• Dental Phobia Support

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Save a tooth or extract it?



Junior member
Jun 18, 2015
USA - New England
I'm new to this site. I've a tooth with recurrent decay. They may not be able to remove all the decay which would then need a root canal, plus a post, oral surgery to remove excess tissue and a crown. I'm tempted to have it removed because I can't take all the drilling and the possibility of them not being able to remove all the decay under the current filling. Plus the filling could crack or fracture. So, I'm considering having it extracted under IV sedation. I've had a wisdom tooth removed this way at a hospital (oral surgery dept) and it wasn't bad. I felt nothing and remembered nothing. But the thought of going through all that drilling is keeping me up at night and my appetite has become poor or irregular. I am dental phobic. My mind really goes out of control thinking about all sorts of scenarios. The anxiety is really bad. It raises my blood pressure. I have tried all sorts of therapies in the past and none have worked including hypnotherapy, NLP, NAC, cognitive and behavioral therapy, relaxation and anti-anxiety medications. I do take Zanax for dental procedures and that does help. But I don't take it regularly before appointments but definitely feel like I could use it. So, I'm thinking I'm going to have the tooth removed. But some people advise me against that claiming spacing and drifting problems could happen. I've seen plenty of younger guys with missing teeth and they are a lot younger than me.
Do what you think is best. When in doubt, get a second opinion. If your anxiety is high, getting a simple extraction would probably be better than the 3-4 appointments needed for the crown. Like you said, getting completely put out would be painless and you wouldn't remember a thing.

I have read a few scientific journals that call B.S on the spacing issue. Plenty of people naturally have a fair amount of spacing and it causes no issue. There are also many (more than you would think) people who are born without a adult tooth in a certain place or lose an adult tooth early on - they never have any issues. I see it as a money making scheme. It is similar to the lie that dentist say that wisdom teeth cause shifting teeth if left in - when this has been proven false in studies. That being said, I am no dentist.

I have a baby tooth. My temporary dentist mentioned a post and crown when it eventually falls out (or if it does) - I said no thanks.

However, you should be getting cleanings if possible - every 6 months, too. It will help you to avoid future issues, like receding gums, decays, etc.

EDIT: Also wanted to ask, How much are you willing to spend? My father recently got a filling, a temp crown, and the finally a crown - it cost nearly $4,000 for one tooth. He had to see a specialist. He chose to save the tooth because money isn't an issue and dental phobia is not something he suffers from. Luckily, we have dental insurance that covered it 100%.
Hi :welcome: to the forum.

I would save a tooth if possible, a root canal treatment is not to be feared. They will make sure you are very numb, the drilling lasts for a couple of minutes. They use hand files to clean the canals of the tooth out. It is a very calm and quiet procedure. Once you are numb they will attach a dental dam to the tooth, this is a frame that is clipped onto the tooth then a small rubber sheet is put onto it. It is sealed around the tooth to be rct'd. This is totally pain free you can still breath and swallow as normal. A lot of people fear these thinking that they won't be able to breath but you can. They usually put a temp filling in as it is common for this to be done over two appointments. It can be done in one. Through the appointment they will take an x ray to check that they have removed all of the roots. If at any time you feel you need a break they can remove the dam with a flick of the hand and it is removed in a second. Please don't fear a rct they are much easier than having a regular filling.

I was afraid of everything dental and couldn't walk past a dental practice without feeling sick and having a panic attack. I never thought I would be able to sit through a rct but I did twice over the last couple of years.

It is always best to try and keep your own teeth if possible but it is your choice to make. If you gave it a try if you found it to be too much for you they can always remove the tooth as you will be numb.

All the best to you :butterfly:
Agree with Carole try to save tooth/teeth where possible. I had a root canal done in 2006 and don't remember much of it, even though I was not sedated. I know it important to save teeth fixed them etc.
I've had 4 RCTs and agree with everything Carole said.