Scared of emergency dentist appointment. What will they do?

M

matty007

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
28
#1
Hi everyone, I’m hoping somebody can give me some support.

Almost exactly a year ago, I had a filling come out of a molar, and at first it gave me no problems. Then about a week later I noticed sensitivity to cold, and a dull ache, not severe by any means, but there.

So I went to the Dentist and he said that I needed a crown. He said he could fill it but wasn’t certain it would be successful so wanted to crown it. At first I agreed, but once he told me it would be £450, I didn’t get it done. I didn’t have the money at the time. Instead of insisting on the filling and moving on, I left it with a view to getting the money for a crown (he said I could leave it for 2-3 months). But I never got it done.

Then about three days ago I noticed a dull ache in my tooth again, more severe than last time. Not debilitating, but quite noticeable. Strangely it seemed to be alleviated by biting down, and chewing food (something I noticed when I originally had it fillled it about five years ago). But on Saturday it became more intense and while chewing made it feel better at first, it suddenly became very sensitive to touch and biting. So it went from zero sensitivity to very sensitive.

I have been taking a combination of ibuprofen and paracetamol which has kept it nicely under control. And I have noticed the sensitivity has greatly reduced. I can touch it now without a sharp pain, and can chew (albeit softly) again.

I have booked a emergency appointment for tomorrow (I am scared stiff of getting a abscess) but I am absolutely terrified of going to it. A few years ago I got very used to going and my phobia basically vanished. Dental work was a doddle, and checkups showed no decay etc and I needed no work done. Going to the dentist was like visiting the barbers. But now I’ve let it slip, I’m terrified again.

I’m sorry for the long post but wanted to maybe get advice on what to expect? Do you think it requires root canal or even an extraction? Or could I still possibly get away with a filling?

The tooth while achy, is manageable with OTC meds and has never been sensitive to hot/cold, and still isn’t

I suppose I just want comfort that a filling
Is still possible ?. But I do remember the dentist saying when he filled it 5 years ago that it was very deep so I’m not sure.

Thanks
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
1,624
Location
Minneapolis, MN
#3
Matty007,


Well, today is the tomorrow ... so. just wanted to say you are seen and thought of and hope this all goes well and they take good care of you . Sounds like you had momentum going that was good, but I so understand once that momentum stops and you don't go for a while, its takes a while to build trust somewhere again and be comfortable especially going to a brand new place and an emergency place.

What I can say is my dentist works at an emergency place a few days a week and he has been the best I've ever had in gentleness and painfree great care, and....has given me the best 3 crowns in my mouth. so heres to hoping you get the same type of treatment.

I really hope they can help relieve pain and treat you very well. please let us know how it went.
 
M

matty007

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
28
#4
Hi everyone,

Just thought I’d update for those that are interested.

I went to the appointment absolutely anxious but the dentist was very very calming indeed and was caring. She lectured me about my Coca Cola habit that has caused me a few cavities, but during the exam she was very comforting indeed and seemed very experienced.

She looked at the tooth and remarked that there was an extensive cavity. She tested my tooth with cold and hot stimuli which had no response, so she suspected an infection. She took two Xrays. Both of which showed decay extremely close to the nerve. With one X-ray she commented that there was possibly the start of an infection/abscess. However the other X-ray seemed normal so she remarked that it’s just possibly nerve inflammation. She was 50/50 as to whether it was infected or just aggrivated.

She then used a very cold stimuli, which she described as like ice cream, to see if the tooth reacts. She did this three times. The first two times I felt nothing, the last time I felt the coolness, not very much, but felt it in the tooth.

Because of this she chose to go ahead with a filling, a composite one. It was very deep indeed and and she said it’s as close to the nerve as you can possibly get. I had two injections and despite it being a huge cavity, it was over fairly quickly. (Injections don’t actually bother me, it’s more the fear of the unknown)

However, I am now starting to get a little worried. Upon the injections wearing off, I had no pain and thought the treatment had been successful. However over the last hour I have been in gradually more pain again. A very similar pain to what I had before the treatment. A deep gnawing ache. Not horrendous, but certainly uncomfortable.

Could this possibly be just down to the deep filling procedure? Or is it what I fear most, a infection all along that will soon manifest into an abscess?

Would really appreciate some comforting and experienced words,

Thanks
 
Last edited:
grumpybear

grumpybear

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
114
#5
I had to get a deep filling in a molar last year. The cavity wasn't large, but just in a position that is very deep and close to the nerve. In fact, close enough that when my dentist drilled out the decayed tooth structure, she was able to see the nerve.

