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no painkiller dentistry

J

jsalathe

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I tried to post this before, but it didn't go through. Here is my story:

Dr Bailey approached me. I was sitting on the chair, I always kind of enjoyed the dentist. the teeth cleaning felt good and tasted good. but today he asid I had a cavity. it was in my baby teeth. he said, “ you don’t want a shot do you?” “It’s really only for girls, and we’re only filling your baby teeth.

“Then I don’t need a shot.” I was strong boy, not a sissy girl. Plus, it wasn’t like it would be like a grown up tooth, they must hurt alot more..”

He started by placing very painful devices between my teeth and gums . I was squirming around from the pain and he said once he started drilling I couldn’t move anymore because he might slip and hurt me. I had to be quiet too so that he could concentrate. He approached with the drill in hand and started it spinning. he hesitantly applied some pressure and it felt strange, but not particularly painful. then he started to really apply some pressure and start drilling around. it was excruciating. I could smell my burned teeth and blood. the pain filled my body down to my toes and then went out the tips of my toes, fingertips and head. he was unerlenting. I tried so hard to hold still I must … no, I didn’t cry I don’t think. I just took it, because I was a string boy. I didn’t want the dentist and the other people to think I was a sissy. my mom and my sister were there. My sister got the shot because she was a gril.

the drilling lasted a long time. I don’t remember too many specifics, I remember digging my nails into the faux leather of the armrests. I remember wondering when it would end. but he kept on stopping, moving around or changing the bit and then restarting. It was a mercury filling. I don’t remember how they do that anymore, so I don’t rememebr the end.

I was five.

I had 5 or more cavities filled this way. all of the cavities that this dentist filled. My mom made sure I had impeccable dental habits, brushing 2-3 times per day and flossing to boot. I might have said I was cavity prone, but my dental hygiene has plummetted in adult life and I haven’t had a cavity in 15 years. my parents should NOT have let this happen and that dentist should have gone to jail. he is surely going to his own hell

I must have told my parents that he didn’t give me a shot, but maybe I didn’t tell anyone. you might wonder why I din’t make him stop. I didn’t know any better. he told me the needle hurt so much anyway and he was convincing me that real boys and men don’t need that. I don’t think anyone else ever asked me about it. the next dentist I went to approached with the needle and I told him I wasn’t sure about that, maybe we should just do it without the needle. The new dentist said, “you can’t do that.” I told him that I had never had it before. I don’t remember his response, but other dentist and dental assistants said theyb had heard similar stories but didn’t seem too fazed by it.

Is this unusual? It was in the mid ‘70’s.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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I had lots of similar experiences in the 70s to mid-80s and they were not once-offs (for the record, I'm a girl... so the "not being a sissy" argument didn't enter the picture).

People didn't regard it as "abnormal", indeed, it was viewed as perfectly acceptable ("your own fault for not looking after your teeth"). I should add that this wasn't in the in the UK or US. From reading this forum, it would appear to me that it was relatively uncommon there to deny local anaesthesia even back in the 70s, though it's entirely possible that there were regional differences.

I have a pet theory that dental phobia forums are more common and have more members in countries where local anaesthesia was or is regarded as an "optional extra", and perhaps not surprisingly, this is indeed the case...
 
D

Darren_Wilson

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I had similar at 14 years old, and it was an adult tooth that the dentist never offered me any anaesthesia whatsoever, and just started drilling away. Drill touched nerve = my right fist connecting with his chin and 17 years passing before my next dentist visit (due to the tooth that he had drilled breaking on a microwave toastie & discovering that I had been suffering from an impacted wisdom tooth for god knows how many years without even realising!).
 
brit

brit

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In my experience I would say..in the UK NHS local anaesthesia was routinely offered by practices describing themselves as 'modern' from 1970 onwards....even an early version of numbing cream 'bonjela' would often be used by Associate Dentists fresh out of dental school but as I found out myself the occasional sadist could still be encountered.....

My very old-fashioned 1960s dentist would avoid hurting children by only doing tiny fillings with liberal use of oil of cloves...anything bigger likely to cause pain and he would 'gas you' (=oldfashioned GA) - (not at all pleasant but definitely better than fillings without LA). I did not dislike this man..he was always kind to me.

