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How do I stop myself consulting Dr Google? He frightens me...

D

DM69

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2009
Messages
50
Everytime I try to check out any new dental symptom, I'm confronted with Ludwig's Angina, brain abscesses and septic shock. Yikes.

With all of this information available at the click of a button now - do you have any advice on how to keep things in perspective, dentists & medics?

I know the actual answer is to stay offline altogether - BUT this is tough at 3am when you're looking for reassurance :(
 
DrMike

DrMike

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Verified dentist
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Nov 6, 2005
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552
Location
Glasgow
This is a real problem these days.
I've heard the problem called 'Googleitis', which I think is rather apt.
If it is any consolation- I have falled foul to it as well- very early when we learned that we were expecting out first child- my wife was experiencing a fair bit of pain. 'Dr Google' convinced me we had an ectopic pregnancy- and the more I read the more sure I was. After a consultation with a real Dr- we learned that everything was in fact absolutely fine.
I think it was wise that we were checked out and of course- there was always a chance that there could have been a problem- however as you say- I think that we should always put things in perspective until we consult a real Dr. So- from first hand experience I know that it is hard to avoid searching for information if you have symptoms- however I think that it is even more important that you seek advice from a real Dr if you have concerns or symptoms. My advice would be if you have symptoms that are making you search online for a diagnosis, then you really should be making an appointment with your Doc instead. That way there is no worry and you get an accurate diagnosis- whatever that may be!
I certainly learned my lesson- the worry that something was seriously wrong was awful. Had we just contacted the Dr without 'Googling' the symptoms- we would still have had the same diagnosis, but less worry!
If its any consolation in 10 years practice I have never seen any cases of Ludwig's Angina, brain abscesses and septic shock!
Hope this helps!
Kind regards
Dr Mike
 
S

scaredycat54

Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2009
Messages
57
This topic was very familiar to me, too. I was put on Flagyl antibiotics a week ago for a gum problem and I couldn't stop myself from googling. I read about someone going blind and if my pain hadn't been so severe I don't think I'd have dared take the pills! I think this ailment is also called "cyberchondria". I once read that you're only a couple of clicks away from a hideous, painful death and so it is absolutely right that we have to get things in perspective and consult a medic rather than let our imaginations run away with us.
 
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SXB1962

SXB1962

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2009
Messages
210
Everytime I try to check out any new dental symptom, I'm confronted with Ludwig's Angina, brain abscesses and septic shock. Yikes.

With all of this information available at the click of a button now - do you have any advice on how to keep things in perspective, dentists & medics?

I know the actual answer is to stay offline altogether - BUT this is tough at 3am when you're looking for reassurance :(

I know what you mean! For a while I could smell 'unwashed feet' (not mine! :o) all the time!

Googling phantom smells indicated I either had a brain tumour, epilepsy or an infection... Of course, the infection soon became evident - in my upper gum - results of which detailed elsewhere on here.

You just have to use common sense, I guess.

Google is a brilliant tool once you've been diagnosed with something by a REAL medical professional. After all, Google led me here! :D
 
D

DM69

Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2009
Messages
50
"If its any consolation in 10 years practice I have never seen any cases of Ludwig's Angina, brain abscesses and septic shock!" Yes, Dr Mike - that's a huge consolation. Thanks :)

And, interestingly enough, I had an ectopic pregnancy about 15 years ago, without any of the "typical" symptoms. If Google had been around back then, I might have thought "Oh well, it's nothing..." and not bothered the doctor. Scary thought.

A doctor or dentist with years of training and experience behind them can't be replaced by a search engine!
 
Gordon

Gordon

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Staff member
Verified dentist
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Oct 25, 2005
Messages
7,723
27 years practice and I've not seen any of them either.

Oh goodness me, I'm getting so old :)
 
A

annie778

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 28, 2008
Messages
820
But bear in mind it's possible you might not have found this forum without "googleitis".

People go to google when they are not receiving the answers or sufficient information in real life. It just goes to show how important communication is.
 
C

Clem

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Joined
Apr 24, 2006
Messages
160
While there is a lot out there that can be scary, there's also a ton of good information. The issue, of course, is to sort out the good and the crap. Pay attention to the source--a society or medical/dental organization usually is not out to scare, but individuals who have their own sites often are in the business to scare or sell or something else.

After a couple of bad medical experiences, I will not consent to ANY procedure without checking it out first. (Even the good guys don't always tell you everything in the office visit, and I'm usually am too freaked out to think of the good/hard questions.) But I try to limit my reading to sites sponsored by professional organizations (AMA, ADA), and even those I stop reading if things seem to get extreme. Stay away from symptom-checkers--they are so general as to be worthless. Even WebMD can get off on tangents. Teaching universities, specialty clinics (i.e. Mayo Clinic in the U.S.) are good. Look for peer-reviewed material, although it's often harder to read and understand.

