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Sol's Journal

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thisisme

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Hi Sol! 👋

Trying to catch up on your journal. You sure have been through a lot. The hygienist giving you a hard time is one of my biggest fear, but you seemed to have handled it well. I’m glad you got an appointment at a new place, and yes, I don’t talk to anyone about my phobia because they laugh and said “it will be fine.” Like logically, I know that. I know I won’t die. I even though that I probably won’t experience much pain (if any) during any procedure, but I am afraid, it is hard for me, so let me be able to talk about my nervousness without feeling bad about myself.

I hope you have found yourself a wonderful new practice! I know as I was leaving mine, I nervously said, “thank you all for being so nice.” (I was the last patient. There was nobody else in there.) And they all just smiled, and said “Oh no, thank you for coming and choosing our practice.” Like honestly, it felt like I was checking out at a hotel. Haha. I hope your place is just as great! I’m sure it will be. 🙂 I couldn’t find the date of your appointment, but please let us know how it goes!
 
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frostgirl

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I've got my fingers crossed for you Sol, hoping you've found a good practice.

I'm sorry to hear that you friend wasn't caring about your feelings. I've also confined in someone in the past about getting nervous about going to the dentist. And they've reacted in an unsympathetic way.

We're all here for you, keep us posted!
 
Sol

Sol

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The appointment is Wednesday. There is a holiday Monday so I will just have to find something to keep myself busy that day.

Thank you all for the support. I'm glad I wrote some of this stuff out. Next step is just being able to be open about it in person.
 
Sol

Sol

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Did not sleep well last night. It was a combo of being worried about this and a test for a class. Passed the test today thankfully. After the test, taking a drink of water woke up my molar that has been sensitive on and off. Kind of like "Hey, remember that dentist appointment coming up?". :devilish:

Going to try to enjoy the rest of my day off and have some grilled hamburgers for Labor Day.
 
letsconnect

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All the best for tomorrow Sol :grouphug:.

Keeping my fingers crossed that they are everything you’re wishing for :clover:
 
Sol

Sol

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Not sure but I feel OK right now? Maybe I'm resigned to my fate. 🤨 Felt much worse on Sunday and Monday. On those days it was hard to stop thinking negatively about meeting the dentist. Today is more like thinking about prepping, like don't forget to bring the clicker in case I need it for a stop signal. Probably put too much pressure on myself to do this and now that its close to happening that is fading some. Really not sure how I will feel tomorrow. If it will feel like now or if the freezing will start at the office. 🥶

In the app I've been using for guided meditations it has a section for anxiety. Noticed that they have some that are meant to help with performance anxiety and anxiety related to flight. Where are the dental anxiety ones?!? Maybe its not a subject that is as appealing to market.

Also...more emojis! Yea! 😼🧙‍♀️🐶🐧🌮🎾🎠🇺🇸
 
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thisisme

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Not sure but I feel OK right now? Maybe I'm resigned to my fate. 🤨 Felt much worse on Sunday and Monday. On those days it was hard to stop thinking negatively about meeting the dentist.
This is a feeling I relate to. I’m pretty sure I’ve used the same phrase in a direct message on here. “Resigned to my fate.” It sure does feel that way. You will most likely feel the same tomorrow. I know with me, the first time after a 15+ year absence was the worst. The rest were basically just resigning to my fate. Haha. Let us know how it goes. I’m thinking about you!
 
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I've been thinking about you, Sol, and we'll all be with you in spirit. Sending positive thoughts to you!
 
Sol

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"I'll have to think about it..."

So...this is going to be a long ramble post, brace yourselves.

Setting up things for the day at work, I started to feel the worry. Not super bad but just uneasy. About two hours before the appointment I got a text reminding me the appointment was today. (Quite aware of that, thank you.) That made my hands sweat a bit but I was able to focus back on work until it was time to leave.

At the office, the office manager that I had spoken with before checked me in. They took a quick photo and scanned my insurance card. She commented on my wallet so I mentioned the shop I bought it at. That started a conversation with her and all the other ladies behind the desk about how much they liked that shop. Mentioned the business had gone bankrupt about a month ago and they were closing all the stores which they didn't know. It was a nice little conversation before sitting in the waiting room. Didn't wait too long before I was called back by one of the assistants. The dental chairs at this office have built in massagers in the back of the chair which was weird. Didn't really find that relaxing personally so asked them to turn it off after a few minutes.