My dentist told me that because the decay is so near the nerve, it's only a matter of time that the nerve dies or start to die because of the trauma of the drilling this close to the nerve plus the likelihood that the bacteria from the decay has already travelled to the nerve beyond the site of the decay.

A deep filling may take awhile to settle down if it does at all. Personally, mine took close to 3 months to settle to an occasional ache every now and then. I remembered my tooth pain was quite bad, I had pain on chewing and pain that flares up from having cold and subsequently to hot foods/beverages that would eventually dull into an ache. Thankfully the pain was manageable with some ibuprofen. I would say just monitor and wait it out abit and go back to your dentist if the pain does not improve or gets worse.
 
M

matty007

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
28
#6
I had to get a deep filling in a molar last year. The cavity wasn't large, but just in a position that is very deep and close to the nerve. In fact, close enough that when my dentist drilled out the decayed tooth structure, she was able to see the nerve.

My dentist told me that because the decay is so near the nerve, it's only a matter of time that the nerve dies or start to die because of the trauma of the drilling this close to the nerve plus the likelihood that the bacteria from the decay has already travelled to the nerve beyond the site of the decay.

A deep filling may take awhile to settle down if it does at all. Personally, mine took close to 3 months to settle to an occasional ache every now and then. I remembered my tooth pain was quite bad, I had pain on chewing and pain that flares up from having cold and subsequently to hot foods/beverages that would eventually dull into an ache. Thankfully the pain was manageable with some ibuprofen. I would say just monitor and wait it out abit and go back to your dentist if the pain does not improve or gets worse.
Thanks for replying Grumpybear,

I must admit that I have been quite lucky with fillings. I had one virtually the same depth done a couple of years back and I didn't have any symptoms after. It cured it straight away. In fact, I've never had toothache after any filling which is why this one worries me slightly. Especially as the pain is pretty much exactly the same type of pain as before I had it filled.

I am not too much of a worrier and cavities and toothaches don't send me into fear typically. What I am worried about is infection/abscesses. My father suffered with them horribly and always said the pain was worse than breaking bones. Luckily I've escaped abscesses.

I was not worried at all today once I was in the chair until she mentioned a possible infection on the X-Ray. One X-Ray showed a slight anomaly, while the other was normal. I just can't get past the feeling that what if it is an infection and she's chosen to fill it and it's simply a ticking time bomb until I get an abscess? I must admit that my neck glands under my jaw on the side of the offending tooth are a little sore and tender.

Anyway, can manage with ibuprofen for the time being and see how it is in a couple of days.

Thanks again.
 
M

matty007

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
28
#7
Well the tooth is certainly still achy, but I have kept it at bay by taking a paracetamol. I get relief with just one so it's not a bad pain by any means, but still there if I don't take it regularly.

I do have a strong inkling that's it's somewhat infected and will require a root canal. Maybe wrong, but it's a feeling I get.

My next appointment isn't until March so really not sure if it's safe to leave it that long. However, I don't have the funds for root canal and/or crown now anyway.

I'm in a bit of a quandary with this particular tooth. On one hand, it's not bothering me too much and is reactive to pain medication. On the other hand, I have a suspicion it's a ticking time bomb and it's only a matter of time before it explodes and brings me extreme pain.

Not sure what to do. Advice from a dentist/experienced person would be appreciated.
 
Last edited:
M

Mugz

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
1,015
Location
Anywhere but "The Chair"
#8
Hi Matty,

Thank you for sharing info about your trip to the emergency dentist. I’ve never been so it was interesting to read. Happy to hear you were able to get away with a filling for the time being. I’m not a dentist but found myself in a similar situation. I had a cavity filled “as close to the nerve as you could get” according to my dentist. Took weeks for it to feel better and settle down but eventually it did and the filling worked great for about two years...then a big chunk of filling fell out.

Had I gone back in then and done the root canal I might have saved the tooth. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a handle on my fear and I waited 2 full years until I couldn’t take the pain and finally had the the root canal.
By then the tooth abscessed and we did another root canal and when it abscessed again I was told it had to come out. Lived with the abscess 3 more years before working up the nerve to have it extracted. All this to say, you’ll totally know if it is infected or abscessing and please don’t wait to get it treated should that be the case. I know it is hard not to fixate on the “what ifs” and every patient’s experience is different. I will keep my fingers crossed that your tooth settles down quickly and the filling does the trick.
 
