Much Needed Root Canal Advice....please read story.

J

JPeterson

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Hey Guys,

I’m brand new here so please bare with me and my apologies for the length but I really need some help here. I’m desperate.

I have to give a little back story and I’ll try to keep it brief...

First off my, as of today, former dentist is a masochist and I’m not a typical dental patient case.

I’ve been seeing the masochist since I was around 4 I think. I know I was really little. He’s never once been kind to me in or out of the office. I live in a small rural town and he is my uncle’s best friend so we run into each other a lot. I’ve been blessed with my father’s side of the family’s teeth...we have “issues”.

Even when I was a really little kid this man was terrible to me. It’s really hard at that age to explain to the tooth fairy why there’s a 3 under your pillow tonight because you were a big girl that went to the dentist today and they were lose anyway so he pulled them. That traumatized me. Along with a few other medical mishaps in my family that have been proven should’ve never happened has been determined to be a major trigger for my intense anxiety when it comes to doctors of all kinds.

Fast forward to me at 18. My bottom wisdom teeth need to come out. It’s a terrible ordeal because of their positions. He ends up fracturing my jaw in 2 places and I pull out a chunk of my tooth a week later that was “missed cleaning me up”. That intensified my anxiety to a whole new realm.

Fast forward a couple more years to 23. This is where my “non-typical” case begins.

Thanks to my genetics the gums on my lower front teeth are receding and I’m told on a Monday I need gum grafts...immediately. I get a reminder call on Wednesday for my appointment that afternoon. I absolutely didn’t make an appointment for this because I’m so terrified and because I’m going to pretend it’s not happening. I didn’t even tell anyone about needing them. Lo and behold I get dragged in kicking and screaming that afternoon by my dad who had made the appointment. I’m the type of patient that can’t see it, hear it, or feel it so I brought my touque (I’m Canadian) , my iPod and my brand spankin’ new pair of Beats that I stopped to pick up on the way because they were noise cancelling. Masochist decided it was a good time to also pop out my top wisdom teeth as well as do a filling because of them in addition to tissue harvesting, cutting out a muscle that was pulling my gums down, and placing the graft. I wasn’t given a choice. He “numbed” me and started with the left wisdom tooth followed by the filling. I felt everything from the filling on. I signalled this by raising my left hand (the office’s “stop now” sign). He kept pulling my headphones out and refused to let me cover my eyes with my touque because he wanted to make sure I hadn’t bled out yet. Total procedure time: 22 minutes. I’m given strict orders to not bite down on anything for 6-8 weeks and I threw my brand new headphones out because they were covered in blood from his gloves.

I have a few dental field friends that have worked directly under him as assistants. Every single one said it was absolutely unnecessary for that to happen that quick and that much that fast. [/FONT]

I go back for a follow up about a month later. I’m healing well but I’m still at least 2 weeks from biting down on anything. I’ve lost 20 pounds at this point because I can barely eat but doctor knows best right?

Well as my awesome luck would have it I took a line drive with a softball a month to the day after the graft. I’ll spare the gory details but because of my still healing grafts not one of my teeth broke but my jaw did. Major lateral fracture. Super fun stuff. Thankfully, I had people that love me witness this and I was immediately cared for. First call was obviously to the masochist. It was a Sunday. He honestly couldn’t be bothered to attend to this emergency even though he was in town and at the office at the time. Instead I was rushed to the hospital 2 hours away. Teeth die VERY quickly after trauma and the 2 hour drive ahead wasn’t looking good for these. I had an incredible medical team meet me at the ER door and by the grace of god they got every single one of my teeth back into place and presumably alive. These people were astounding. They actually listened when I communicated my anxieties and I taught them about blind dentistry. I never felt a single poke with freezing and there were 7 vials injected. I definitely felt nothing after that either. Due to the broken jaw and the way my teeth were reset (brace wire and white filling material) I was told under no circumstances was I to even gently put my teeth together for at least 10-12 weeks. [/FONT]

The masochist never followed up with me but my angel hygienist did. She’s been with me since the beginning and has literally held my hand through every procedure I’ve had done. She was utterly sick about it. I’ve been seeing her every 3-4 months for a cleaning since and we’ve monitored my teeth extensively. It’s been almost 8 years.

She’s told me from the beginning there’s gonna be problems down the line.

Well...today it happened.

One of my bottom teeth has abscessed, it’s taking part of my jaw with it and a root canal and crown is in my immediate future. This isn’t optional. This truly cannot wait. I trust her opinion over everyone else.