First thing the assistant asked was if anything was bothering me so I told her about the molar that was being sensitive to cold on and off for the last few months (its really been like 6 months but po-tay-to, po-tah-to at this point). She took some notes and then said she would take my bite-wing xrays. They had the last set of complete xrays from the other dentist I had been seeing so at least they didn't have to do that today. The assistant took a couple extra xrays of the molar, #15. Next was getting a blood pressure reading. They had one of those wrist meters that auto inflates. It was taking awhile and I looked down at the number on the screen. Not joking, it said something like 270/90! Looked at the assistant and said there is no way this is right. She said sometimes it acts weird if its batteries are dying so doing it another way showed a 107/70 reading which is normal for me. After that, things were different from other past experiences with exams.

The assistant laid me back and marked down where there were fillings and my crown on a chart. Then she used floss to check how tight my teeth are together (already knew that they are fairly tight). Next part I'm not sure was necessary and can't recall this kind of test before but she said she was testing if my teeth were mobile. It wasn't painful or anything but just strange because I don't have bone loss or periodontal disease. The assistant left for a bit and then came back with the dentist in about 5-10 minutes.

Dentist said hello and straight away started asking about tooth #15. After that I think we had a few sentences about where I work, if I have any other health conditions/taking medications and then I was on my back. In the past, I remember going over these types of questionnaires one question at a time but it was very abbreviated discussion about anything on that form. I had marked 7 out of 10 about being nervous about this stuff but we didn't talk at all about that or some of the other things on the forms.

The dentist did the normal checks of things like bite, tissues, etc. After that they took photos of my teeth. Thank goodness they did not probe all my teeth since I was not able to say at some point that bothers me. They checked #15 and the ones next to it with the probe and tapping which was OK. Somewhere in the middle of this while they were setting up something the dentist said lets talk a little about things. He said overall things looked good and my teeth were in good shape. Very little plaque, no inflammation with my gums, but he "had to think a little bit more" about #15.

Next part was doing the gum charting, which the dentist handled. Mostly 2s and 3s with a few 4s. (I knew my hygienist was full of it when she keep telling me that there were 5s and 6s in some places and lots of bleeding. Good thing when she recommended more frequent cleanings she backed down when questioned about it.) It felt all rather fast so maybe I'm missing other details but I think you get the point about the exam.

After, the dentist sat me up we went over the xrays and some photos. Basically said there were some areas to watch with my gums (which was expected), that my teeth were good and he didn't really see them giving me issues going forward...with the exception of #15. This tooth has a large cavity in it. So much so that to keep it a root canal would be required. The dentist said the other option would be to extract the tooth (its angled a bit weird so I don't actually use it for chewing). Basically said in most cases they would advocate keeping teeth but I wouldn't miss this tooth. They would refer me to my oral surgeon to have it removed. The roots are curved a bit and the dentist didn't know if removing it would effect the impacted #16 or if both would need to be removed. Then he asked me what I thought or wanted to do. Took me a second to get my thoughts because I was not expecting this at all. I figured it was a cavity but not this bad.

The dentist showed me the xrays from last year and the cavity was there. (Last year I dont think anyone actually reviewed my xrays after they were taken. With the cavity being large I wonder how long it has been there and not addressed. Part of me thought the pain was related to my gums in that area because the hygienist would go on so much about it.) At least I was able to keep my head and ask about the root canal option, what might happen with the impacted tooth near by and what he would do in the same situation. He recommended going with the extraction since the cavity was large there would be a higher chance of root canal failing (pretty aware of how fun that can be from Mountainmama's posts). I agreed to go with the extraction option. He asked if I had other questions but really was blank at that point from everything else. Shook hands again and the dentist left.

