On the NHS waiting list - looking for advice (UK)

T

Tom10

Junior member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
3
Hi all :)

This will probably be quite a long post so please bear with me!

Years of alcoholism have left my teeth in a pretty sorry state. Thankfully, I'm 371 days sober and on the road to recovery. Needless to say this had caused my general anxiety to surrounding the dentist to skyrocket, and by the time I mustered up the courage to contact a dentist in 2016 it had been almost 8 years since my last visit as a teenager.

I was told that while I did have quite a few cavities, my diet (read: alcohol consumption) needed to be addressed before he was willing to do any work. So I had a couple of follow up appointments and, finally, we arranged for the work for to be started at the beginning of 2017.

Then my retina detached. Cue two and a half years of more-or-less successive eye surgeries and medication (which, causing dry mouth, exacerbated my existing cavities) during which dental work was placed firmly on the back burner.

Post surgery and now blind in my left eye, it took me another six or seven months to once again gather my courage and get back in the chair. During this time my lower left first molar, which had been badly chipped for years, broke in half. My next appointment was January 2020, a month before I was scheduled to leave the country for 4 months. I was told that the broken molar would need extracting but that my dentist couldn't fit me in before I left, so he prescribed me a course of antibiotics to take with me as a precautionary measure and scheduled an extraction for July 2020. This dentist, however, was extremely rude and condescending towards me, making a lot of passive-aggressive comments about my then-ongoing struggle with alcoholism. At this point I resolved to have him extract my tooth and then find another dentist with a better bedside manner.

Of course, the extraction didn't happen due to COVID. The appointment was cancelled and never rescheduled, and I stupidly let my fear get the better of me and kept telling myself 'It's fine, it's okay, I'll contact them tomorrow.' And tomorrow became the next day, and the next, and by now I'm no longer on their register.

Which brings me to last month, when the broken molar began to hurt. A LOT. I immediately started the course of antibiotics and arranged an emergency appointment at my nearest practice, where, after having quite a severe panic attack in the waiting room, I was referred to an NHS sedation clinic to have the tooth extracted. The soonest appointment they could offer me was October, but, touch wood, the antibiotics seem to have cleared up the infection. I can't say enough about that practice, they were beyond patient with me and really calmed a lot of my fears, and I'm now on their waiting list as an NHS patient with an approximate waiting time of nine to ten months. Unfortunately private treatment is completely out of my price range, so all I can do is wait to become an NHS patient.

So, my question is: what should I be doing in the meantime to keep my oral health in the best shape? For context I have four upper teeth with decay along the gumline, including quite a large cavity on my upper right incisor, as well as cavities at the gumline on three or four of my lower teeth. This and a chipped lower right first molar from a cycling accident eight or nine years ago that can be a bit sensitive at times. Currently I'm brushing three times a day with an Oral-B electric toothbrush, flossing morning and night and using Corsodyl Daily Mouthwash in the middle of the day. I'll do a salt water rinse two or three times a week too.

I'm aware this comes off as more of a general dentistry type of question, but I'm posting it on this forum because of the sheer amount of anxiety dentistry causes me and I'm hoping that by speaking to some like-minded folks I'll be able to keep the fear from burrowing in too deeply over the coming months.

Thanks in advance everyone and sorry for the slightly digressive and rambling post!

Edit: just to say that actually having typed this out I already feel good, better than I did before, like part of the weight's been lifted off my shoulders by sharing it.
 
Last edited:
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
2,966
Tom10,

:welcome: To the forum ! We are glad you are hear! You really are in the right spot.. I'm sorry about your dental experiences. being rude and condescending.. it just not what any dental patient needs. Our lives are not for them to judge they are there to help with our dental work and treat us with kindness and respect as patients. But I know many don't.. I've had very rude and condescending experiences as well and its quite discouraging.

and REally GREAT for you and all the credit for your work on staying sober! Thats huge!! It also sounds you are doing great on your oral care and doing everything you can to head in the right direction dentally and otherwise.. and yes.. doesn't it feel great to just write all this.. Never worry about rambling here.. as a matter a fact.. that is what our journals are for.. :). Then we can go back and read later and see how far we've come !

Sorry your dental got put off due to Covid.. alot of us are in that same boat too myself included.. hopefully you can get in soon as possible maybe a way will be made? mostly I hope you find some good kind compassionate care . that will not be rude and condescending but encouraging and gentle and helpful!

You are doing awesome! Keep on here whenever you want to talk about your dental. Its a great community of support!
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,554
Hi Tom10 and :welcome:! Congratulations on your recovery and on not giving up and finding a friendly NHS practice, despite your bad earlier experience.

So, my question is: what should I be doing in the meantime to keep my oral health in the best shape? For context I have four upper teeth with decay along the gumline, including quite a large cavity on my upper right incisor, as well as cavities at the gumline on three or four of my lower teeth. This and a chipped lower right first molar from a cycling accident eight or nine years ago that can be a bit sensitive at times. Currently I'm brushing three times a day with an Oral-B electric toothbrush, flossing morning and night and using Corsodyl Daily Mouthwash in the middle of the day. I'll do a salt water rinse two or three times a week too.

It's a really common misconception that decay is caused by a lack of oral hygiene, but in reality, the biggest factor is diet. Or more specifically, the frequency of sugar intake. We've had a similar thread the other day which contains lots of info:


We've also got a page with tips for healthier gums here:


Hopefully, the antibiotics will see you through until October (if you're available at short notice, it might be worth asking if the NHS sedation clinic can let you know if there's a cancellation?). It's a pity there's such a long wait for becoming an NHS patient.

Keeping my fingers crossed that things happen more quickly than expected 🤞
 
T

Tom10

Junior member
Joined
Jun 18, 2021
Messages
3
Thanks guys for the warm welcome and words of encouragement! It certainly helps to be able to be open about my dental problems, as opposed to keeping them quiet like I do with everyone else :)

Hopefully, the antibiotics will see you through until October (if you're available at short notice, it might be worth asking if the NHS sedation clinic can let you know if there's a cancellation?). It's a pity there's such a long wait for becoming an NHS patient.

Keeping my fingers crossed that things happen more quickly than expected 🤞

Good suggestion, letsconnect, but unfortunately it was quite difficult for me to arrange to be accompanied for the current appointment - I'm not sure I'd be able to pull it off at short notice, as my mum/partner/friends would all most likely need to arrange a day off in advance. So far so good though, pain wise: I've not heard anything from it. Keeping up with the salt water mouth rinses three or four times a week to prevent any incipient infections.

But the good news is that my waiting time to become an NHS patient was in fact eight months as of the middle of May, so it's getting closer every day! Obviously I'm still moderately terrified but also dare I say slightly excited to finally get everything fixed.

Thank you for the links, too! I'll have a read of them tomorrow morning 👍 (need to apply for my postgraduate student loan tonight 😦)
 
Top