I distinctly remember adults around me in the 1970s commenting on how much better going to the dentists was now they always 'numbed you up'....in fact my Auntie was the first adult I ever heard say she enjoyed going *:-*....a new concept to me at the time *:p. *I suppose dental schools started teaching students to routinely use LA even for fillings and so gradually it became the norm everywhere. As most everyone used NHS dentistry back then...there was no reason to deny LA on cost grounds as it was included as part of the procedure however much you required...in other countries you are charged per dose.

I mean for heaven's sake what kind of a weirdo *:devilish: would you have to be to become a dentist if it weren't for anaesthesia?

I agree with Letsconnect that some EU countries have a minimalist approach to dental anaesthesia and make you feel like a wimp for wanting it....never mind asking for numbing cream....who'd dare to, it adds 5 mins to the appt time?

I really want everyone to know whatever their past experiences that with the right dentist, it doesn't have to be painful at all and it never really did for the latter half of the 20th Century. We've all just been going to the wrong dentists!

In the UK and USA I don't think people born from mid-1970s on should be experiencing 'painkiller free dentistry'..there's simply no excuse for it, especially as the modern LA kicks in more quickly...I remember being sent back to the waiting room in the 1970s.
 
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brit

brit

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Re: no painkiller dentistry - is the truth out there?

Given that my take on UK situation was that local anaesthetic was probably only routinely used for fillings in UK NHS from the 1970s onwards, it was interesting to find this thread on SciMed on the USA situation entitled 'Drilling without anaesthetic and with pain' .
http://groups.google.com/group/sci.med.dentistry/browse_thread/thread/24901e173b214692#
EXCERPTS FROM THREAD
INITIAL POST IN THREAD:
Steven L. wrote:
> I distinctly remember that when I was a child (before puberty), circa
> 1960, my dentist *never* gave me Novocaine or any sort of anesthetic
> prior to starting the drilling....
> I'm *NOT* making this up. This was the dentistry I received until the
> 1970s. When I got older and got a new dentist who gave me anesthetic, I
> remember being amazed: Dentistry didn't have to be excruciatingly
> painful after all! As a child, I had assumed that excruciating pain was
> just the way dentistry was supposed to be.
 Does any of this sound familiar to older folks here? Was anesthetic
> only started in the 1960s, or did it exist before that? Did
> old-fashioned dentists back then eschew anesthetic for their patients?
> Anybody else here just forego anesthetic and accept the pain of drilling
> as just part of the dentistry process?

ANSWER 1
I think the guy was just a sadist. I started having fillings when I was
perhaps 7 or 8, maybe earlier. I remember the shots hurting a lot, and
at some point I asked for NO novocaine/lidocaine, but rapidly changed my
mind. That was during the late 40s or early 50s.
>

ANSWER 2 I'm in my late fifties, and went to our family dentist throughout childhood
and my college years. I remember having Novocain for extractions. Don't
remember whether my dentist administered it when he filled cavities, but do
remember that drilling was always *extremely* painful, and that he would
continue in spite of my protestations. Needless to say, I absolutely hated
and feared my dental appointments.
After college, I delayed going to any dentist again until I broke a tooth in
the mid-70's and had to seek out a new dentist for a crown. Low and behold,
he gave me Novocain, and the process was not at all painful. When I
expressed my amazement, he looked at me oddly and said "It doesn't have to
hurt. If you enjoyed having it hurt, you'd be pretty strange, wouldn't
you?".
Since then I've encountered one dentist whose procedures consistently caused
me pain. He claimed he was "unable to get me numb." Needless to say, I don't
go to him any more, and my current dentist has no problem working on me
without causing me pain.
Pat McC.

Answer 3 The most interesting answer and from a dentist:
I recall that question being answered when I was in dental school in
the late 1960s.
One professor had been a dentist in the Army during World War II. His
take on the anesthetic question was based on his personal experiences
right before and after the war. Before the war, anesthetic was
available, but during those Depression years many people had little
money to spend. People would often seek the cheapest possible
treatment, and anesthetic cost money, so they would do without.
Even during the Depression some people had money, so they would choose
to have the numbing effects of Novocain, but that was not a universal
practice.
This old professor's take was that when most of the dentists in the
country were drafted into the Army and Navy for the duration of the
war, they all had to learn to do things the same way (that's the armed
services for you). Their dental clinics provided anesthetic, so
anesthetic was used. Regulations were followed.
After the war, millions of servicemen had been treated painlessly by
dentists, so they expected that level of service. Of course not
everyone had been drafted, so a good portion of the population still
had dental treatment without anesthetic. It was mostly a matter of
habit.
But after a few years, the older dentists gradually retired -- and
their Depression-era habits retired with them. Many younger dentists
were former armed forces dentists who had the habit of using
anesthetic for most fillings, so they continued that practice into the
1950s and 1960s. As time went by, the use of anesthetic came to be
expected by the public and the profession both. At least, that was the
experience of that professor, who had practiced dentistry both before
and after the war.
By the time I was in dental school in the 1960's, there was no
question that anesthetic would be used routinely in dental treatment.