And then--good luck! Read, then ask your doctor or dentist for interpretation if needed. It's always in your best interest to be as informed as possible, and ask hard questions--and then insist on answers. And if anyone says "don't worry", get up and walk away, they're dodging your questions.
 
Camisa

Camisa

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Joined
Nov 27, 2009
Messages
212
Location
USA
I'm convinced that my tooth which has decayed below the gumline has somehow infiltrated into my facial bones and that my face will be disfigured, and that I will be given this bad news once I get my X-rays with my Oral Surgeon.

I also had a migraine last night with a low-grade fever which I wouldn't ordinarily freak out about because I am also on my period (and I always get a low grade fever and a headache with that) but since this tooth business came about, Dr. Google kept making me believe I have Meningitis or that somehow my tooth went from my facial bones to my brain, etc.

I saw two dentists and had 20 days worth of Amoxicillin since this problem began in October, none of the dentists would take a damnable X-ray, and the one Oral Surgeon I saw took a very poor quality X-ray (he is also a plastic surgeon and abused me because I was poor) which did not even reveal the entire root of my tooth. I begged him to take a better X-ray but he insisted it would be more money out of my pocket and that there was no need for it. The surgical technician said it looked like there was abscess toward the actual tooth area, not the roots....but the OS did not comment on it, and the other two detists I saw afterward told me that they did not feel I had an infection at all, that it was just irritated from decay.


Now with that said, this horrible Oral/plastic Surgeon I saw told me that if I did have an infection it probably destroyed some of my bones in my face and I kept asking him "How do I know if I am having symptoms of brain abscess or Meningitis?" And he would talk over me and say "I will not tell you the symptoms of any of that because you will just be a hypochondriac about it and believe you have it....once it's removed you won't have to worry about it," but then he told me to leave and find a special needs surgeons because he had decided he will not work on me. I am "too phobic."

So, for me, it wasn't just Dr. Google that is making me believe I am suffering from brain abscess and will need my facial bones removed, it is also this ORal Surgeon's fault for his sweeping yet contradictory comments about it. (He felt around my tooth and said he found no signs of abscess or pus etc. but then turned around and said my bones might be infected)

What the hell?!
 
A

annie778

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Jan 28, 2008
Messages
820
I'm convinced that my tooth which has decayed below the gumline has somehow infiltrated into my facial bones and that my face will be disfigured, and that I will be given this bad news once I get my X-rays with my Oral Surgeon.

I also had a migraine last night with a low-grade fever which I wouldn't ordinarily freak out about because I am also on my period (and I always get a low grade fever and a headache with that) but since this tooth business came about, Dr. Google kept making me believe I have Meningitis or that somehow my tooth went from my facial bones to my brain, etc.

Yeah I had the same convictions when I had a tooth infection when I was dragging my heels in going to the dentist.

Infections do attack the bone of the jaw, but the good news is that with successful root treatment the bone grows back. Also the amount of bone loss is tiny so your face won't cave in any time soon. Once the infection is treated it repairs itself. The body is amazing at self repair.

Theres a simple glass on skin test for meningitis and you don't get it from tooth ache as far as I know.


But I don't think you need google to have hypochondria. It has certainly existed for far longer than the internet. Prior to google people either used to read books, talk to people they knew or just imagine the worst. Best thing is to assume all will be well because 99% of the time it will be.

I think the internet is great as a communication tool and knowledge is shifting sand as it changes over time anyway. It's psychologically healthier to get things off your chest if youre worried and at least on the net you will easily find folk with similar experiences.
 
Camisa

Camisa

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Nov 27, 2009
Messages
212
Location
USA
Yeah I had the same convictions when I had a tooth infection when I was dragging my heels in going to the dentist.

Infections do attack the bone of the jaw, but the good news is that with successful root treatment the bone grows back. Also the amount of bone loss is tiny so your face won't cave in any time soon. Once the infection is treated it repairs itself. The body is amazing at self repair.

Theres a simple glass on skin test for meningitis and you don't get it from tooth ache as far as I know.

Correct me if I am wrong but I feel like you are implying that I am dragging my feet as you once have about getting my tooth extracted, ??

And that while I am dragging my feet, the infection is spreading to my bone resulting in small amounts of bone loss which may repair itself if I ever get the tooth/roots removed?
What do you mean by "root treatment?"

That kind of bothers me..... :cry: Is it self-limiting, or will the bone loss spread into my other facial bone structure?

As for Meningitis, I was moreso referring to brain abscess, which is one of Dr. Google's horror stories regarding tooth abscess.

