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Dental journey

M

mcredding

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Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
43
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
I decided to make one of these myself...

I had 2 teeth extracted on Thursday, & with those gone, I now only have one remaining posterior tooth in that quadrant. Extractions went well...I think. They gave me a TheraTapper, had a TV screen with nature scenes for me to watch, & played music in the background, & with all the distraction I don't hear much of what's being said. The one tooth left behind - which in the middle of the two being extracted - gets used as a fulcrum. The dentist's hand slips, & then she tells me that something happened to the middle tooth but it's too noisy to hear & I'm too distracted to even remember to ask what she said at the end of the appointment. I go home, & there's no post-operative pain...at all.

Fast-forward to today. I got a sudden, excruciating stab of pain in the remaining tooth. It felt like the tooth was getting ripped out with no anesthesia...& I describe it that way because it felt exactly the same to the pain I feel during extractions when local anesthesia starts to fail. But now, there's no dentist at home, no anesthesia, it's not like I have any way to inject anesthetic. Tylenol & Motrin not working. There's a gaping hole in that remaining tooth & there's blood coming out that hole. I'll have to call for emergency care first thing in the morning.

I know that tooth was marked in my treatment plan for a 2-surface filling, so I know there were caries there pre-extraction, but the hole got twice as big between when I woke up the day of the appt & when I got home. I've got periodontitis too & it's not my dentist fault that her hand slipped, & certainly not her fault that her hand slipped against the tooth giving me pain now, but that doesn't make the pain go away. Nervous about shifting teeth & jaw resorption too; no discussion has been held on how to deal with that, but I have been told we'll get to that part after scaling & root planing.
 
M

mcredding

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
43
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Had my appointment yesterday, glad I went. The pain is not related to last week's extractions. According to the dentist, the different angle used for an x-ray this time as opposed to last week's x-rays have allowed her to see something she couldn't see last week: the tooth root is compressing a nerve. Though judging from this post, https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/threads/do-nerves-show-up-on-x-rays.5909/, I guess she meant that the root is very, very close &/or curving around the nerve.

Friday, the lone tooth will be getting extracted. My next appt after that one will need to be my annual exam. In any case, because I'm on a very, very low fixed income, the plan is to make a partial stayplate for the lower arch to prevent further shifting in that arch & to prevent teeth in the opposing arch from dropping down any further than they already have. I go to a sliding scale clinic & already have the funds to pay for the stayplate, so this will give me time to save more $$ for a partial denture. Dental journey getting more optimistic...the extraction part is bad, but that stayplate will buy time so that I can get a partial, & we had the discussion about addressing the shifting.

While the dentist's hand did slip (& she DID advise me that the tooth used as a fulcrum just got chipped - I was just too distracted to hear her or respond), it's clear on previous x-rays that there was a big cavity there to begin with, it got bigger between the time my initial treatment plan was created & the time that x-rays were taken for extraction of the 2 teeth on either side of it, & it was just that the visible hole was small until it got chipped. Dentist was hoping to be able to save that tooth with a root canal & crown (& so was I), but we won't be going that route because of the new findings & the need to give rapid pain relief.

Hope they can reopen for routine care soon. Guidance on reopening - by both my county & my state - hasn't been clear, so some dentists are reopening for routine care now while others are still only offering emergency care. Because of the shortage of dentists in my area, people at this clinic usually end up seeing a different dentist for each appt unless they're willing to accept longer wait times to see a specific dentist. I like this dentist. While it will her colleague that extracts the tooth Friday because of the urgency in giving me relief & her schedule would've had me wait another week, I will stick with her whenever it is feasible. If there's no excruciating pain, I will wait to be able to see her.
 
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M

mcredding

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
43
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Friday's extraction went well: tooth was so loose that dentist was able to extract it in literally 2 minutes. We spent longer waiting for anesthesia to reach its full effect than for the actual extraction. There was no post-operative pain - there was soreness, but it was just minor discomfort.