My angel has been secretly preparing for this day for a while now it seems. She took the X-rays today and delivered the bad news. Then she called in the newest doctor to the practice rather than the masochist. He confirmed. He told me my options. None of them good. I wasn’t told too much and probably wouldn’t have understood any way but its definitely abscessed and there’s a huge chance it’s completely dead.

He actually listened to my concerns and fears which is a completely new thing for me. I have the option of letting him do it next week or taking the gamble and being referred to a specialist which could take a bit to get in and then however long it takes to do the procedure.

I was completely overwhelmed and heard very little but I was trying to be brave. My angel gave me her number for any and all questions or fears I have once I process all of this but as it stands this road starts next Thursday and will probably be one of a few.

The new dentist suggested doing this without numbing because it’s what he does on little kids. I’m a grown adult but when you put me in the chair I’m essentially a terrified child. Thing is getting the freezing terrifies me just as much as not having it. He told me if I chose it it was going to hurt given where it is and it wouldn’t be as gentle as in the hospital.

This new dentist is fresh out of school. This is his first time at a full time practice. That has me deeply concerned but I’ve also been assured for a year now by my angel that he’s not the masochist and this will be different. I’ve also heard good things but none of those people saying that have the anxiety and deep fear I do.

I’ve also heard/googled that abscess = antibiotics every time. He didn’t prescribe me anything other than high test Ativan. That’s got me worried too. I’m happy for the Ativan because I need it but what about the antibiotics. I’m assuming he didn’t because this came on so slowly and I’ve had zero symptoms of any sort of issue but I really don’t know and can’t be sure.

I need your help here. Did I make the right choice? Should I let him do it? Should I gamble and go with the specialist even if it ends up being a worse scenario? Should I be pushing for antibiotics? Most importantly CAN I DO THIS WITHOUT FREEZING?!?

Please be gentle with your responses. I have zero support on this from my circle. It’s to the point that after I told them about this tonight that people refuse to even drive me to the appointment let alone pick me up.
 
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letsconnect

letsconnect

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Hi J, what a horrific story :( - you really have been through the wringer, haven't you?

To answer your most important question first - "CAN I DO THIS WITHOUT FREEZING?!?" - I believe the answer is "No". Even though it is conceivable that in some rare cases the entire procedure could be completed without any anaesthetic and pain (because the nerve tissue has already died),few dentists or endondontists (root canal specialists) would want to take a gamble and destroy their reputation as a pain-free practitioner. Even the placement of the rubber dam clamps would be reason enough to numb you up. Nowadays, using a dental dam is standard of care for root canal treatment in developed countries.

The new dentist suggested doing this without numbing because it’s what he does on little kids.

:oReally?

He told me if I chose it it was going to hurt given where it is and it wouldn’t be as gentle as in the hospital.

So he's saying that painless injections aren't his strong suit.

We have a whole page on our website dedicated to root canal treatment and what it feels like - you can find it here: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/faq/root-canal/ . The page also explains how to decide whether to have treatment done by a specialist (endodontist) or a general dentist. A lot depends on the location of the tooth - front teeth are much easier than back teeth (molars).

Based on what you have said, I would recommend seeing the specialist, although even then, I would have a look at what other people have said about them (google for reviews and see what their website looks like).

The good news is that there is no need for antibiotics if you're not in a lot of pain :).
 
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brit

brit

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I agree with Letsconnect and in your shoes would opt for the specialist endodontist, who like the hospital staff is bound to give you a much better experience, simply by virtue of their specialism. You don't want someone inexperienced doing a root canal and you especially don't want anyone coming near you who thinks local anaesthetic is unnecessary :scared:.

Once you have had a positive experience with the endodontic specialist, I would suggest you ask him/her for a recommendation for a new general dentist (who would he recommend to his daughter/family member?) so that you can find yourself a long-term solution and end this abusive treatment regime you have been subjected to over many years. Your description of one of your recent appointments sounded like an assault was committed....where was your consent for the extra wisdom teeth extraction? Why was your stop ignored?

The way to experience painfree dental treatment is to opt for local anaesthetic upfront and decent dentists can administer this 99% time with zero discomfort. It takes time though, can't be done in a rush, read more here:
https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/fears/needle-phobia/

Good luck you deserve some :XXLhug:
 
J

JPeterson

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Hey. OP here.

My previous dentist really was a terrible human being and the doctors that were in the ER essentially asked “who did this to you?” on a few things. I knew there was a very big problem then but because of an arrangement that was made and it being a small town I had no choice of who I saw.

