whilst the second was suggesting everything for optimum dental health (all be it without a clear plan on what to expect).

Who's to say which is right? Financially, the bare minimum suits me fine and I'm left with my teeth intact and life carries on but how does that impact my future oral health? Option two seems crazy to me but maybe it is the right thing and I just have trouble accepting it, and therefore am doubting the answer I was given?! I think the internal arguments in my head are what makes this difficult. So, you are right, a regulated set of guidelines would make our lives a lot easier but...

I think the trick for now is finding a dentist you feel you can trust and be guided by their expert opinion. And not by what you want to hear.

Sadly, I'm not sure I have found that 'dentist' just yet.

No, the UK dentistry is quite different to that in the US. We have private, which is very expensive and access to the NHS which is a subsidised service supported by taxes, however, getting an NHS dentist, particularly in my area is nigh on impossible, I've been trying for several years now. I truly hope that changes as giving everyone access to affordable dentistry is a very worthy endeavour.

Unfortunately it is what it is right now, I'm in a strange position where I earn too much to get help but not enough to be able to afford to get the best help, booo :( I can't live on what ifs, I just have to put the big boy pants on and fix what I can at the end of the day, I need to take responsibility for letting things get to this stage (whatever that stage is, haha)

Sorry, I'm starting to talk utter nonsense. I really hope you find a solution to your problems, there is always one out there!
So I went, I saw and I conquered (sort of).

8.30am and I was sat in the hygienist chair. Apprehensive of what would happen next. The hygenist was probably young enough to be my daughter and I'm not exactly old! We had a frank discussion about how delicate my gums were at the time and she was honest and said it might not be pleasant but put my hand up if I needed to stop.

Well, she was correct - it was horrible, we tried some numbing cream to help out but it didn't help as much as I would of liked. In the end, I had to say just do it.

And, after 40 minutes or so, it was done - I was physically shaking when I left and had a pretty impressive headache for the rest of the day. But, I felt so much better for getting the journey started.

Unfortunately today, the swelling is back, as I think the Wisdom tooth was damaged further through the cleaning but hopefully I will get an appointment to have it removed soon and see if the one next to it can be saved - unlikely looking at the x-rays but you never know.

So in short. Was it it nice? No. Am I glad I went? 100%. Will I be going back in 3 months to do it all again? Yes, I will.

Just need to get a 3rd opinion on the othe other teeth next. I'm in no pain and had not thought there was a problem, so still confused why the dentist wants me to remove them. But I'll hopefully find out more soon.

For anyone who sees this, I would urge you to just get go. It might not be overly pleasant but you will feel a sense of release once you do.
Hey, that is great! Sounds like you are making great progress. I think the third opinion is a good idea. It does sound like your previous opinions may have been extreme, one very agressive and one very conservative, it might shed some light on that. Great job facing fear and moving forward!
I’m on the three month cleaning schedule, too. As much as I hate it, I will do it because it can prevent future problems. You should be very proud of taking care of yourself! Nice job.
Thanks all. Well, managed to damage the Wisdom tooth further, which in turn just made the tooth next to it get worse.

The waiting for an appointment 12/13 weeks seems crazy to me but I'll just have to wait.

I've already spent £400 and so far, things have been made worse with nothing to show for it apart from whiter teeth, haha.

It's frustrating knowing that the reason things got so bad was due to the pandemic and not having the money to go when the problem first started.

Oh well, onwards and upwards.