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Teeth Issue causing extreme anxiety for past 15 months - Affecting my life.

T

toraflora

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May 8, 2019
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38
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Pasadena
Heads up, this might be long, but this has been something really affecting my mental health and every moment of my life (friendships, relationships, career, everything) for the past 15 months that has not been resolved.

In April of last year, I bit too hard on a cherry pit and cracked the pit open, and my canine tooth and the tooth behind it has felt weird after that. In following days, it felt painful when I bit down with those two teeth, and when I tried biting on my finger (to test it), it hurt when I released the bite, which was a strong indication of cracked teeth. I went to get it checked at dentist #1, and she made me bite on a bite stick (no pain then), and after an X-ray, we saw nothing.
This issue didn’t resolve as the toothache was still there, and the sensitivity just increased. I went to get it checked at my main dentist (dentist #2), who took an X-ray and did bite tests. He said he couldn’t see anything obvious, but there may or may not be a crack that we can’t clearly tell.

In the following month, the sensitivity was still there, and since, I’ve never chewed on the left side of the mouth with the affected teeth. I went abroad in China and it was causing a lot of anxiety — so much to the point where there wasn’t a single minute of my life during that vacation where I didn’t think about the tooth/teeth. So I went to a hospital in China, where the dentist there couldn’t identify anything obvious and did some laser thing to apparently help with the sensitivity.

One month later, I still never got over the problem. I was so fed up mentally and went to an endodontist to get it checked. He used a microscope, did some probing/hitting of the teeth, used something really cold to test sensitivity, and found no obvious signs. He recommended Sensodyne and said it should be gone in a few weeks.

Then I went to college and the ache was still there. The pain was never unbearable, it’s just uncomfortable and still never chewed on the left side (to this day). I’m still so convinced it is a crack, but because I visited so many dentists (there could have been 2 more but so many I forgot) that I feel so hopeless in not finding an answer and using up all my family’s flexible spendings to get no answers. In January of this year, I went again to doctor #2 to get my teeth cleaned. He didn’t thoroughly check it but I mentioned the teeth to him and he just said there wasn’t anything wrong and “seems fine.” I never thought of it much because it was just annoying (and even though it was ALWAYS ON MY MIND, it never was too painful).

This is the situation right now. This past week, I’ve been getting mild headaches and I feel like the cheek or sinus (or maybe I’m just “hallucinating” like my parents are telling me) are uncomfortable/a bit painful in addition to getting toothaches again. I always found that wearing my retainers helps with the toothaches and makes it go away. I searched it up and freaked out - it doesn’t help that in addition to this really annoying problem, I have extremely bad anxiety when it comes to health and teeth. Honestly, there is not a single minute of my life spent without somewhat thinking or worrying about these teeth. For the PAST 15 MONTHS. I am a full-time college student and working part-time and I can’t afford to have this make me feel like this anymore. Sometimes when I get really anxious, I lose my appetite and cannot focus at all.

In addition to not having a clear solution, my parents have not been helpful. They keep saying that I have psychological issues (which might be true), but keep insisting that it is not a crack and I am making things up. They keep bringing up that I already went to over 4/5 different dentists and didn’t get an answer that it was a crack/something wrong, so there must not be anything wrong. No matter how much I voice my concern to them, they keep saying that I need to seek a psychologist.

LASTLY, people have been telling me a solution would be root canal/extraction. I may already seem like a freak from all I’ve said already, but getting a root canal will only add to my current anxiety. I have extreme fear over root canals (I already have one from 3/4 years ago) after going through a statistics course that implied that root canals could cause autoimmune disease/cancers down the line. I’ve heard arguments against this case, but some of the data is quite convincing. My statistics teacher told me that he went to a conference about this, and the speaker (after telling him he had issues with his gallbladder and some skin cancer on his right cheek) was able to immediately identify what tooth he had a root canal in, that was causing the issues—and he guessed correctly. Turns out some people I know have reported similar experiences. Having 1 root canal already causes enough anxiety for me — now adding on two more I’m afraid would be unbearable. It also doesn’t help that every single person I know with a root canal has either have it 1) fail eventually or 2) the person now has a cancer/autoimmune disease after a long period of time. I know correlation may not be causation, but this doesn’t prove it completely false either. (There’s also a banned Netflix documentary called Root Cause similar to this).