I’m seriously debating going with the specialist but my fear is that if I wait too long the abscess will grow and I’ll have a bigger problem on my hands.

As for doing it without freezing...believe me I’m insanely skeptical but I truthfully want to believe him. I’ve been assured that the new guy isn’t the masochist. I really want to believe this time it will be different. I really do want to trust him. My fear is that it’s gonna be extremely painful without (thus scarring me for life even further) but also I’m terrified to get the freezing because he straight up told me it was gonna hurt. It’s a front bottom tooth with an abscess. I’ve heard it’s incredibly difficult to numb an abscessed tooth and since my adrenaline is at an all time high in that moment I metabolize it faster. Basically I feel like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

I don’t know what to do here. I feel like I’m gonna pass out even thinking about it.
 
brit

brit

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Hey. OP here.

My previous dentist really was a terrible human being and the doctors that were in the ER essentially asked “who did this to you?” on a few things. I knew there was a very big problem then but because of an arrangement that was made and it being a small town I had no choice of who I saw.

I’m seriously debating going with the specialist but my fear is that if I wait too long the abscess will grow and I’ll have a bigger problem on my hands.

As for doing it without freezing...believe me I’m insanely skeptical but I truthfully want to believe him. I’ve been assured that the new guy isn’t the sadist. I really want to believe this time it will be different. I really do want to trust him. My fear is that it’s gonna be extremely painful without (thus scarring me for life even further) but also I’m terrified to get the freezing because he straight up told me it was gonna hurt. It’s a front bottom tooth with an abscess. I’ve heard it’s incredibly difficult to numb an abscessed tooth and since my adrenaline is at an all time high in that moment I metabolize it faster. Basically I feel like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.

I don’t know what to do here. I feel like I’m gonna pass out even thinking about it.

You are no longer a child, it is up to you who you let do dental work on you. Even if the administration of local anaesthetic does cause a bit of pain...at worst it is a pinprick (needle)/bit of a sting (fluid going in).....I have had many dental injections in many areas of my mouth and never found one painful. I do choose my dentists with care though. Whilst it's true infection can make numbing harder, it doesn't always happen and there are ways round this which endodontists in particular know, including the use of different types of local anaesthetic/a larger than average dose or using a different injection technique and if all else fails a pulpal injection can apparently numb a tooth 99.9% time...it's just that there are better ways to try first.
My concern about letting this guy have a go is that he is inexperienced and you don't seem to be in control at appointments. You could see an endodontist and agree that if he can't get you properly numb, you don't continue. You are incorrect to think that pain from an injection can ever be worse, than enduring treatment for which LA is the norm, without LA.
You are indeed correct to assume that a traumatic experience will likely feed your phobia, hence our advice to see the specialist. I am sure they have emergency slots in many cases and may indeed want to pre-prescribe antibiotics. Best wishes....take control of what happens...it's the only way to overcome things long-term. You do know if you ask them to stop, they should or you could sue for assault (in UK at least). BTW I think the word you meant was 'sadist'.

https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/fears/not-numb/
Look at Pumpkin's thread: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/showthread.php?5393-root-canal-vs-extraction-argh-panicking!
 
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letsconnect

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I’m seriously debating going with the specialist but my fear is that if I wait too long the abscess will grow and I’ll have a bigger problem on my hands.

Have you tried contacting his office yet? Did they say when they could fit you in?
 
biffo1963

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Just in passing - a masochist is someone who enjoys having pain inflicted on himself/herself. Your previous dentist was actually a sadist, which is someone who enjoys inflicting pain on other people.

I agree with the others above, having anything other than a very minor procedure without anaesthetic is likely to feed your phobia and make it worse. Don't do it !
 
Enarete

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As for doing it without freezing...believe me I’m insanely skeptical but I truthfully want to believe him.

I can only agree with all the posts above and say: please, don't. Its shocking that this got offered to you and also the part with ".. because this is what he does on little kids".. what is the connection?

Painless treatment is a basic responsibility of a dentist and has to do with ethics, please never agree to get a treatment without numbing. If there are difficulties, it's your dentists job to find a way around it. It's generous from you to believe and to want to trust your dentist, but given your past experiences it's also very important that you take a very good care of yourself and your comfort.
 
J

JPeterson

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OP here again.

Many of you are correct. He is a sadist...not a masochist. My apologies. Tomayto tomahto in this situation however because you get my point. He’s a terrible human being who no longer works for me.

