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Scary: no anaesthetic!



Junior member
Apr 14, 2018
Hi, this is my first post.

To cut a long story short, my old dentist (lovely gentle lady) left my practice and someone else took over. At Easter I had to go to the emergency dentist for toothache and she did a quick root canal (just enough to get me by until I could visit my regular dentist) - by quick I mean 10 minutes. This week I went to the new one.

I explained my story, leaned back in the chair, opened my mouth and he immediately reached in and began drilling! I expected him to be about to examine my mouth or perhaps do the local. So I waved my arms frantically, then he stopped and I yelped a query about anaesthetic. He said I didn't need one because I had already had the nerve removed. I demanded an anaesthetic and he sighed heavily and complied. I felt I had to stay and complete the treatment because he had already started drilling. Otherwise I would have bolted, I think.

Anyway I got through it and escaped outside where I had a panic attack. I still have one more treatment to finish off. I don't want to go back. Apart from the above, the new dental nurse did not look at or speak to me the entire time. Also he gave me so much anaesthetic that it was still numb 8 hours later and took 2 days to return to full sensation.

I'm not great with dentists but I can cope mostly if the dentist is patient and reasonably gentle. In the last few years I have suffered from anxiety so going to the dentist usually gives me the shakes and I sweat a lot. It's not great but it could be worse.

My past experience of root canals has been a local for each session and I assumed that was the norm until treatment is completed. Is that correct? Or have I missed something?

Thanks for reading, sorry this has ended up so long!

Im so sorry to hear of what happened to you with this root canal. ugh.. This is hard enough without having to go to a new dentist or one you are less familiar with and especially if they are not senstive or do not have good chairside manner .

I personally have never heard of having a root canal done without anesthetic though I did have one dentist who was cheaper with it and said It is ok I feel pain that is normal and they can only give me so much. He didn't give me nearly what my others did and I never went back either.

It is so important that they are concerned about our comfort level and us as a person and our experiences and fears.. This can be a huge healing in any patient who has dental fear. It is the one reason I can do any type of dental work because I know without a shadow of a doubt my dentist cares about my pain/comfort level and is constantly checking in with me and reading body language signs of discomfort. I swear he is a mind reader.. He's just that in tune and compassionate.. You deserve this too!! Can you find someone to finish that you feel more comfortable with or just have a really kind conversation with them sharing your fears will maybe bring down some of their defenses about treating you when you are scared.. but if they continue to treat you as if your thoughts and feelings or experiences don't matter it will likely traumatie you more.

I hope you find someone that will be sensitive and kind and can get this taken care of. Don't ever feel bad for your anxiety or reacting, this is so normal and alot of us do it.. we just need dentists who have patience and compassion to help us through.

Wishing you the best...
My past experience of root canals has been a local for each session and I assumed that was the norm until treatment is completed. Is that correct? Or have I missed something?

Thanks for reading, sorry this has ended up so long!

You are correct, he is an idiot...do not go back. If at all possible, find an endodontic specialist...doesn't sound like he bothered with a rubber dam either.
I absolutely second krlovesherkids777 and brit and would just add a part about informed consent: any dentist should first explain to you what he/she would like to do and how he/she would like to do it and ask you if you are ok with that and if you have questions. He/she is legally not allowed to start before you agreed and you cannot agree before you have all information.

Your story sounds like he started right away and didn't discuss anything with you which is only another reason not to come back..
I would have been upset as well, because I want to be numb or sedated to the point that I'm not aware of what's going on. Several times for dental work I have been given IV sedation which seems to be a much better choice for me than just numbing my mouth, particularly if it's going to be a long procedure such as a root canal.

I would look for another dentist, and have a discussion before any work is started about your fears and dislikes. Many dentists can easily sedate you so you aren't really aware of what they are doing. :)
Thankyou everyone for your kind replies, sorry it has taken so long to respond but I didn't receive any notifications (probably done something wrong in the settings, I am new here!)

I have made an appointment with a different dentist for obvious reasons! I am glad my gut feeling was correct and he wasn't being professional (or humane!) Fully intend to have a good chat with new dentist before any work is carried out. And no, the horrid dentist did not use a dental dam.

It's late here but I may write a longer reply once I've slept.