The assistant and I talked a bit more after he left. She said if it was her she would have the tooth removed as well. Didn't make sense in her opinion to spend the time and money to keep it due to the shape its in. We talked a little more about setting up the referral. Said I would call to do it myself after they sent over the xrays (probably wait til next week to do that or the surgeons office will call me, they are usually on top of that stuff.) Spent a little time after that talking to the front desk. They werent sure how my insurance worked with covering cleanings. If it had to be exactly 6 months or longer before they would cover again so they said they would call me to set up an appointment later.

Now I feel like I have to think about things. I was hoping to get the cleaning done when I have time off in a couple weeks. Guess I will have to call my insurance to confirm if it has to be exactly 6 months or if its just "twice a year" that they cover and the time span isn't an issue. Also considering if I will have to cancel vacation time or wondering when I will be able schedule this stuff for the extraction. Oct/Nov/Dec are the busiest months at work so getting time off is annoying and those months I work overtime so I really don't want to work after surgery for 3-5 days at least.

Still really surprised how that all went. The appointment was about an hour or so. I don't feel awful about how things went but not super impressed either? Feel like the dentist was being straight with me but no real showing of TLC. Guess I was treated like someone with no fear. How little they know. So I don't know where this leaves me. It wasn't a bad experience but not what I was expecting at all.

TLDR: Did I find an "angel" dentist? No. Was the experience awful? No. Do I need work done on my molar? Yes.
 
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thisisme

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Wow, Sol! That sounds like a long day and it sounds like you have a lot to think about with molar #15. I wonder if you told them you were a phobic if they would have acted differently. I know I felt like all my convos with my dentist have been really brief, but the office as a whole just makes me comfortable. My dentist is kind but he’s just very zoned in on work, which I like because he just gets me in and out! Haha.

Second opinions are hard when you’re a phobic, but I find it odd he recommended an extraction over a root canal. I’m not a dentist, but if you could afford it, a root canal allows you to save your tooth. Also, I know it’s entirely possible for a tooth to need a root canal and not really hurt, but I wonder why he didn’t just try to fill it. I know my dentist told me how deep my cavity was and how a filling might not work but he would try it anyway. About a month in now and no issues. 🤞🏻 Maybe that’s not possible with all bad cavities?

It is worth asking on this forum, though. I know there’s some dentists on here.

If you weren’t 100% comfortable, you don’t have to go back, but I know it might be even harder finding another place. A lot to think about for sure.

In the meantime, well done! Give yourself a pat on the back and a nice treat. You’ve earned it! 🙂
 
Sol

Sol

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Thanks for the support thisisme. Just a couple things.

I wonder if you told them you were a phobic if they would have acted differently.
I did email before my appointment about being nervous/anxious, etc. Something must have gotten lost in the process or I wasn't a quavering mess so it didn't register with them. Felt rather relieved the first time I visited the dentist all those years ago, like you do now thisisme. But after the fact realized that I had not really addressed my fears and probably would have thought any place that did not treat me horribly was "wonderful". Not saying this is the same in your case, just that this is my experience with it. The dentist I've been seeing prior seems better at the small talk stuff so maybe that was why it was tolerable. Each dentist handles this stuff differently and personality is a factor so I guess I found someone who is just more to the point (but not in a rude way). It's not so much that I don't trust the new dentist, the experience was just different from what I expected or had in the past. Don't feel like he necessarily pushed me to have it removed. If I had wanted to try to keep it they probably would have referred me to an endodontist.

Second opinions are hard when you’re a phobic, but I find it odd he recommended an extraction over a root canal. I’m not a dentist, but if you could afford it, a root canal allows you to save your tooth. Also, I know it’s entirely possible for a tooth to need a root canal and not really hurt, but I wonder why he didn’t just try to fill it.
Mixed experiences with this. My tooth #30 has a crown and no root canal. The tooth was very decayed, it had turned gray but still had its normal shape. Initially, the dentist thought it might need a RTC but since I had no symptoms they decided to just crown the tooth and it has been fine for the last 6 years. This is a different situation. Since I'm having symptoms a RTC would probably be required because it looks like the decay has reached the root on the xray. The tooth already has a filling in it and is angled in a weird way thanks to my impacted wisdom teeth. Removing it will probably be better overall for the health of the tooth next to it since it will be easier to clean. The angle also makes it so that its not currently being used when I chew anyway.

