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Questions on how my visits might go (broken teeth)

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RayH

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Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
3
I am very happy to have found this site. I had several bad experiences with dentists when I was a child and early teen, and I have been so afraid that I have not seen a dentist in roughly ten years. In fact my last visit was pretty much an emergency visit to have a specific tooth pulled that caused a lot of pain. It made the dentist nervous who then sent me to an oral surgeon. The tooth broke into several pieces during removal, and it was so difficult to remove the tooth that he had to cut my gum open and then sow it back together when he was done. While a bit on the insensitive side, he did numb me for the work, but it helped very little, and I was in pain throughout the procedure.

It's now been almost 10 years later. Since then I met my wife and become married, and while very frustrated with me she's been very strong in pushing me to brush regularly. I know brush at least every morning and about half of the nights before I go to bed (I fall asleep on the couch watching TV a lot and then stumble into bed early in the morning). Thanks to her, I feel that my very front teeth (those visible when I smile) are in relatively good shape and will only need a little work.

Here are my questions: I have 5 cracked/broken teeth, all of which are now basically down to the gum line, and I'm most terrified about the work done on them than anything else. It seems that no matter what is used to numb the areas, I still feel a lot of pressure and ultimately pain. I found a dentist that is nearby that I want to schedule with, but will they be able to remove the remainder of these teeth for me? Will they have to send me to an oral surgeon automatically? I could care less what they need to do, as long as they care for my fears while they do it. I'd personally like to be sedated but would tough it out in order to avoid the oral surgeon. Is this something that can be done (even if they have to cut my gums) by a regular dentist these days?

My other questions are, will I need to automatically sit through a cleaning in order to get my one tooth worked on in my first visit? In addition, how easy is it to break down my work into stages, as far as removing the broken teeth first, and then performing implants (or whatever is best) afterwards? Can it be done over months or does it need to be done rather rapidly?

All of my broken teeth (down to the gumline) are all near the back and I'm not afraid of going without teeth back there for a short time, I just want to take this step by step and work through my fears and maybe some payments depending on how expensive all of this will be.

Thanks in advance for your help. I'm TERRIFIED of all of this, and your answers would help incredibly towards getting the courage to call and make an appointment.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,759
Re: Questions on how my visits might go (broken te

Hi there :welcome:,

great to hear you're plucking up the courage to sort out your problems :respect:! I'm not sure I'll be able to answer all your questions, but here's my two cents worth:

RayH said:
I have 5 cracked/broken teeth, all of which are now basically down to the gum line, and I'm most terrified about the work done on them than anything else. It seems that no matter what is used to numb the areas, I still feel a lot of pressure and ultimately pain. I found a dentist that is nearby that I want to schedule with, but will they be able to remove the remainder of these teeth for me? Will they have to send me to an oral surgeon automatically? I could care less what they need to do, as long as they care for my fears while they do it. I'd personally like to be sedated but would tough it out in order to avoid the oral surgeon. Is this something that can be done (even if they have to cut my gums) by a regular dentist these days?

Are you in the US or in the UK? In the UK it would be normal for an "ordinary" dentist to do these things. In the US, an increasing number of dentists refer out anything they feel they can't do as well as someone who specializes in respective fields. But there are still plenty of all-rounders, so to speak, who will do this work. Usually, it's actually easier to remove badly broken teeth, because the crown of the tooth only gets in the way. Teeth are normally not "pulled" out, but instead, careful pressure is exerted on the roots, and broken down teeth are often the easiest to remove. Sedation - depends. Does the dentist you have in mind offer any? The three main types are nitrous oxide (inhalation) sedation, oral sedation, and IV sedation. So you'd have to check out what the dentist in question offers (sedation usually requires special training, and IV sedation can be relatively hard to get hold off in the US due to insurance reasons - insurance for dentists, that is).

My other questions are, will I need to automatically sit through a cleaning in order to get my one tooth worked on in my first visit?

Depends, different dentists have different policies on that one, but usually it's advisable to have a cleaning first to get rid of bugs and tartar. Unless it's an emergency appointment, the first visit does not involve any treatment (other than a cleaning, if you want it and your dentist does it him/herself). We usually recommend making the first appointment just for a chat, to see if you like and trust the dentist.


In addition, how easy is it to break down my work into stages, as far as removing the broken teeth first, and then performing implants (or whatever is best) afterwards? Can it be done over months or does it need to be done rather rapidly?

It can be spaced out, but you shouldn't leave implants for too long, because you can lose bone in the area where a tooth has been removed, and then you are more likely to need bone grafts to ensure there's enough bone for the implant. Also, implants are not always the best option for everyone, and there are various ways of replacing teeth. You would need to discuss all the various options and the pros and cons in your own case with your dentist, and then decide on which treatment option you feel happiest with.

Great to have you here, and if you have any more question, just ask :)!
 
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RayH

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Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
3
Re: Questions on how my visits might go (broken te

lets - thanks for the reply. I'm in the US (Pennsylvania). I'm relieved to hear that the roots "should" be easier to remove. I'm not sure why I got that backwards, I just remember the great difficulty that they had in reaching the roots for removal. However, maybe the cuts/stitches wouldn't even have happened with a better dentist?

Both of the dentists that I'm looking at are recommended here on your site:

Jerry Gordon of Bensalem, PA and XXXXX [moderator's note: deleted as no longer recommended]. I read on XXXXX's site that he does sedation, but I'm feeling more and more that it's the approach and care that is going to get me over the hurdle and not putting me to sleep. If I can be given something to relax, it would help a lot.