M

matty007

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
28
#9
Hi everyone, I'm back.

Unfortunately my suspicions that my tooth was infected were indeed true. About a week ago I awoke with a very bitter taste in my mouth and my tooth was achy, again not severe, and very intermittent. But it was playing up, especially with pressure.

Fast forward to now and I have a very small lump on my gum in line with the offending tooth. I still have the slight bitter taste, but strangely I have no pain. I expected to be in agony, but no. Most likely the root has died, or it's possibly a gum abscess, not sure.

Anyway, have been trying to get an appointment but because I was honest and said it's giving me no pain, they suggested to simply rinse with salt water and it may clear it. Despite the fact I told them it was clearly infected and required attention. Root canal etc. Am I the only one that finds this shoddy? Just because it's giving me no pain, does not mean it's not seriously infected.

They also said that because my initial appointment a month ago was private (I just moved to the area and was not registered with them as NHS) I am not due to go on their books for NHS until my scheduled check up in March that the dentist booked after my emergency exam and filling ...and March is obviously way too long. So if they can see me, and they seem reluctant to do so, I would have to pay private. Which for root canal is quite costly. They seem to have no interest treating me because I'm not in agony, even though the tooth is clearly infected and a ticking time bomb. I even tried going directly to the office and making an appointment but they told me the same thing. Just rinse with salt water etc. They keep telling me to call 111 and take ibuprofen, which is all well and good, but that will not fix the problem, and I have stipulated on many occasions I have no pain, just a ticking infected tooth that is in need of root canal.

Really don't know what to do :( How long is it safe to leave a infection/abscess? I have a growth under the tooth in the gum, a spongy feeling to the tooth, a bitter taste and swollen neck glands.

Any advice would be welcome, and happy new year.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
1,645
#10
Hi Matty,

sorry to read about your situation, particularly about your office not wanting to even take a look at the tooth.. I am not a dentist, but have seen a lot of people who have had infections for quite a long time without problems (just think of people who haven't been to the dentist for many years and have several teeth that need root canal treatment). Not that I would advise anyone to ignore a tooth that needs treatment, just that not being able to get the treatment right now doesn't directly mean you will get troubles. Here is a post fro the FAQ section you might find helpful: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/threads/how-long-before-an-abscess-kills-you.24621/

I am wondering whether there are other possibilities for you to get some reassurance or an information about how long the tooth can wait. Would it be possible for you to get a short assessment of the situation privately (preferably at a different practice that would make you feel more welcome and be able to see you earlier) just to know how long it can wait? (just me brainstorming)

All the best wishes, keep us posted and may the tooth not prevent you from celebrating New Year
 
M

matty007

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
28
#11
Hi Matty,

sorry to read about your situation, particularly about your office not wanting to even take a look at the tooth.. I am not a dentist, but have seen a lot of people who have had infections for quite a long time without problems (just think of people who haven't been to the dentist for many years and have several teeth that need root canal treatment). Not that I would advise anyone to ignore a tooth that needs treatment, just that not being able to get the treatment right now doesn't directly mean you will get troubles. Here is a post fro the FAQ section you might find helpful: https://www.dentalfearcentral.org/forum/threads/how-long-before-an-abscess-kills-you.24621/

I am wondering whether there are other possibilities for you to get some reassurance or an information about how long the tooth can wait. Would it be possible for you to get a short assessment of the situation privately (preferably at a different practice that would make you feel more welcome and be able to see you earlier) just to know how long it can wait? (just me brainstorming)

All the best wishes, keep us posted and may the tooth not prevent you from celebrating New Year
Thank you so much for the reply Enarete. Especially the included link to the post put me at ease a bit.

I'm not really scared of severe infections to the brain etc, I am just more concerned that the tooth will become very weak and prone to breaking which would render an extraction the only option. I want to keep the tooth if possible. And the dentist a month ago stipulated that if the filling didn't settle, a root canal is viable.

I am rather mad it is so difficult to get an appointment, but may take heed of your advice and try a different practice. Unfortunately funds are limited currently, you know?

You have a fabulous new year and thanks again for the swift reply.
 
Dg6300

Dg6300

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 27, 2017
Messages
422
Location
US
#12
I don't have any advice, but I certainly send encouragement. It sounds like you are doing everything you should be.