Understand where you are coming from with the second opinion thing but that will basically be handled when I see my oral surgeon. Most likely, will have a consultation with them before anything actually happens. (Probably get to watch some silly video about extractions circa the 90's again. 😐) I trust the surgeon, he has been conservative in the past when recommending treatment. Figure he would be honest and tell me if it was a situation where I should try to keep it if that was the case. Not at all broken up about needing it removed, just more surprised that it was at that point (and now possibly needing the impacted tooth next to it removed as well). Reading enough about experiences here I think has helped with that, knowing that missing a molar (or three) is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
 
kitkat

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Just catching up on the posts. I think they may have approached you in the manner they did because you did not appear “phobic.” It sounds like you looked like you were coping with things well and they either forgot, never got your message to the dentist, or thought you were exaggerating in the email and didn’t need as much support. I had a similar experience with my “angel dentist” at the first appointment (but I didn’t tell them I was scared beforehand or during). She did not start giving me the extra TLC I needed until I had come back for fillings and was more obviously anxious. She was very formal, clinical, to the point, but also a bit cold in her initial approach with me but did a 180 when she realized how nervous I actually was. This of course isn’t the case with every dentist but it could be a possibility with yours.
 
krlovesherkids777

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Sol ,

Congrats for making it through this appointment !! Seems like you did really great , even though it wasn't the totally warm/fuzzy atmosphere , it was somehow anxious aware and not rude is good. You got through it and did it and all the credit to you! Glad there was a fun conversaton about the purses ahead of time to kind of make time go quick and keep mind off the dental, sound like the front desk crew are good at establishing friendly first contacts. Thinking about the massaging chairs , I know a few dentists who are anxious aware and try to really have all the relaxation gadgets and give a general feeling they care on a certain level about your comfort.. but maybe are not anxiety experts or go to a deeper level. Its nice they do this, but it does help to make it an atmosphere you feel open to discussing things on a deeper level about your anxiety.

I know I've had a dentist previous to the one that helped me ,stuck with him for nearly 10 years.. just because he wasn't traumatizing, he wasn't rude.. and he was painfree. We never discussed my anxiety, or my fears , and he wasn't much of a talk as you go, but would distract with the humor,I just got through the appts and he had me laughing in them which is good. didn't really get free of my anxiety per say, but it was the best dental experience to date. He was funny though , that is really what kept me coming back and he was nice to my kids. Unfortunately due to finanacial situation I couldn't see him anymore and had to get back on the road to finding a new dentist, which found a few more shaming and scary ones that led me to my angel dentist.. phew.. anyways.. I was really glad for this dentist Dr J we called him.. and actually my daughter still goes to him, she's 20 now and went back after she was 18 and . wanted to pick her own :).

Hope you can find a peaceful place of understanding and growing whether its with him until you find a place you can go deeper.. or... maybe it will grow deeper and more comfortable as you get to know one another. Maybe take little chances to discuss the anxiety and see how he responds each time hopefully getting better. Some dentists have more of a special knack and heart for anxiety and helping us through it in deeper ways.

I can say in order to build the trust and comfort I have had with my previous angel dentist. I really had to step outside my comfort zone alot.. asking him alot of questions and really telling him alot about my anxiety and specifics.. I have every belief in you that you are at the place to be able to do this too with whatever dentist you are with , to put yourself out there and discuss what needs be.. little chunks at a time. really gives great momentum at each appt.

I can say I am now in a place of that process myself as my dentist now is fairly new to me and though he knows I"m anxious and he is reassuring and shamefree, he doesn't know as much as the past dentist, it will come out as I learn to trust more and more.. He's a different person and personality than the last but very caring.

Whatever you do whether stick with this guy and see if things can deepen an give him a chance or try another that has different approach or feel, I really wish you to be so comfortable!! Sounds like you have a good oral surgeon who is honest so that is good.
 