I’ve been in contact with my angel hygienist. We spoke for nearly an hour and a half yesterday. She listened to my whining the whole time and answered every question she could as best she could. She took down some notes and will be talking to the new guy on Monday to explain just how large this fear is, exactly what I’ve been through in the past and to put added measures into place. I did get the name of the specialist from her but found out his waiting list is around 4-6 months as this is not considered an “emergency case” because it came on so slowly and I’m completely symptom/pain free. There’s no other specialist in the area so there’s no way around it. I refuse to miss another summer or delay my plans in the fall because of this (had to with the original accident).

So we came up with Plan B.

The sadist is out of the country next week so him interfering will not be a problem. We’re going to add the owner of the practice to my “care team”. Coincidentally she lives down the street and is engaged to a guy I went to high school with. The new guy will still be doing the root canal but she will be brought in to consult as well as monitoring/being on call. She’s going to be informed of everything with my case as well.

I have also enlisted the help of Voila method practioner (might be mumbo jumbo to some but it’s worked for me). We’ve known each other for years so it’s the added bonus of having a friend by my side who really gets how my mind works on this. I have an appointment for a session with her an hour before and her office is 3 doors away from the dentist. She rearranged her schedule to help and will be taking her lunch when I go in for my appointment to continue the session beyond. I’ve also found a 2 hour long binaural beat for stress, anxiety, and fear that I’ll be listening to the entire time at full blast. It’s got a nice ocean wave hitting the shore sound on top (I’m a beach girl). Maybe I’m seriously grasping at straws with this one but I can use all the help I can get. As well I’ve managed to get some additional Ativan. I’ll have 1.5-2mgs in me when I walk in with another 1mg tab waiting if I need it. Here’s hoping!

As for freezing...that will be determined on the day of but 99% chance it will happen. I need to talk to him first because my hindsight is a full 20/20 now and he made a few comments the other day that have me puzzled. Namely, he said he could see the abscess. I can’t. My hygienist never mentioned it either. I’m completely symptom free and the problem only shows up on an xray that I don’t ever remember having in the past. I can only see the lump I asked the sadist about 6 months after my accident and was told it had been there my entire life and that it was just an air pocket from how my teeth were “carelessly put back in” by highly trained dental trauma surgeons in the ER. I realize having a bump your entire life and it being a new air bubble contradict each other and I’m forever thankful of how amazing of a job the surgeons did.
 
S

saralou35

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I had a root canal on a molar 8yrs ago without a numbing injection! Although the dentist was very harsh to me and thought I was making it all up about the pain? She said we’ll see if it’s dead now! Not a very nice dentist but I can say it didn’t hurt at all as the nerve was dead! So if your dentist thinks it truely is dead you will be fine!
 
brit

brit

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If the nerve is truly dead, as Letsconnect said, it can be done without nerve pain but it is much more comfortable to be numbed up, particularly with the clamp for the rubber dam, and just the general fiddling about. As properly done root canals are quite time-consuming it is best to minimise discomfort/uncomfortableness as well as pain so that you are not 'lying there wishing you were elsewhere'. It is easier to relax knowing there won't be any pain and with all the fiddling about without numbing it can be somewhat uncomfortable.
 
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krlovesherkids777

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I so agree that it is much easier to be less anxious and more relaxed with local , regardless of whether you can technically get away with not doing it. I'm really thankful to have a dentist who always thinks of my comfort level and offers local and makes sure I have enough to not feel any pain or discomfort ! Not all are like this. and its hard to ask when you are an anxious patient.
 
J

JPeterson

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Manidibular Block Fear

Hey guys,

Well I’m completely freaking out and 48 hours from now I’m positive I’ll be .... in pain.

Thanks to a sadistic dentist who is also a cocky a**hole I've had several TERRIBLE experiences. Even the staff have told me on a number of occasions it wasn’t right and I never should’ve felt a thing let alone been treated that way.

I don’t need to be told what’s gonna happen here. I’m very well aware. I vividly remember being newly 18 and getting one for my bottom wisdom teeth extraction. I vividly remember being completely up and out of the chair it was so painful. I vividly remember feeling every second of the extraction and yes I did make it known I wasn’t numb both before when he asked and by raising my hand during. “I can’t understand what you’re saying” and “sorry we can’t stop right now” were both mentioned. Finally, I vividly remember being a blubbering snotty mess howling on the floor at home when it was done because the freezing that did take was coming out.