One thing I am flustered with though is that the dental clinic still hasn't move forward with resuming routine care or scheduling appts for those...& they had told me it was the because the county said they couldn't reopen yet. The county's health order has been relaxed this month to allow for hospitals to resume elective care & to allow dentists to reopen at their own discretion; the same can be said of state guidance: it's up to each individual office/practice to decide when to reopen. So that made me mad: if you're still closed to non-urgent care, it's because of a decision made by clinical &/or administrative leadership at the clinic because there are no county- or state-level prohibitions in place right now.
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

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Jun 23, 2019
Messages
165
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I understand your frustration, but there may be a valid reason that they’re not opening up yet. For example, I know that my dentist has opened up, and every non-admin staff member has full protective gear on, and that the exam rooms are cleaned after every patient. Maybe your dentist is not able to provide a safe enough environment for employees and patients yet. As you mentioned, most counties are leaving this decision up to the business, but that business must follow certain guidelines. Neither the county or state is going to help with the costs of following those guidelines.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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mcredding

Really sounds like your extraction went well and quick. That is great news!! really great!
I know it is frustrating having to wait for care . Hope they will open for you soon to get on with your other care you need. I do believe Boxermom they probably want to make sure everything is the safest for you.

I work for a lasik center and some of our offices are open and some are not just because we have to prepare the office and make sure the staff is ready and that we have enough ppe not only for staff but patients. Its quite the process. I love telling people they can schedule now and hate telling them they have to wait or I don't know ..
 
M

mcredding

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
43
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Yeah, I know they're following guidelines, wanting to make as safe as possible...but there are no mandatory rules. If you can't open yet because you don't have the means to make it safer, then that's fine...just don't act like the final decision is being made at the governmental level when it's really being made at the business level.

On a somewhat more positive note, my mother has finally dropped opposition to me getting partial dentures. That means less harassment each time I go to the dentist to get things taken care of.

Before, she didn't want me to get them because 'it's my fault that I have missing teeth & now I just need to deal with it, & I'm too young for dentures anyways'. (Makes no sense, I know.) Just because I lost so many teeth at a young age does not mean that no effort should be undertaken to fill in the gaps. She wouldn't say something like that for anything else! Maybe she sees extractions followed by dentures as me trying to get a quick fix - if you're way too poor to afford root canals & crowns, then yes, an extraction to relieve pain is like trying to get a quick fix. But those are decisions made in concert with the dentist, & root canals aren't possible in every single case. Sometimes, it isn't possible to save a tooth, & I can't leave untreated decayed teeth in the mouth like she wants - makes no sense. I'm not a dentist & she shouldn't be pretending to be one. Not all teeth can be saved, whether she likes it or not.
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

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Yeah, I know they're following guidelines, wanting to make as safe as possible...but there are no mandatory rules. If you can't open yet because you don't have the means to make it safer, then that's fine...just don't act like the final decision is being made at the governmental level when it's really being made at the business level.

On a somewhat more positive note, my mother has finally dropped opposition to me getting partial dentures. That means less harassment each time I go to the dentist to get things taken care of.

Before, she didn't want me to get them because 'it's my fault that I have missing teeth & now I just need to deal with it, & I'm too young for dentures anyways'. (Makes no sense, I know.) Just because I lost so many teeth at a young age does not mean that no effort should be undertaken to fill in the gaps. She wouldn't say something like that for anything else! Maybe she sees extractions followed by dentures as me trying to get a quick fix - if you're way too poor to afford root canals & crowns, then yes, an extraction to relieve pain is like trying to get a quick fix. But those are decisions made in concert with the dentist, & root canals aren't possible in every single case. Sometimes, it isn't possible to save a tooth, & I can't leave untreated decayed teeth in the mouth like she wants - makes no sense. I'm not a dentist & she shouldn't be pretending to be one. Not all teeth can be saved, whether she likes it or not.
Yikes. Sounds like my mother. She’s been making snarky comments about how my hair needs cut and colored. I’ve got way more problems to deal with than what she thinks my hair should look like.
Sometimes extraction is the best solution, and my dentist likes to say “we don’t worry about the past. We only worry about what can be done to make you feel better and be healthier now.” But I’m glad you don’t have to deal with that added stress anymore.
 
