• Welcome to Dental Fear Central! This is a place for mutual support and any questions you may have that are related to dental phobia, fear or anxiety. It is run by volunteers with first-hand experience of dental phobia and anxiety together with dental practitioners who like to help. The "Verified dentist" badges will tell you whether an answer has been provided by a qualified dental practitioner. If you'd like to use all the features of this forum and share your own experiences, or if you are a dental professional who would like to contribute, register now.

    We strive to promote a safe, friendly and trustworthy environment with our team of moderators monitoring all discussions daily.

Guilt and Shame - Three Root canals for my son

C

ChrisinDC

Junior member
Joined
Jul 24, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Washington, DC
I'm not sure exactly what I'm looking for....just hoping that sharing my struggle will help me process the guilt and shame I'm feeling.

My 15 year old son had been seeing the same dentist for his entire life, every six months. He'd had 30 perfect checkups. No cavities.

Then I learned that my dentist had sanctions against her by the State for poor/inadequate care.

We took my son for another opinion. We learned that he had four cavities, three of which need root canals and crowns.

We knew he had poor oral hygiene, and we stayed after him about it as best as we could, but the message we were getting from his dentist was all was ok. Which unfortunately only reinforced my son's bad habits.

My son is ashamed and embarrassed for not taking better care of his mouth. My wife and I are ashamed that we didn't protect my son. And I know this is neurotic, but I feel horrible that at age 15 he has three "fake" teeth in his mouth now....
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
2,194
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Please don’t feel ashamed, it really does seem like you’ve done everything right. The truth is, some people have great oral hygiene and lots of dental issues and others have awful oral hygiene and no issues. Fortunately, after the dental work is done, the crowns should look and feel just like his own teeth.
 
L

LittleLynnie

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
Messages
263
Location
Canada
Has he already had the work done? If not, it might be worth another opinion. Like some dentists who say that all is well, some go the opposite way and say that a lot of work needs to be done, that doesn't.
 
C

ChrisinDC

Junior member
Joined
Jul 24, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Washington, DC
Thanks Lynnie. Unfortunately this is a woman who has been sanctioned by the dental board for doing just this: neglecting children. The new dentist pointed out a cavity that was clearly massive and visible to the naked eye. The old dentist didn't do sealants, didnt take x-rays. We just were not the best consumers of dental services.
 
P

patient

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2014
Messages
219
sorry about your issues. I have had good and bad dentists. Hopefully I have a good dentist now but how do you trust a dentist? My previous dentist said I needed a fair bit of work done and my current dentist said my previous dentist was mistaken so the work they wanted to do was not required. How do I know which of the two dentists was correct? Obviously I am pleased to have been told I did not need all the work done but how do you know how to trust someone
 
S

Shakinginmyboots

Member
Joined
May 7, 2019
Messages
30
Location
New Jersey
I would be so upset too with the hack dentist. You have no reason to be ashamed, you took him faithfully. Root canals are so common nowadays, it is not the worst thing. It’s a good thing you took him somewhere else before it was too late for a root canal.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,462
Hi Chrisin,

Really sorry to read what happened and what consequences it had. Of course you haven‘t done anything wrong, on the contrary - you protected your son and took him to the dentist consequently! What else can you do than seeing a dentist for regular checkups and trying to motivate a young man to keep his oral hygiene (which is, by the way an impossible task as all parents and dentists know and it sounds like you already had made a lot of efforts)? I can see the sense of shame and embarrassment and it sounds like somewhere deep you feel it was you who neglected the care of your son, but it really wasn‘t. You relied on the diagnosis of a dental care professional who is obligued to take care of dental health of people. It is important to be aware that what happened to you was a terrible misfortune and something that happened and not something you have done. Who could have known that your dentist will end up being sanctioned for neglect..

It is understandable that all of you struggle with some heavy feelings and need a bit of time to process things. After you recovered, it might be the best to see how to go about the future, particularly how to take care of your son and his future relationship to dentistry and to his teeth and health. You can‘t change what had happened, but you can still make sure your son regains his self-confidence and healthy self-image and won‘t keep stuck in the feelings of shame or embarrassment or define himself based on his teeth. Another important thing to take care of is for him to be ok with the treatment and not to lose trust in dentistry or develop dental fear. I can‘t judge the situation or how you and your son are right now, but would like to encourage you to seek counselling if you feel things haven‘t seetled after some time.

People are not defined by the amount of dental work they had done or at the age it happened so do not allow your son to feel this way. As FearfulInMA pointed out, crowns look like teeth and feel like teeth and are in fact teeth.

All the best wishes and hopefully you find a way to process things soon.
 
C

ChrisinDC

Junior member
Joined
Jul 24, 2019
Messages
3
Location
Washington, DC
thank you all so much for taking the time to give me such kind and thoughtful replies. It's very comforting to be heard.
 
L

LittleLynnie

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 22, 2016
Messages
263
Location
Canada
sorry about your issues. I have had good and bad dentists. Hopefully I have a good dentist now but how do you trust a dentist? My previous dentist said I needed a fair bit of work done and my current dentist said my previous dentist was mistaken so the work they wanted to do was not required. How do I know which of the two dentists was correct? Obviously I am pleased to have been told I did not need all the work done but how do you know how to trust someone
I took my children to my own (well-trusted) dentist from the time they were 3 years old. Over the ensuing years, each had one cavity, but when they were 12 and 15, our dentist retired and sold his practise to someone else. That new dentist then told us that the boys had 5 and 6 cavities respectively, so I was very surprised (and suspicious). About a week later, my younger son had a hygienist visit the school, and she saw nothing wrong in his mouth. I know that a hygienist isn't a dentist, but I was glad that she saw nothing there. I then paid out of pocket for a consult with my mother's dentist (who she raved about), and took my 15 year old to see him (he didn't get free hygienist checks anymore, because he was in high school). That dentist said he had no cavities either. So, I never took them back to the dentist who had taken over our long-time dentist's practise.

To then find a new, trustworthy dentist, I asked around. Family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, etc. I wanted to find someone who would go for a check-up and be told nothing was wrong. And that nothing was wrong more than once or twice. I know so many people who have "something wrong" on every single visit! Those dentists may be finding something to do, because they need to earn more money than they get for just a check-up! I eventually found a new dentist for them and only one has had one cavity since we found her. The "boys" are now 23 and 26.
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
638
Location
US
As a former 15 year old boy myself, hygiene is not always the top priority at that age.

I can easily see this as a situation that turns his dental hygiene around.

Everyone (except the former dentist) acted in good faith, and took prompt action when indicated.

We can all do better next time around, and for now I declare you “human”! We all make mistakes, and to the extent any of this was a mistake, I see no fault.

🙂
 
Top