12 years later I’m having phantom pains at the back of my gums because guess what I get to have on Thursday?

I’m losing my mind here. I fired the sadist. I’ve put myself in the care of someone else. Unfortunately for him we’re starting out with something major. I cannot get this out of my head however. That pain is all too vivid. Those memories run too deep.

How can I make this pain free? I NEED that to happen. I NEED a positive dental experience for once. I’m so close to avoiding the dentist entirely from here on out at this point.
 
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brit

brit

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Re: Mandibular Block Fear

It being pain free or within tolerable levels of discomfort is entirely in the hands of the attitude and technical skills of the dentist you allow to work on your teeth. I don't really understand why you are willing to give the benefit of the doubt to a practice where you have apparently suffered so much pain and so much unnecessary unanaesthetised treatment in the past just because the particularly bad dentist (who I understand is not the owner) will be away.
Either he is incompetent and sadistic or just sadistic based on what you recounted in your other thread. What really matters are the intentions of the younger dentist. The best thing you can do if you are determined to stay at this practice for treatment is tell him you only give consent on condition that the treatment is comfortable (which done properly it should be no question - dental injections do not have to be painful at all and no painful treatment should ever be carried out if you are not sufficiently numb.) If he cannot deliver, you call a halt and go elsewhere...you have the power because you are paying the bill.
NB I have a very dim view of the staff now agreeing with you that you were badly treated in the past if they stood by at the time and did nothing to help you.
As I see it your issue is not a mandibular block....it is having not been sufficiently numbed or numbed at all in the past.

I have merged your two threads. Please only raise one thread in support on the same theme.
 
J

JPeterson

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OP here with a follow up for anyone wondering.

Didn’t sleep at all last night. Found out I’ve dropped 7 pounds from having zero appetite due to anxiety. I’ve felt nauseous for a week due to worrying myself sick. I was in a REALLY bad place.

I had a session with my healer immediately before my appointment today and she personally escorted me to the office (I probably would’ve run) on her lunch break.

My name was called, she came with me to get me settled and to hold my hand during the freezing. I sat down shaking because I was in a complete state of shock.

My Superhero dentist walked in and I asked if he could forgo giving me a mandiblular block and told him exactly what happened the last time. He was horrified and confirmed the sadist completely missed the nerve by a mile. I asked about mandible infiltration instead. He agreed but warned me that it had a 95% or more chance of failure. Since I have a hole in my jaw because of the abscess he was willing to try and see how it goes.

He showed me the topical q-tips and told me to close my eyes. I saw the sticks standing up out of my lip as I closed my eyes and felt him place them. Then he immediately told me to count to 5 in my head, he asked me my favourite hockey team and slid OUT the first shot as I answered. A whole capsule. 5 seconds. He did it while the topical was setting.

He turned away to reload. I heard it click...I gave him a hard time for it because the needle was the one part I was still adamant I didn’t want to have any indication of. He pinky promised I wouldn’t feel it regardless. He told me to close my eyes again, removed the topical q-tips at the same time he gave me the second. I knew it was there but the best way I can describe it is if you ran a safety pin through the bottom of a really big water blister and let the pin just sit there for 5 seconds.

My healer is also a massage therapist so when he started massaging the freezing into my jaw she showed him how to do it better/more effectively. He even let me feel the big bump it caused beforehand.

He told me to throw in my headphones because he was “gonna get his drilling thing on”. The first second he stopped I pulled them out because they did nothing for me. I couldn’t hear the Binaural Beat over the high pitched drill sound in my mouth.

I ended up watching the entire rest of the procedure and taking selfies with the files still in my tooth on X-ray breaks.

The only time I felt a thing was for less than a nanosecond when he had fully cleaned the root out and used his fancy stabber to melt the gutta petcha at the very bottom of the base. It was so quick my brain didn’t have enough time to register the heat.

The last X-rays show a perfect root canal. My healer and I walked out together 35 minutes later.

The freezing was gone within an hour or so. With the exception of the fancy stabber I haven’t felt anything since the topical being placed and my little circular bruise at the injection site is completely painless and kinda cute.

As far as discomfort it feels like I have a popcorn husk stuck between my lip and my tooth. That’s it. Considering everything it’s not even annoying. I also have a weirdish taste in my mouth. Somewhat salty like a margarita rim and a little like copper.

I’m actually excited to go to my next appointment with him in 3 weeks and when there’s future root canals I’ll gladly jump back in his chair.

I can officially say I ROCKED IT!!!
 
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