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Is this normal procedure?

H

Hollyharvey

Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2008
Messages
74
I am having a problem and am in quite a lot of pain. I phoned my dentist this morning and asked for an urgent appointment as I am in pain and was told that the first available appointment was next Tuesday evening. I again explained that I was in pain, and she again offered the same appointment. I then just said that I would have to find another dentist then, and that was it. I phoned back and complained to the practice manager who offered me an appointment tomorrow morning with another dentist.

However, the practice is mainly a periodontal surgery, and the dentist I am to see tomorrow is a periodontist. He qualified in 2003 and gained his further periodontal qualifications in 2007. Since then he has worked in London and the town where I live as a periodontist. I phoned the practice in London and he does not do any general dental work there. Here, according to the practice manager he does 'a little bit of general dental work now and again if there is an urgent case'.

I am worried that he will have become 'de-skilled' in general dental work through lack of practise, meaning that he may not be able to help me, and wondered what other people's views are on this?

Also, for the dentists on here, the dentist I have seen in the past works as an independant renting the surgery, you even have to pay him upstairs and not at the reception, even though you book appointments at the reception. He is aware of my phobia and has been really good. Would you be concerned that a patient of yours was being left in pain like this, and will ultimately leave the surgery? (If it wasn't so close to Christmas I would have sought treatment somewhere else and will do in the new year as I can't risk this sort of problem in the future).

Thank you

Holly
 
Sounds like quite a strange private arrangement. Usually you are a particular private dentist's patient so that they will prioritise you in the event of pain/emergency.
If they are on holiday I would expect them to have some kind of cover in place and if around but booked, well I'd expect to squeezed in rather than fobbed off on someone else but it doesn't even sound like your dentist knows that you are currently having an issue.

If he only works there some of the time, I suppose initially she was just offering you the next available slot with him. It sounds more reasonable to offer you the next day with someone else rather than expect you to wait in pain.
I wouldn't worry about the periodontist being de-skilled since they qualified recently.
You have to be a dentist before you become a periodontist as you probably know.
Maybe ask for your dentist to call you back if he is there and say you'd really rather just see him.
You may just need antibiotics as well so in that case it wouldn't matter who you saw as they wouldn't be doing much. The thing you need to avoid is getting an emergency extraction over Christmas where a tooth could be saved with a root canal/filling, which would mean if you do need a root canal you could go to a private London endodontist and be painfree by Xmas...or is this wishful thinking on my part?
Sorry I have rambled rather a lot. In NHS it would be normal for them to put you with the 'less busy dentist on the day' in event of emergency but doesn't seem so appropriate in private sector where you have relationship built up.
Best wishes
 
Thanks for your input Brit.

My dentist is there, and is there every day until next Wednesday when he starts his Christmas break. You are right that he doesn't know that I am having a problem. I have just found his own email addrress on my last receipt, and it is not the surgery one, so whatever the outcome I will email him and tell him what has happened.

One of the things I am worrying about is ending up needing a root canal over Christmas, as it is a front tooth!

I will go and see this periodontist and see what he says, he should at least be able to give an opinion. As you say at least he qualified fairly recently so should still have his skills. I just resent paying £97 for an emergency consultation with someone who may not have the skills to help me!

Here in Colchester we now have a specialist endodontic practice so if that is what is needed I will phone there straight away, and you can self refer.

Holly
 
Why not email your dentist now for guidance - it's easier for him to put it right sooner rather than later when you have gone elsewhere? My dentist works his lunch or stays late to help emergencies.
 
I did go and see the periodontist, and he had a look at the front teeth, and did the cold test and the electric pulse test, and took an xray of the four front teeth. He said that he couldn't find anything wrong, and just to wait and see how things go. By his own admission, if it was anything other than doing a temporary removal of the nerve and putting in an antiseptic dressing he would not be capable of doing it, so I am not sure how I feel about all of this.

The practice manager spoke to my dentist this afternoon, and he said that he would have refered me to this periodontist to have a look even if he had of seen me himself.

Anyhow, next is this normal? question:-

My own dentist has said that he can refer me to a pain clinic if I want to learn to deal with the pain. When I asked if this was a special dental unit, I was told no 'just the normal pain clinic at the general hospital'. I have never heard of this before, and don't know why I would want to learn to live with the pain, I thought that was why I had fought the dental phobia, so that I could get treatment, and do as I have done now, and go to the dentist if there was pain.

If anyone else has been sent to the pain clinic before for dental problems I would be keen to hear of their experience, although my first thought is to find another dentist, who will try to find the cause of the pain and treat it.

Holly
 
My own dentist has said that he can refer me to a pain clinic if I want to learn to deal with the pain. When I asked if this was a special dental unit, I was told no 'just the normal pain clinic at the general hospital'. I have never heard of this before, and don't know why I would want to learn to live with the pain, I thought that was why I had fought the dental phobia, so that I could get treatment, and do as I have done now, and go to the dentist if there was pain.

No, that's a first on this forum I think - Lord Howe might be interested in the idea as a fourth model to pilot... :giggle:. "Send people with toothache to pain clinics" - good one!

Having said that, there might be instances where a pain clinic is appropriate, for all I know. E.g. if the pain really is totally medically inexplicable.
I think your idea to find a dentist who will try and find the cause of the pain and treat it is the best way forward :thumbsup:
 
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