Sol

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kitkat - What you said makes sense. My fear isn't visible usually, unless needles are involved. Also did not freeze like what happened in the past. I could think of questions and if needed I could have signaled. They didnt really give me an angle to talk about the fears at the start either so it would have felt weird talking about it after the exam part. Think my post about the appointment came out sounding more negative than intended. Combo of being tired and still processing all the stuff that happened. I plan on going back at least for a cleaning. Maybe I will find an "angel":innocent: hygienist to replace the rogue :devilish: (demon seems too strong a word) hygienist I've had for the last few years.

krlovesherkids777 - Glad someone has confidence in me to speak on my fears! That was the thing that was bothering me most about doing this and then it didn't happen. It's also hard for me to build relationships with dentists. Don't see them frequently enough. Just for a quick annual check, not for repeat appointments for treatments (hope I don't jinx myself saying that). Grew apart from the dentist I had been seeing because of that. He was good at small talk and that helped during the initial appointments but the small talk was rare for checkups. Kinda wonder now if those checkups were too rushed. They missed this cavity and my mom who also goes there was dealing with the "shocking" type pains on and off for over year before they finally referred her to an endo for treatment due to infection.


Thinking on the whole "angel" dentist idea. I had an angel dentist a long time ago but for w/e reason did not associate the term with him. Would credit him with being the reason that I don't have total meltdowns during appointments. Part of that story is in my original post from 2013 but it didn't go into a lot of detail. Maybe its worth writing out better this time.

Supposedly, my mom took me to see her dentist for my first appointment when I was three years old. I have no memory of this. Based on what she said, I refused to cooperate at all by keeping my mouth shut for the entire time. The dentist recommended trying again when I was older. (Keep in mind, I don't think the dentist did anything wrong here. My fears were probably already there thanks to my parents/family that have dental anxiety.)

To my mom, she thought I was being a spoiled child and had zero understanding that I was afraid. Not really sure why but she did not try to take me to the dentist again until I was 10 years old. Maybe she was waiting for me to ask to go? No idea what prompted her to want to take me but she took me to the dentist that my dad had been seeing. Not going to go into a lot of detail on this but it wasn't a good experience. Wasn't treated like someone who had never been to the dentist before, even though I told them this. During the appointment they said I had a cavity but thankfully they didn't treat it. My mom didn't like the place for some reason and decided she would wait and take me to see her dentist the next time I was due for a cleaning. Her dentist was about an hour drive away so that was why we tried with my dad's dentist first.

My mom's dentist was the same dentist that I saw when I was three. He was a fairly short and small guy. He was older with white hair and beard. Don't remember a ton of details about this appointment (or his name) but there was a different vibe with him. He talked to me, not down to me like my prior experience. The dentist explained things and did the "tell-show-do" stuff with the probe before using it the first time. (Sad that later bad appointments erased the confidence built in that.) Remember him saying how well I was doing, how brave I was. After the exam, a hygienist did my cleaning. Don't remember much about her but no bad memories. The dentist returned later and said he had spoken with my mom and asked about doing the filling today. She had agreed so he would be back in a bit to do the filling and wanted to know if I needed anything in the mean time. Told him that I didn't need anything so he again repeated that I was being very brave. (I'm not sure if there was an appointment cancellation that day so that's why they fit in me in, or they were afraid I wouldn't be back for another 7 years.) Give him a lot of credit for making the experience with getting the filling easy. (The needle phobia wasn't a thing yet...those experiences happened much later.) He explained things well and just had a positive attitude overall.

When they were done, they brought my mom back into the room. The dentist looked so short standing next to her and my mom is only 5'8". My mom said something kind of snarky like "Can you believe that is the same little girl you saw before?" I don't recall if he said anything but he just looked like he was beaming. It was easy to tell he liked his job and was proud of it. I only saw this dentist once, he retired and sold the practice to someone else, but he had a really profound impact on me. It at least gave me a base to work from, even though the experiences that came later were no where near the same level of care or compassion.
 
krlovesherkids777

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" Don't remember a ton of details about this appointment (or his name) but there was a different vibe with him. He talked to me, not down to me like my prior experience. The dentist explained things and did the "tell-show-do" stuff with the probe before using it the first time. (Sad that later bad appointments erased the confidence built in that.) Remember him saying how well I was doing, how brave I was. After the exam, a hygienist did my cleaning. Don't remember much about her but no bad memories. The dentist returned later and said he had spoken with my mom and asked about doing the filling today. She had agreed so he would be back in a bit to do the filling and wanted to know if I needed anything in the mean time. Told him that I didn't need anything so he again repeated that I was being very brave. (I'm not sure if there was an appointment cancellation that day so that's why they fit in me in, or they were afraid I wouldn't be back for another 7 years.) Give him a lot of credit for making the experience with getting the filling easy. (The needle phobia wasn't a thing yet...those experiences happened much later.) He explained things well and just had a positive attitude overall.