I don't go around self-diagnosing---- if my tooth hadn't gone bad on me, I would not have any health problems that actively affect my life. My heart arryhtmia never bothers me....unless I'm shot up with epinephrine. I don't mind not taking benzodiazepines, as long as I don't "need" them. They make me very ill. I can't take birth control pills either cause they give me panic attacks...never had a panic attack before taking a birth control pill. My psychological problems were diagnosed by medical doctors and have little or nothing to do with my physical health....

Andrea
 
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Camisa

Camisa

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Nov 27, 2009
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Additionally.... I wanted to add.... that "Dr. Google" is a horrible supplementation in favor of a real, live, knowledgeable person. "Dr. Google" doesn't respond; he just gives you his frightening opinion and leaves you there to worry about it.
Before I looked at Google as some kind of medical reference I only used it for case study research as I am a 23 year old Prelaw student. (talk about some boring reads).

So, sorry if you're pro-cyberchondria but I have found it to be very counter-productive.

However, I agree with you regarding that doctors fail to communicate as much as they should with their patients. No offense to any of the dentists volunteering their precious time here, this excludes them. I'm talking about the docs like the ones I've seen; the docs who give you the amount of time they think you "deserve" based on how much money they are benefiting by treating you.

I think half the time, this information overload is often fueled by the demand for money, as many people avoid the dentist. Half of these frightened people would probably never get their dental work taken care of if they were not frightened into submission. So perhaps in some cases the driving force (fear) can result in a positive outcome. But for someone who is traumatized by dentophobia, things probably need to be dealt with using a little less scare-tactics and a little more positive reinforcement, IMHO.

Andrea
 
A

annie778

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Jan 28, 2008
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Correct me if I am wrong but I feel like you are implying that I am dragging my feet as you once have about getting my tooth extracted, ??

No I am saying that I have a dental phobia that stopped me from visiting the dentist so made me worry about my teeth. This worry turned out to be unfounded.


And that while I am dragging my feet, the infection is spreading to my bone resulting in small amounts of bone loss which may repair itself if I ever get the tooth/roots removed?

no I am saying that bone loss does repair itself if due to infection.

What do you mean by "root treatment?"
root canal treatment is simply where a filling is put into the root of the tooth to save it from extraction.

That kind of bothers me..... :cry: Is it self-limiting, or will the bone loss spread into my other facial bone structure?

Why would a tiny amount of bone loss (youre talking about miniscule) spread to the rest of your facial structure?

As for Meningitis, I was moreso referring to brain abscess, which is one of Dr. Google's horror stories regarding tooth abscess.

Well that's a different and very rare condition.

I don't go around self-diagnosing---- if my tooth hadn't gone bad on me, I would not have any health problems that actively affect my life. My heart arryhtmia never bothers me....unless I'm shot up with epinephrine. I don't mind not taking benzodiazepines, as long as I don't "need" them. They make me very ill. I can't take birth control pills either cause they give me panic attacks...never had a panic attack before taking a birth control pill. My psychological problems were diagnosed by medical doctors and have little or nothing to do with my physical health....

Andrea

So do you have a dental phobia that stops you getting the tooth checked out. Or are you worried about being numbed? I think there are epinephrine free numbing agents they can use or there is always hypnotherapy. I'm intolerant to many medications too.

So, sorry if you're pro-cyberchondria but I have found it to be very counter-productive.

Im not. But I don't think hyperchondria was created by google. It's existed for far longer than the internet. I went through a phase of having it myself in my twenties prior the explosion of the net. It was far more frightening to have strange symptoms and not be able to talk to anyone.
 
A

annie778

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Jan 28, 2008
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Andrea Im sorry if you misinterpreted my post. I was merely trying to put your mind at rest.
 
A

annie51

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Sep 27, 2013
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2
I used to be hopeless even in the days before google -refused to have a medical dictionary in the house because I would have convinced myself I had everything from anthrax toyellow fever ! I try really hard not to google too often , or for too long , the more links you click , the worse it gets .:(
 
Deejay

Deejay

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Feb 6, 2013
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Isle of Man
If it is anything tooth related don't google just come on this forum, real answers from real people who have had actual experience in tooth related issues either as one of the many kind dentists who come on here or from a patients perspective, this forum wins my vote every time:perfect::thumbsup!:
 
B

burb

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Sep 23, 2013
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Plattsburgh, New York, USA
Googling symptoms and conditions is pretty much the worst thing anyone with any sort of phobia related to doctors or illness could do.

I find myself doing it constantly despite knowing that. I have to have my wisdom teeth pulled soon, and Googling has resulted in me being terrified that I'll be killed by the anesthesia (which is supposed to help me get through the surgery in the first place) or my oral surgeon will botch the surgery and accidentally kill me.

It's ridiculously counter-productive. Solve one fear, and another one sneaks in to take its place. :giggle:
 
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