M

mcredding

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
43
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Yikes. Sounds like my mother. She’s been making snarky comments about how my hair needs cut and colored. I’ve got way more problems to deal with than what she thinks my hair should look like.
Sometimes extraction is the best solution, and my dentist likes to say “we don’t worry about the past. We only worry about what can be done to make you feel better and be healthier now.” But I’m glad you don’t have to deal with that added stress anymore.
Yeah, my mother can get pretty snarky too...though I wonder where she got the idea that you should not receive prosthodontics if your teeth are missing because of dental neglect. That's kind of like saying, 'If you need surgery because you let a health issue go untreated & now the problem requires more extensive treatment, you shouldn't be able to get the surgery.'
 
M

mcredding

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Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
43
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
A crown broke off Tu night. Have appt to see dentist later today @ 7:15a. The crown broke off along the gumline. It also took a post & core right along with it as it fell out & now you can only see tooth structure exposed as said crown fell out...so I'm not really expecting the dentist to be able to just stick it back in.

In any case, the dentist still needs to see it. If they can put it back in, I get a pleasant surprise. If not & I need a new crown or a surgical extraction via an oral surgeon, neither of which I can afford (even on sliding scale rates), at least it won't take me by surprise.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Hi Mcredding thinking of you and hoping you get your pleasant surprise , and hope all goes well at appt! let us know how it goes!
 
M

mcredding

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
43
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Got a mixed bag with my appointment. Tooth root must be extracted and I have to call tomorrow to schedule an appointment for next week - during our shelter-in-place order, they only open up a week's worth of the schedule at a time.

The plus parts: The clinic will be able to do the extraction themselves so that I won't have to go to an oral surgeon who likely won't take Denti-Cal - it's not really a secret (or at least, it shouldn't be because I think it's obvious) that "dental insurance" doesn't actually work like insurance, & when you're on SSI, you can't get anything that's not covered by that pseudo-"dental insurance" without saving for several months or possibly several years depending on what you're trying to get. So that's a relief for me that they'l do it themselves.

The other plus: The clinic I go to limits denture services. Whether or not they'll do dentures for you is assessed on a case-by-case basis and must be approved by the Dental Director. Today, I was informed that the Dental Director approved it. I wasn't super worried that the director might say 'no' but the slim possibility was there and I can get very pessimistic at times, so learning that such a potential obstacle won't be getting in the way made me feel better.
 
M

mcredding

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Aug 29, 2018
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San Francisco Bay Area
Extraction scheduled for Monday. Even though I'm glad I can get my extraction at my dentist instead of a specialist, I'm still a bit nervous because there is NOTHING above the gumline. It's all below it, though you can certainly see the exposed root.
 
BoxerMom

BoxerMom

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Extraction scheduled for Monday. Even though I'm glad I can get my extraction at my dentist instead of a specialist, I'm still a bit nervous because there is NOTHING above the gumline. It's all below it, though you can certainly see the exposed root.
From what I’ve read on here and what my dentist has said, broken teeth are much easier to extract than whole teeth.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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mcredding,

Sorry you did not get the news you were hoping for. I was really hoping you would! Im glad you are able to get it done at your dentist where you feel comfortable and is covered by your insurance! That is a positive. I do remember also a couple of posts from some of our dentists here saying some of the broken teeth were alot of times easier and fairly quick to extract.
 