When they were done, they brought my mom back into the room. The dentist looked so short standing next to her and my mom is only 5'8". My mom said something kind of snarky like "Can you believe that is the same little girl you saw before?" I don't recall if he said anything but he just looked like he was beaming. It was easy to tell he liked his job and was proud of it "

Sol.. WOW... just WoW.. this is beautiful and he definately is an angel dentist.. just awesome he really was so kind and humble and gentle with you!! I wish all kids could have experiences like this.. !! Love this!! :perfect: :perfect:
 
kitkat

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Those brief encounters can definitely make a difference in my opinion. I had a similar experience. Just before finding my “angel dentist” my family had left an awful dental chain and we went to a small privately owned office but just for 1 visit. We only had a cleaning and exam and then could not return because of insurance changes which resulted in switching to my angel dentist. The dental chain (which I went to for years) had terrible hygienists...they weren’t ever mean, they just were not the least bit gentle and the cleanings were always painful..they seemed a little oblivious to the pain they were causing. They were nice enough in small talk so I don’t think they were bad people, they were just out of touch with patient comfort but I digress. Anyway, I had a considerable amount of anxiety about cleanings because of my previous dental chain experiences and was nervous about being in a new office. The first thing that I noticed in the waiting room was a sign hanging saying “We cater to cowards” which I found comforting even though the choice of words was a bit distasteful (coward has a real negative ring to it). Before the cleaning even started I gripped the chair to brace myself for what was coming next and the lovely hygienist took notice and stopped to reassure me that she wouldn’t hurt me. I remember being very caught off guard by the reassurance. It’s the first cleaning that I can remember feeling somewhat at ease and relaxed and she kept her word and did not hurt me. The dentist came in and he was very warm/friendly and equally gentle with his exam. I don’t know the name of the dentist or hygienist and I can’t even really recall the exact location of the office but I left there feeling positive about dentistry for the first time maybe, ever. I was so sad when I learned we could not go back there which may have caused me to be a bit more resistant about going to what would become my angel dentist 6 months later. Just that one encounter undid so many years of damage though and I would have happily returned to that office if I had been given the option.
 
Sol

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Lots of phone calls lately. Remember when that was the hard thing to do...
• Scheduled cleaning for the 25th. They said they would try to bump it up but I'm not counting on that happening.
• Cancelled cleaning with the old practice.
• Called up the OM's office about the referral. Have an appointment for consult on the 17th.

Not really worried about the consult. Suppose I'm at peace with having #15 removed and I trust the OM. Based on what the referring dentist said:
• Successful root canal unlikely
• If the root canal/crown did succeed, the tooth is at a weird angle (the biting surface is more or less facing my cheek/back of my mouth) which would make keeping it clean harder and most likely just be delaying the inevitable.
• Keeping the tooth could cause a similar in-between teeth cavity with the tooth next to it due to the angle and how it traps food. (Think the way he said it was "carbs" get trapped there which sounded a bit silly, guess they were trying to avoid the word "sugar".)

I've never had an erupted tooth removed before. Not sure if the OM will offer sedation (IV or inhalation) or not if that is the only tooth removed. I'm also unsure if impacted #16 will be involved. My gut says no since the OM has been so against touching that tooth in the past but maybe this will be different. It's been awhile since we talked about that tooth but I'm fairly sure he said the roots were likely in my sinuses so they may have to do something extra about that to fill the hole if #16 is removed (bone graft?). Hopefully only #15 needs to be dealt with. I'm thankful that I have decent insurance. Preventive stuff does not take away from my annual out of pocket maximum of $1500 so I still have the whole amount to put toward this, w/e the outcome.
 
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