Many times in life I've seen people who do just as you are: trying to do better, and then one thing after another goes wrong. I've also seen things turn around very quickly for them, at an unexpected moment, if they continue to be a good sport. Hang in there.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
4,938
#13
If it's a molar, you may be better off seeing an endodontist (specialist for root canal treatment) as their success rate tends to be quite a bit higher. Molars can have hard-to-find canals, and an endodontist has the benefit of an operating microscope and additional training in root canal treatment.

Some teeth are trickier than others (not just in terms of finding all the canals, but also things like how curved the roots are), so a consultation with an endodontist might provide you with some idea as to how challenging or straightforward the treatment might be, and what they expect the success rate to be.

Unfortunately, getting the actual root canal treatment done by an endodontist is rather pricey, but at least a consultation might give you some idea as to how to proceed and whether the tooth is likely to survive (and whether a general dentist would be able to do a good job).

Wishing you a wonderful new year and best of luck with the saving the tooth :fireworks:
 
M

MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
1,151
#14
I had a large abscess on my front upper tooth in October, that supposedly had been brewing for some time. I never had throbbing pain, just pain when pressure was applied to the tooth. Apparently a trauma to the tooth as a child (30 years prior) caused the tooth to slowly die.

I had a root canal and am currently waiting for healing, as the infection is apparently still lingering 3 months later (pressure pain, achy feeling still there).

The point I getting to is that I had a rather large abscess that created a large "void" in the bone around the root. When my dentist tested my tooth a few weeks ago, there was no mobility and the tooth was very stable.

I know that I would have anxiety also, about getting it treated right away, but I just wanted to let you know that your tooth is going to be fine. Could you call back and ask for antibiotics? Or even see a doctor to get some? I am in the U.S. so I know things work differently there.
 
M

matty007

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
28
#15
I had a large abscess on my front upper tooth in October, that supposedly had been brewing for some time. I never had throbbing pain, just pain when pressure was applied to the tooth. Apparently a trauma to the tooth as a child (30 years prior) caused the tooth to slowly die.

I had a root canal and am currently waiting for healing, as the infection is apparently still lingering 3 months later (pressure pain, achy feeling still there).

The point I getting to is that I had a rather large abscess that created a large "void" in the bone around the root. When my dentist tested my tooth a few weeks ago, there was no mobility and the tooth was very stable.

I know that I would have anxiety also, about getting it treated right away, but I just wanted to let you know that your tooth is going to be fine. Could you call back and ask for antibiotics? Or even see a doctor to get some? I am in the U.S. so I know things work differently there.
Hi, thank you for the reply.

I am still trying to get this dentist to see me. Every time I ask for an appointment they say they have none today and to call back tomorrow. They also seem to not be taking it seriously and expect me to be in extreme pain before they do anything.

Well, sometimes I am in pain. I get quite intense aching after waking from sleep, most likely due to the angle irritating the nerve. I do notice it subsides when I'm upright, and have taken ibuprofen. However, the tooth always feels spongy and can give me a jolt of pain when eating.

Strangely enough, the lump on my gum seems to have disappeared. Not sure if it's self draining?

I do also notice the tooth is more mobile than the others and I feel quite a bit of movement if I wiggle it from side to side.

I just wish they would book me a appointment and see me and not keep fobbing me off. Unfortunately it is the only dentist in my town that is seeing people. All the others are closed to new patients. I would go to another town to try and get an appointment, but funds are low due to Christmas and I really can't afford to pay £500+ for private. The tooth is a molar and I really don't want to lose it.
 
M

matty007

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
28
#16
I am rather concerned the tooth seems easier to move than the others. If I wiggle it from side to side I can feel it moving. Not really loose, but certainly looser than the others.

Is this common in infections?
 
M

matty007

Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2012
Messages
28
#17
Well after I said that the lump had disappeared, I now have quite a large inflamed gum under the problematic tooth. Very tender when I push it so almost certainly a abscess.

Couple that with the fact it's loose and I really need to get this seen to ASAP. But my dentist is just not playing ball.
 
M

MountainMama

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 1, 2018
Messages
1,151
#18
Well after I said that the lump had disappeared, I now have quite a large inflamed gum under the problematic tooth. Very tender when I push it so almost certainly a abscess.

Couple that with the fact it's loose and I really need to get this seen to ASAP. But my dentist is just not playing ball.
Honestly, if I were you, I would call back and say you have swelling and more intense pain. I know my dentist told me not to worry unless there was swelling or throbbing, but my original abscess did not have either.

Tell them you need an emergency appointment or at least a prescription for antibiotics.
 

Similar threads