- dentaldoc
 
B

brewer734

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hi just thought i would say when i went to the dentist as a child in the 90's i had 4 fillings and only once did i have the needles he just seemed to like to get you in and out as soon as possible and didn't seem to care if you were in pain or not it was always nearly there almost done there you didn't need the injection did you? he was very old (looked about 80!)so maybe he trained differently or something did they used to say if you can get away with it don't use anasthetic or something but then he never did like kids much he always spoke over yr head and would ask the nurse to ask you questions eg does the patient have any pain or discomfort then the nurse turns to you and repeats what he said !!

emma
 
brit

brit

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hi just thought i would say when i went to the dentist as a child in the 90's i had 4 fillings and only once did i have the needles he just seemed to like to get you in and out as soon as possible and didn't seem to care if you were in pain or not it was always nearly there almost done there you didn't need the injection did you? he was very old (looked about 80!)so maybe he trained differently or something did they used to say if you can get away with it don't use anasthetic or something but then he never did like kids much he always spoke over yr head and would ask the nurse to ask you questions eg does the patient have any pain or discomfort then the nurse turns to you and repeats what he said !!

emma
No wonder you have a phobia...most unusual treatment for UK 1990s- don't see why anyone would have gone back there personally. When I met my 'bad apple' in 1970s (non-UK trained and awful manner), I knew he was denying me something which was available as he'd given my Mum injections earlier the same day and she dropped me off and left me there believing she'd checked him out lol.
It wasn't the norm for that practice to do that to kids especially and all my subsequent experiences there over many years with different Associates were way better with no pain involved (bonjela etc).
 
B

brewer734

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hey brit
thats what happened to me too my dad went for a filling two days later and he happily used needle on him and my mum before that too very confusing !!

emma:)
 
brit

brit

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hey brit
thats what happened to me too my dad went for a filling two days later and he happily used needle on him and my mum before that too very confusing !!

emma:)
There used to be these dumb concepts (not particularly widespread) about how babies/kids don't feel pain the same as adults or that LA is bad for baby teeth.
There's also this outrageous idea that the delivery of the LA (i.e. the injection) is difficult in kids especially, so if you can get away without why not try?
That's why it's helpful to find a dentist with good LA technique so you never have to weigh up, the 'is the injection worse than the pain of going without?' thing.
My 4 year old had a dental LA and didn't even know he had had an injection as he was told to look at something pretty on the ceiling and it was done comfortably.
My 'bad apple' actually said 'did your last dentist give you injections?' Scared (he was horrid) 10 year old me 'Er I don't know'. 'Good we'll try without.....' and despite tears rolling down and arm clenching...no LA offered..he knew I was in pain and it was such a slow process....4 fillings...about an hour from start to finish....you did what adults said back then...and my previous dentist had been trustworthy - it was a shock to me to be let down by an adult and a dental nurse like that. I can think of no explanation other than 'he was a sadist'. He was enjoying it.
As to why it was done to you in 1990s, I have no idea...you could have complained..out of order. I don't suppose you voiced concerns to anyone though? Neither did I directly straightaway except to say 'I didn't like him'.
Also the actual insertion of fillings can be very uncomfortable (old amalgams I'm talking) if you are not numb....so it wasn't just the drilling which was painful - the whole thing was pretty traumatic.
 
B

brewer734

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hi brit
oh god yr bad apple sounds like a right piece of work!!! I wonder how many people had bad experiences like this and i think its really interesting how some people become totally phobic because of it and others it doesn't seem to bother them my grandad told me he had had enough of tooth ache at the grand old age of 27 and despite his dentist being known for being a bit of a butcher( this was 1960 ) he downed a bottle of whiskey staggered up to the dentists and told him to get rid of the lot!!!! the dentist did just that too and grandad says before that he had had loads of painful treatment and anesthetic was rarely used by this man especially for fillings and stuff he just used to say yr a man its fine ( he was 12 when the dentist first said this) i can't imagine anything more horrible knowing how much pain and suffering this man causes you and then heading off to see him anyway !!! some people turn phobic others just carry on its strange how we all react differently would love to know why this happens !!! My dad was also a victim of the dreaded school dentist at a young age doesn't remember what was done just being held down but he's not scared of the dentist!!
anyway
just contemplating
emma :)
 
