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Getting Exam w/ sensitive teeth/exposed root?



Nov 16, 2011
Middle of Illinois, USA
I have finally scheduled an appointment for later this month to have my teeth looked at. Dentist A is going to do the exam and then schedule the cleaning for later on, as I have requested being numb for the cleaning. If I require any further work (which I already know I will), I will probably wind up going to Dentist B as Dentist A doesn't take medicaid (This part really depends on cost/how much work I need done; If it's too extensive, I'll go to Dentist B as that's what I can afford. If it's not terrible or I really like Dentist A, I'll stick with it as he also offers IV sedation, if needed, so I'd stand a better change of potentially getting knocked out and getting all of the work done at once, idk. Is that even a thing? Getting IV sedation for fillings/root canals/crowns?)

I know, I know - that part is complicated. Financially, I'm just trying to do what I can afford while still trying to save my teeth and manage my Panic Disorder.

I spoke with the receptionist at Dentist A's office who said that he would do the exam at the first appointment and I'd have to schedule another appointment for the cleaning (which is fine). My issue is that I have at least four teeth that are super, super sensitive at the gumline - either from abfraction lesions or exposed root, idk. When you touch near the gumline, it's like an electric shock type of pain that puts me at a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale. I also have a broken tooth that is excrutiatingly painful to the touch as well (It's not a constant pain, only when applying pressure)

Is there any way of this dentist doing the exam without having to probe at the gumline? I know they typically check for pockets during an exam, but that hurts so, so bad with the "zings" of pain. Would he just review my records from my previous dentist (who I saw roughly 1 year ago), look at the x-rays, go over my medical history?

This is honestly what is freaking me out the most - I can't stand pain and don't want my first visit to go poorly.

(just re-read this and realize how jumbled it might all be. Sorry y'all - I ramble when I'm nervous and the thought of dental pain DEFINITELY makes me anxious)

I truly believe your dentist can have a good check-up without touching the sensitive spots you mentioned. Having said that, it might involve a small compromise in the examination, but entirely reasonable one. Let me explain:
In order to evaluate the gum, probing is the best way, but not the only way: X rays, the tooth's mobility, clinical view. The examination is not intended to evaluate the gum situation of every single tooth, for that there is another procedure (called pocket measurement or pocket charting).
I suggest you say from the start about your fear of pain and that you do not allow to touch these sensitive spots, and if they really insist, you can ask that the oral hygienist before the cleaning (after the numbing) measure the pockets comfortably.