M

mcredding

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Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
43
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
A tooth I had pulled last month that was extracted in less than 2 min - it was both very, very loose and very, very broken. I've heard horror stories of extractions gone wrong, root tips left in, etc. A few years ago, I had to go to an oral surgeon to get a molar extracted that had no structure below the gumline. My memory is fuzzy, to say the least, but sometimes that's the only part I remember, when the fuller story is that I got sent to an oral surgeon to pull 6 teeth out all at once, including 3 wisdom teeth, under general anesthesia. THAT was why that dentist sent me to a specialist, not just the part I normally recall of just one tooth needing extraction but broken off quite a bit.
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Memory can be like that sometimes , recalling bits at a time :) Glad that this time you can go to your dentist, really hope it is fast, smooth and painfree!! :grouphug:
 
M

mcredding

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Joined
Aug 29, 2018
Messages
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Location
San Francisco Bay Area
Dental Timeline Recap from This Year - I like timelines...
  • 03.03 - emergency appointment for pain...after having not gone to the dentist at all since 08.13.2019. 1 tooth marked for extraction.
  • COVID-19 strikes, delaying said extraction.
  • 05.29 - emergency video appointment for pain again - in-person exam & x-rays deemed necessary by dentist.
  • 06.02 - in-person exam, 2 teeth marked for extraction.
  • 06.04 - 2 teeth extracted
  • 06.10 - post-op pain exam, additional tooth marked for extraction
  • 06.12 - 1 tooth extracted
  • 07.09 - appointment due to crown falling out, tooth root marked for extraction
  • 07.13 - 1 tooth extracted
  • 07.20 - post-op exam due to anxiety over delayed healing. During this visit, I am informed of some triage measures that the clinic is doing to resume deferred care: Patients with recent emergency visits - especially those whose annual exams were deferred due to COVID-19 - are being asked to come back to get that exam done. Then the dentist can do a full assessment to see what else may be going on in your mouth, what can't be delayed any further, and what can wait. So my periodic exam was scheduled for 07.23.
 
M

mcredding

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Aug 29, 2018
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43
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
07.23 Periodic Exam
  • Interesting side note on my clinic: there's two campuses for dental care: Dental Campus & Dutton Campus. The Dental Campus is just your typical, normal, low-income dental clinic. The Dutton Campus is specifically designed for special needs dentistry. Any patient can go to either location...and you might not have a choice sometimes when the procedure is urgent because safety net clinics often swamped in too many patients. However, the Dutton dentists, dental assistants, and hygienists either already had extra education/training/experience in serving disabled patients to begin with or they are specifically working on that field...I just so happen to be a disabled patient, so that is helpful. Now for my appt, which took place at the Dutton Campus...
  • The dentist doing my exam devotes much more of that time on health education, addressing my anxiety, and addressing avoidance of brushing teeth because it's a painful experience. I admitted that I haven't really ever been taught how to brush teeth the right way & it hasn't really occurred to me that I could just Google it. My mother simply did it for me when I was little but she didn't teach it. And what do I learn when we get into oral hygiene instruction? I didn't know you were supposed to brush the roof of your mouth & the inside of your cheeks too...my mother never did it.
  • 'Watch surface' codes get tacked onto my treatment plan for some teeth.
  • An interim therapeutic restoration is going to be placed on one of my remaining teeth.
  • Unintended benefit of the extractions that took place last month & this month: I'm now missing the required numbers of teeth in both arches to use insurance to get plastic partial dentures, giving me more time to come up with the $$ that will be needed for the stronger ones with metal clasps that aren't covered by insurance & reducing my costs.
  • Unintended benefit of COVID-19: Sliding scale fees have been indefinitely waived. If I need something not covered by insurance while the sliding scale fee waiver is in place, it's free.
  • Unintended benefit of COVID-19: Scaling and root planing would normally take a few months because of how many patients there are in comparison to the staff & appointment availability. But since only recent emergency patients can start resuming deferred care right now, we can't get this done in a few weeks.
  • Dentist gives recommendation that I only go to the Dutton Campus because they are in a better position to help me than the regular Dental Campus.
  • Plaque disclosing tablets are being given to help me learn proper oral hygiene.
  • I have to call the office Monday to schedule an appointment for this upcoming week. We're going to be doing some scaling and root planing, and silver diamine fluoride will be given to help with hypersensitivity.
 
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