brit

brit

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hi brit
oh god yr bad apple sounds like a right piece of work!!! I wonder how many people had bad experiences like this and i think its really interesting how some people become totally phobic because of it and others it doesn't seem to bother them my grandad told me he had had enough of tooth ache at the grand old age of 27 and despite his dentist being known for being a bit of a butcher( this was 1960 ) he downed a bottle of whiskey staggered up to the dentists and told him to get rid of the lot!!!! the dentist did just that too and grandad says before that he had had loads of painful treatment and anesthetic was rarely used by this man especially for fillings and stuff he just used to say yr a man its fine ( he was 12 when the dentist first said this) i can't imagine anything more horrible knowing how much pain and suffering this man causes you and then heading off to see him anyway !!! some people turn phobic others just carry on its strange how we all react differently would love to know why this happens !!! My dad was also a victim of the dreaded school dentist at a young age doesn't remember what was done just being held down but he's not scared of the dentist!!
anyway
just contemplating
emma :)
Yes it is interesting...I have never avoided dental care despite that experience (because I was a child and made to go - but also because I knew what had happened to me wasn't the norm even at the time - he was South African not UK trained - I think my experience was quite rare for UK at that time) ; but I must have retained an underlying dental anxiety as a result of it ; but happily for me, I had a stream (30 years worth) of good painfree experiences plus a nice orthodontist - so I didn't really realise how anxious or maybe how fussy I was about painfree care...until I suddenly had a bad painful experience while living abroad about 5 years ago as a very mature adult.
Your grandfather's stoic attitude is not uncommon in older people who simply had harder lives in many ways and probably he felt the only control he could take was having all his teeth out.
Now people are more used to medical care being painfree and caring...you would hope not too many would put up with such bad treatment. To assert your right to good care, you have to know what is possible...hence the power of the internet I suppose.

There were always caring practitioners around who were good with kids too - we tend to think it was all bad..it wasn't. As early as 1969 a friend of mine used the school dental clinic and got local for a filling and seemed to enjoy it. I know this happened because I went to her appt with her and her Mum; and the dentist (male) was really friendly and kind to me too. The UK school dental service was probably using local for fillings before private or NHS dentists in many geographical areas, just as it appears the USA military was.

The mean dentist I saw in 1972 had been replaced a mere 10 months later by someone else(also non-UK trained if I remember rightly but way nicer) who off his own bat went to the trouble of reassuring me there was nothing to be afraid of and who used bonjela numbing cream, lip waggling and gave me a painfree injection as a result...(I just wanted an injection to make the drilling painfree but a painfree injection was a lovely surprise)... I felt he 'cared for me' to the same extent as the other one 'had not cared'.....and he is probably the real reason I never had a full-blown phobia...he proved to me that the bad experience had been unnecessary and a one-off.
 
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O

orange

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No wonder you have a phobia...most unusual treatment for UK 1990s

Not that unsual ..I had the same problem around the same time, even late nineties...It was a nightmare... It wasn't in UK though..
 
T

tuffinr

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This thread is quite comforting - to know that I was not the only kid to suffer regular torture at the hands of brutal dentists in the 1960's to 70's. I know that my mother was given anaesthetic by the same dentists and to this day does not accept that the reason I would scream the place down was that I never had any anaesthetic until we went to a new New Zealander dentist when I was 16. I also mysteriously required between 2 and 4 fillings every 6 months as a child and go for years between fillings as an adult. I wish some of these idiots could be prosecuted. It was quite flagrant abuse of their position. It was only in my 40's that I started to overcome the phobia. It was a very traumatic experience as I must have had around twenty such fillings over a number of years. I think there were two or possibly three different dentists but the main one I recall was in Guildford in the late '60s
 
brit

brit

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This thread is quite comforting - to know that I was not the only kid to suffer regular torture at the hands of brutal dentists in the 1960's to 70's. I know that my mother was given anaesthetic by the same dentists and to this day does not accept that the reason I would scream the place down was that I never had any anaesthetic until we went to a new New Zealander dentist when I was 16. I also mysteriously required between 2 and 4 fillings every 6 months as a child and go for years between fillings as an adult. I wish some of these idiots could be prosecuted. It was quite flagrant abuse of their position. It was only in my 40's that I started to overcome the phobia. It was a very traumatic experience as I must have had around twenty such fillings over a number of years. I think there were two or possibly three different dentists but the main one I recall was in Guildford in the late '60s
It's funny your Mother is in such denial, because even if you had been given the local, it doesn't mean it necessarily worked :o. Anyhow the good news is, you know how to protect yourself from here on in, simply go to dentists who believe in providing comfortable care, whether private or NHS. No need to fear a root canal with the right dentist/endodontist.
 
