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I am spinning about upcoming root canal or extraction

M

Marsbars

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
23
I am 47 years old. I have a loving partner, a home, and an okay job. Not sure why I have neglected my dental health for so long. Fear? Embarrassment? Denial? I have avoided the dentist for years. I did have traumatic experience when I was younger, a very painful filling - my doctor told me to let him know if I felt pain and when I did, he ignored me and I had dry socket when I had a wisdom tooth pulled in my mid 20’s. My last visit was 8 years ago. My hygiene has been so so as I threw myself into my work for the last two years. I experienced tremendous waves of pain last Sunday when I ate or drank anything hot and when I got anxious thinking about it. With a short out of country business trip scheduled on Wed, I rushed to the dentist feeling desperate. They squeezed me in and only looked at the specific area. They found a vertical cracked molar. I broke out in a cold, sweat. I thought I was going to faint as they talked about treatment and costs.
The dentist said that he will not know until he gets in there if it will be a root canal or an extraction. My procedure is set for July 9. I can be sedated or laughing gas.
I am now on antibiotics and over the counter pain killers (1 every 6 hours) The pain has subsided but my anxiety levels are through the roof.
I have scoured the internet; I am now obsessed with other issues I have been avoiding - gum recession on my bottom two front teeth, visible plaque and cavities. I am also constantly worried about the risk of Surgery because I am overweight or that I might negatively react to sedation. I am also terrified thinking about what the dentist will find wrong.
Should I get sedation? Should I visit my family doctor before surgery? Should I have a regular dentist check up to find out the extent of damage in the rest of my mouth or focus on my cracked molar first?
I am spinning...
 
Sevena

Sevena

Super Moderator
Joined
Jun 24, 2012
Messages
834
Location
UK
Sedation is very, very safe, and very effective. Root canals are not as bad as they used to be. And molar extractions are quick and usually very easy - wisdom teeth can be more difficult, and are more likely to result in dry socket.

Try not to fret about the other issues right now. You have one hurdle to get over, so deal with that first. One day at a time. If you felt like trying sedation, and it did the trick for you, you might end up feeling comforted to know it's an option for future procedures!

Get this molar treated, and then you can start to think about getting everything looked at. If you overwhelm yourself now, you'll feel more anxious. You'll be okay, I promise. :hug4:
 
B

BlueLuna

Junior member
Joined
Jun 28, 2018
Messages
7
Hi! Doesn't your dentist take an x-ray to see what's go on? Where I live, the dentist takes an x- ray. My dentist took an x-ray of my teeth and showed me on the x-ray a shading under an area of the teeth where my cheek and jaw hurt. He sent me to an endodontist who took his own x-ray and determined that I needed the root canal this time. My dentist sent me to this same endodontist a year and a half ago and back then the endodontist said I didn't need one. So, I knew it was time.
 
M

Marsbars

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
23
It’s really comforting to have the support and understanding of this forum.
@Blueluna, my dentist took an X-ray when I saw him. It’s a vertical crack and it definitely requires a root canal. If the tooth is beyond repair, he will extract it and start the process of putting in an implant. All in the same visit! I am shaking as I write this.
@Sevena, I really appreciate you reassurance around sedation. I don’t think I can go through the visit without it but am anxious about getting it. Ahhhh, anxiety! I still have 1 week to wait. I am using this time to start healthier habits - both in my diet and in my oral care - floss and brush x 2. Taking some control during this anxious time and it makes me feel a little better
 
S

saralou35

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 13, 2010
Messages
218
I would just focus on getting the tooth fixed and then concentrate on the rest! Maybe get an hygienist appt to giv them a good clean before you start on the cavities! X
 
Sevena

Sevena

Super Moderator
Joined
Jun 24, 2012
Messages
834
Location
UK
That's a really good idea to start working on your habits. Anxiety can often be helped by taking control of the things we *can* take control of.

Another thing that can help is knowledge. Our page on IV sedation has plenty of first hand accounts: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/help/sedation-dentistry/iv-sedation/

It also lists all the possible complications. As it mentions, on statistics alone, sedation is actually even safer than local anasthetic, which is so safe that you can get it in a doctor's office for minor reasons.

The scariest part is really the fear of the unknown. And I understand that entirely. You're basically surrendering yourself to the mercy of someone else and a bunch of drugs! But whatever transport you pick to get to the appointment will be less statistically safe than the sedative. It really is no biggie at all. Even if something did go wrong, you wouldn't die or anything. You'd be surrounded by medical professionals, the best possible place to be if you had a bad reaction to something!