For the cleaning, I'm most scared of my sensitive teeth being picked at. Do the other tools really help that much? The two main teeth that are bothering me are very sensitive at the moment. I cannot eat something like steak without upsetting them at least to some degree.

As for the implants, I really haven't read enough about the different options. I will read more about my options, but if you know of specific good links, would you mind providing them? I already have spaces where 3 teeth used to be, so bone grafting might be a "must" but it sounds painful just saying it, and doesn't sound cheap either.

Thank you x1million for your replies, I've been a member of so many forums for so many years, yet I know that this one will make the biggest (and best) impact on my entire life.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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5,759
Re: Questions on how my visits might go (broken te

Hi Ray, I've gotta run off to work now, but I'll PM you later today when I've checked out some more details about dentists in PA.
 
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RayH

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Joined
May 8, 2006
Messages
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Re: Questions on how my visits might go (broken te

Recieved! Sent you back a reply. Thanks!
 
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Lady_Jane

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Joined
Aug 4, 2006
Messages
4
Re: Questions on how my visits might go (broken te

Hi Lets and Ray,

First of all, Ray, I hope you found a dentist you like and that your dental work is coming along smoothly, particularly those extractions. From what everyone here is saying, it seems like the extractions will actually be easier on the broken teeth, which is encouraging (I have a similar problem with one of my teeth).

I'm hoping one of you can share the info that Lets found about dentists in the Phila, PA area; I went to a dentist today for the first time in several years for a consult but I'm not totally convinced he's perfect for me. But then again, I clammed up as soon as I walked in the door and heard the suction machine being used on another patient, so I know I wasn't as communicative as I'd hoped to be. I basically told him that I was phobic and that's about it. I even had a list of my fears written down just in case I got too nervous--but I was too shy to show it to him! I showed him some old x-rays instead, even after he asked me what I had in my hand. I'm pretty disappointed in myself; I'm considering writing him an email to ask some questions I didn't get through during the visit. I'm also struggling with the cost of the root canals and extractions I need to have, and I'm considering pricing out some other dentists. Any suggestions you have will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Nat

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Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
764
Re: Questions on how my visits might go (broken te

Hi Lady Jane

I typed up the longest letter to my dentist after the first time we met, I wouldnt let him look in my mouth, I cried throughout the whole meeting but he totally understood me and my fears, the letter i typed up was to thank him for seeing me and to let him know that while I want him to treat me I am extremely scared to make the appointment, figured out that I didnt need to call and make it as he got his dental nurse to call me at home, she talked me through it, reassured me that he is the best dentist she has ever worked with and helped me make the appointment. It was the best decision I could have ever made and I am now finished with the treatment plan I was given by him. If you can get the courage to write the letter then please do, you may find that your dentist will understand your fears as well and that you will be able to make the next step with the help and support from the dentist and their staff. I cant comment on the pricing as I am in the uK and all our treaments are covered by one charge but I am sure someone else will be able to help you on that. Good luck :XXLhug:
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,759
Re: Questions on how my visits might go (broken te

Hi there :)

Lady Jane said:
I'm hoping one of you can share the info that Lets found about dentists in the Phila, PA area; I went to a dentist today for the first time in several years for a consult but I'm not totally convinced he's perfect for me.

I actually ended up recommending someone who isn't on the list to Ray (hoping it worked out well for him - Ray if you're ever checking back, let me know...).
Bear in mind that a dentist that is right for one person isn't necessarily right for another person.

Did you try one of the dentists on the list, or someone different?

It's really important that you let your dentist know about your fear upfront and don't gloss over it. Some people find this relatively easy to do (for example, I was so terrified that there was absolutely no way I could've sat in the chair or not have had an obvious panic attack - self-control isn't one of my strengths, lol :p). But many people with a dental phobia find it exceedingly difficult or impossible to convey their fears in person, on the spot. This is why generally speaking, it's advisable to inform the dentist about your fears beforehand. This could be done via e-mail correspondence, via snail-mail, or over the phone.

If your dentist has an e-mail address, e-mailing him would be the easiest way of getting things going in the right direction (unless you felt uncomfortable with him or her). Explain what happened during the initial visit, how you were unable to communicate your fears, explain them in the letter, maybe explain how s/he could help or what you'd need to know from them in order to attend, and ask if they reckon they can help you.

I hope you're keeping well even though things didn't go exactly to plan. There are many people who eventually did manage to deal with their phobia even though their first experience didn't go well :) - even if it feels like a set-back right now, you can also view it as a valuable learning experience and figure out how to do things better from now on!
 
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Missie921

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Joined
Dec 2, 2006
Messages
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Re: Questions on how my visits might go (broken te

If anyone would like to suggest a good dentist in Philadelphia, I would really appreciate it. I am going to Penn's Landing Dental tomorrow. They were okay the 1st time i was there and hysterical, but he really didnt give me much info and I'm afraid he will be tight lipped for my appointment tomorrow and that scares the heck out of me. I NEED to know whats going on.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,759
Re: Questions on how my visits might go (broken te

Hi, have you let your dentist know that you want to know what's going on? Many dentists will be happy to talk you through procedures and provide you with information beforehand, but some people don't want to know what is going to happen/what's going on, so dentists can never be sure unless you tell them what suits you best.

Do you reckon it would help if you let your dentist know that you want him to talk you through things and explain to you in layman's terms what he's doing and what sensations you can expect to feel? I take it that you would also like some more information beforehand about what the procedure will involve?
 
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