B

Briany

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I had several fillings in 2nd teeth without anaesthetic and was the start of my fears. I learnt later that if I had a tooth out, I would get plenty of numbing and lots of sympathy from the nurse. So I would just say that a tooth was really aching badly and asked for it to be extracted. I told my brothers; one said that dentists were not paid for childrens treatment but the younger one was more helpful. He told me simply to demand an injection which I did and even then the dentist would start straight in drilling but at least I got numb towards the end of the treatment. My recent dentist told me he had fillings without anaesthetic and this was in 70s, late 80s. It was a factor in his decision to become a good dentist.
I remember a dental nurse telling me in 90s that fillings are not painful, only a sensation - guess she only had little surface fillings.
I still fear that awful intense pain which cannot be compared to any other I have experienced. Would suggest that the "men can stand it" comment is just to avoid the expense or trouble. I feel for all of you who experienced this unnecessary ordeal as children and I think doctors had the same attitude with sutures etc on children.
The result of this early cruelty is that I did not go to a dentist for 10 years, by which time I had a decayed wisdom tooth and two impacted, plus quite a few fillings needed. I really do hope that this attitude is in the past but I wonder.............:mad:
 
A

Anonymous222

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Wow reading this immediately brought back flash backs to the horrible treatment i had in the 90s by the dentist that I went to. I remember how uncomfortable the procedure was from start to finish. Up until I got a new dentist back in 2009, who was/is an amazing caring dentist i hated going to the dentist, and I still have anxiety when going to the dentist despite how awesome and caring the dentist I'm seeing now is. He uses LA and even tells me to tell him, if I can feel anything, which is pretty awesome.
 
S

Shadsie

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The sole painful experience I've had was by-accident... not enough novacaine in the right place, apparently, but the dentist's and assistant's horrible bedside manner just killed any chance of me finishing the process or seeing their office ever again. I don't take well to scolding or judgmental glares from people who've hurt me, even by mistake. Considering that I'm not entirely sane and the reaction I had, they are legitimately lucky that I did not physically hurt them. (I relate to the person above who said something about a "fist connecting with a face"). This thread is making me feel like a wimp. I think I would literally let myself get an infection and die over going to a dentist whom I knew was going to hurt me. (I mean that. I am less afraid of death than I am of excessive pain. I have had a couple of brushes with near-death in my time, so I know my reaction to the idea).

That said, I remember reading somewhere once (Cracked.com, I think) that actor Nicholas Cage had non-numbed dentistry done once as a form of method-acting. According to the story, he was in a role that required him to look like he'd been beaten / punched in the face, but he did not trust the makeup artists to get it right, and he needed to have some fillings done during that movie, so he asked his dentist not to numb him so he'd be nice and puffy for the takes the next day.... If this story is true... I mean... Nicholas Cage is all kinds of crazy.
 
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bahblah

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The first dentist I had did not use a painkiller -- this was 2009 - 2010 or so!. That's not what set off my fear -- I only started going to the dentist for the first time in my 20s. He was an older man and my dad went to him because he didn't use anesthesia so my dad recommended I go to him as well The cavities were pretty deep so it did hurt quite a bit. He eventually got shut down I think and I had to switch dentist. Both of the fillings he did had to be fixed he did such a bad job.
 
LenaD

LenaD

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I know it’s not fair what happened to you. A lot of dental disasters have happened to me. I’ve wallowed in them but it’s a lot armed me with a lot of knowledge. My child’s dentist knows that they need permission to do anything to them and I want a long discussion beforehand. I left a dentist for my daughter to go to a pediatric dentist to fill a cavity she had. The dentist that filled it was amazing and I was so happy we left. I know it’s not fair but sharing your experience and helping others not suffer helps me in knowing I didn’t go through this for nothing.
 
LenaD

LenaD

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To add to my story the first dentist said they weren’t going to numb my daughter and I said they were out of there mind. She was 5 as well.
 
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