So when your brain starts running at 100mph, take a moment to remind yourself of the facts, have a few deep breaths, and then try move your thinking along to something more productive. :)
 
D

Dentman

Junior member
Joined
Jul 3, 2018
Messages
1
Hi

My heart goes out to you! I’m undergoing treatment every week in hospital for PTSD following dental treatment back in the 1960s and in the middle of this I developed the same symptoms as you, sensitivity, pain etc to a premolar. I rushed to the dentist to be told I need at least a root filling or an extraction, even though no infection was visible on the X-rays. A week later I could see the infection spreading from the root on my gum. I have good news for you! You will be able to get through this treatment and any other that you need afterwards. Nothing dental seems to get better for ignoring it, so really, I’d agree you need a thorough check up too, to try and prevent future problems. Anyway, I know you can get through this, as I have TODAY! ? The waking sedation was almost more scary for me than the treatment, but my dentist was so assuring, I booked it. I’ve had a failed general anaesthetic and a failed epidural for a C-Section ?, so didn’t expect sedation would be great for me.. I’ve read 90% of patients forget what happened. I think I’m in the 10% perhaps as my consciousness was quite high. I remember watching the monitor for oxygen levels and thinking they looked good, my heartbeat was a tad fast, I don’t remember the injection to numb, so maybe I have forgotten some of it, but I do remember the tooth being extracted. I can recall thinking with mild surprise ..she’s rocking it side to side, rather than backwards and forwards! ? Despite being aware of this, was I bothered? Not a jot! And there’s the joy..I couldn’t have been more nervous and scared about today, yet even being aware of presumably the ‘worst’ part, it was absolutely fine! At one point, my oxygen dropped a little, a beep sounded and I was told to take a few deep breaths, which I did and all was fine. I can remember them packing a compress and holding it in the socket to staunch the bleeding, then I was asked if I minded my OH popping in to listen to instructions about the newly fitted temporary denture, in case I might not remember later. I was a little wobbly standing up, but felt fine and all the way through, I promise, I was absolutely relaxed and happy! My implant will be fitted in November and guess what?.. I’m booked to have waking sedation by IV again! It’s a wonderful option, probably for dentists as well as patients ? Whatever your check up reveals, you can be confident that with sedation, everything is possible! Good luck x
 
M

Marsbars

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
23
That's a really good idea to start working on your habits. Anxiety can often be helped by taking control of the things we *can* take control of.

Another thing that can help is knowledge. Our page on IV sedation has plenty of first hand accounts: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/help/sedation-dentistry/iv-sedation/

It also lists all the possible complications. As it mentions, on statistics alone, sedation is actually even safer than local anasthetic, which is so safe that you can get it in a doctor's office for minor reasons.

The scariest part is really the fear of the unknown. And I understand that entirely. You're basically surrendering yourself to the mercy of someone else and a bunch of drugs! But whatever transport you pick to get to the appointment will be less statistically safe than the sedative. It really is no biggie at all. Even if something did go wrong, you wouldn't die or anything. You'd be surrounded by medical professionals, the best possible place to be if you had a bad reaction to something!

So when your brain starts running at 100mph, take a moment to remind yourself of the facts, have a few deep breaths, and then try move your thinking along to something more productive. :)
I will definitely read the information provided around sedation. Thank you for sharing. 5 days until my appointment...
 
M

Marsbars

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
23
Well, I am now 2 days away from my appointment where I will have a root canal or an extraction. I have moments of calmness and then moments of sheer terror.
I'm scared I am going to faint or lose control before or during my appointment. The twilight solution that my dentist offers is oral. I'm not comfortable with it (would prefer IV) so have decided on laughing gas. I'm afraid though that I will be claustrophobic with the mask or I won't get enough oxygen.
How have you managed your panic before going to the dentist?
 
M

Marsbars

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
23
1 day until my appt. I am terribly anxious and didn’t get much sleep last night. My partner, who is extremely supportive, is frustrated because I am constantly in my head.
I have moments where I feel strong thinking I can do this, and other moments where I feel completely overwhelmed. Not sure which one of me will show up tomorrow. So thankful for this website which I visit frequently.
If an extraction is required, I have decided not to get the implant immediately (i.e. tomorrow). I think it will be too much and I don’t want to have a set back.
 
M

Marsbars

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
23
Today is the day. I reached out to my dentist over the weekend twice with questions and his assistant replied within two hours each time. I was so impressed.
I had a restless sleep (4 hours or so) I'm thankful I got that much. I'm feeling tired, anxious, and wish I could get out of this but know I must face my fear.
 
Sevena

Sevena

Super Moderator
Joined
Jun 24, 2012
Messages
834
Location
UK
Let us know how it goes!
 
T

theanxiouspatient

Junior member
Joined
Jul 9, 2018
Messages
1
Location
US Northeast
Hi friend! I would like to first say I commend and support you in your decision to seek treatment! :jump:That is the first step. I will now briefly tell you my own experience with a root canal: it was very easy! Nothing more than a glorified filling :) I was 15 (am now 5+ years older and wiser...) and was a terrified teenager- actually, more like PETRIFIED at what the experience would be like, as it was one of my front teeth I had to have my procedure done on. I was referred by my family dentist to a very capable and gentle Endodontist who performed a successful "operation," on me, though it was barely an operation at all! I'm certain if I was able to handle it without anesthesia you DEFINITELY can. All the Dr. did was administer Novocaine to the area she would be working in and it was plenty to keep me from experiencing a thing. I will tell you this, however: it would behoove you to see an Endodontist instead of a dentist, as the Endo' may be more experienced and capable in performing a procedure which will prove successful for you! My dad has had 13 root canals and has lost a few of them after the fact due to a dentist doing the procedure- though please remember this may not be the case for each dentist; it is simply a tidbit/warning which I hope proves helpful to you along your journey.

May you find health and happiness!
 
M

Marsbars

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
23
Hi

My heart goes out to you! I’m undergoing treatment every week in hospital for PTSD following dental treatment back in the 1960s and in the middle of this I developed the same symptoms as you, sensitivity, pain etc to a premolar. I rushed to the dentist to be told I need at least a root filling or an extraction, even though no infection was visible on the X-rays. A week later I could see the infection spreading from the root on my gum. I have good news for you! You will be able to get through this treatment and any other that you need afterwards. Nothing dental seems to get better for ignoring it, so really, I’d agree you need a thorough check up too, to try and prevent future problems. Anyway, I know you can get through this, as I have TODAY! ? The waking sedation was almost more scary for me than the treatment, but my dentist was so assuring, I booked it. I’ve had a failed general anaesthetic and a failed epidural for a C-Section ?, so didn’t expect sedation would be great for me.. I’ve read 90% of patients forget what happened. I think I’m in the 10% perhaps as my consciousness was quite high. I remember watching the monitor for oxygen levels and thinking they looked good, my heartbeat was a tad fast, I don’t remember the injection to numb, so maybe I have forgotten some of it, but I do remember the tooth being extracted. I can recall thinking with mild surprise ..she’s rocking it side to side, rather than backwards and forwards! ? Despite being aware of this, was I bothered? Not a jot! And there’s the joy..I couldn’t have been more nervous and scared about today, yet even being aware of presumably the ‘worst’ part, it was absolutely fine! At one point, my oxygen dropped a little, a beep sounded and I was told to take a few deep breaths, which I did and all was fine. I can remember them packing a compress and holding it in the socket to staunch the bleeding, then I was asked if I minded my OH popping in to listen to instructions about the newly fitted temporary denture, in case I might not remember later. I was a little wobbly standing up, but felt fine and all the way through, I promise, I was absolutely relaxed and happy! My implant will be fitted in November and guess what?.. I’m booked to have waking sedation by IV again! It’s a wonderful option, probably for dentists as well as patients ? Whatever your check up reveals, you can be confident that with sedation, everything is possible! Good luck x
Thank you, Dentman! The waiting was the worst and your note meant the world to me. How are you feeling??? Are you fully recovered? I had my molar extracted and implant put in - all this afternoon! I can’t believe it’s all done. I opted for the laughing gas. There were definitely some intense moments but when they happened, they we’re over fast.
Now starts the recovery...
 
M

Marsbars

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
23
Done and dusted. Tooth extraction and implant. I was beyond anxious for weeks...I’m so relieved it’s done. I arrived 30 minutes early. The office manager was so supportive and answered all of my questions that I was 30 min late to meet the dentist. He listened to my fears as well before he started. It really is all about trust. They checked in with me every step of the way and even let my husband sit with me for support while they ramped up the laughing gas.
Not looking forward to the recovery but I am so proud of myself for facing my phobia. The full check up isn’t going to be easy but I now know I have the inner strength to face it. No looking back.
Sending strength, positivity, and encouragement to everyone going through this journey.
 
S

soupy

Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2018
Messages
41
Done and dusted. Tooth extraction and implant. I was beyond anxious for weeks...I’m so relieved it’s done. I arrived 30 minutes early. The office manager was so supportive and answered all of my questions that I was 30 min late to meet the dentist. He listened to my fears as well before he started. It really is all about trust. They checked in with me every step of the way and even let my husband sit with me for support while they ramped up the laughing gas.
Not looking forward to the recovery but I am so proud of myself for facing my phobia. The full check up isn’t going to be easy but I now know I have the inner strength to face it. No looking back.
Sending strength, positivity, and encouragement to everyone going through this journey.
Thanks for your post, i am facing my first ever extraction (or hemisection if i just cant face the extraction in my current poor mental state). Your posts have given me positivity, so thanks for sharing your story. I hope things are going well for you.
 
M

Marsbars

Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2018
Messages
23
Thanks for your post, i am facing my first ever extraction (or hemisection if i just cant face the extraction in my current poor mental state). Your posts have given me positivity, so thanks for sharing your story. I hope things are going well for you.
I've read your background, Soupy. Like you, I didn't feel strong enough (mentally or physically) for an extraction. I proved myself wrong and even went ahead with the bone graph and implant as part of the same procedure. I've had minimal discomfort since Monday (typically when I first wake up) only taking over the counter ibuprofen every six hours or so to avoid any pain.
You've got this!
 
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