It just pains me to think that after visiting SO many dentists, I can’t find a SINGLE solution— it’s like either do nothing or just go HAM by getting a root canal or extraction. I don’t even know if I should visit a different dentist after visiting so many, and especially during COVID19 times too. I DON’T want this to get worse both health-wise and mentally, and as I am writing this right now, I am sobbing and shaking so much in fear.

I am so sorry for this HUGE amount of text, and thank you for listening to me. I don’t know what to do and I can’t seem to get over this horrific thing (maybe it’s not a big deal and I seem 100% psychotic but it’s REALLY harming my life right now) that’s been here for the last 15 months. Every single moment of my life. My relationships, friendships, interests, EVERYTHING has been completely wrecked by this stupid teeth issue. And I’m praying for a solution that’s not a root canal. I just don’t know what to do right now - I feel so helpless. I don't even know if I should keep another dentist - I don’t know where to find a new one, and even if I do, how do I tell him/her all this. I just don’t know what to do. And I’m scared I have a ticking time bomb.

TL:DR - Insane anxiety from potentially undiagnosed crack teeth and root canal fear for the past 15 months (that’s been taking a HUGE mental toll on me) and now it might have gotten worse and I can’t find a solution.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Hi toraflora, really sorry to hear that the situation is still ongoing and that you haven't found any relief.

I felt I had to jump in after what you said about that statistics course you did. You’ll want to have a very, VERY close look at where the dataset which was used originated from. I'm unaware of any legitimate large scale study on correlations between root canal treatment and cancer incidence. It would be even more surprising if scientists and dentists were blissfully unaware of such a study.

Your lecturer must have gotten that dataset from somewhere. Do you still have your notes? Is there any information provided about the sample? I'd be really interested, because we're planning on writing a page which debunks these myths. Obviously, there must be some legitimate source somewhere for this myth to persist, I just haven't found it yet... but perhaps we're getting closer :) ... The dataset must be very large if there are enough instances of root canal treatments for each individual tooth location that correlate with enough instances of all the different cancers that people may get. I've been looking for this dataset for ages, but no luck so far (this may change now - let me know!).

This may or may not be relevant, but when I was at university, I had a lecturer giving a course on society and health. One of the modules concerned the research of a guy called Hans J Eysenck, who did research on intelligence, personality, fatal diseases and the causes and effects of smoking. He published a book called "Smoking, Personality, and Stress". The book was based on some large scale peer-reviewed research, which (in a nutshell) found that it's the synergistic effect of smoking and stress that gives you cancer. Smoking without stress was safe. The research basically seemed to suggest that a personality variable ("passivity in the face of stressful stimulation from the outside") would increase both cancer risk, but also the likelihood of the person taking up smoking.

My lecturer (a senior academic) was absolutely convinced that this was true. So was I, after looking at the evidence (mind you, this was the 1990s).

Except it turns out it was all bogus:


---

My feel is that this whole root canal thing is also bogus.

But even if the tooth was cracked, most of the time cracked teeth don't need root canal treatment. There's an overview of treatment options here (written for dentists - but if you're interested in that sort of thing, it gives quite a good summary): https://www.nature.com/articles/sj.bdj.2010.496

Cracked teeth can be very difficult or impossible to diagnose because more often than not, nothing shows up on the x-rays. And unless there are some definite pointers (clear-cut symptoms) that it really is a cracked tooth, dentists will be very reluctant to go in experimentally. So you can be caught between a rock and a hard place unless the symptoms worsen.

Getting the help of a psychologist can be useful and doesn't mean it's all in your head. But a psychologist may be able to help you deal with the situation better, and even just talking about it can be helpful (of course, you can vent as much as you like here as well, but it probably can't replace the one-on-one attention a psychologist could provide!)

:grouphug:
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Hi toraflora,

sorry to read how much is going on currently. It's impressive that you are able to keep your studies and even working part time with all this paralyzing anxiety.

I second what @letsconnect said and would like to also mention topics such as publication bias, Type I and II error and how a study can't confirm or reject a theory / hypothesis but only informs us about how surprising the found data are if the hypothesis were true or not. No matter how convincing and clear data from a study look like, without replicating it many, many times (and getting data from all those publication trials, not only the positive ones) we cannot do much with it. And here comes the publication bias and the file drawer problem and you get the image (not going into details of those things as I'm pretty sure you have studied them too in your course). With this being said, I would be happy to see the study too.

Now, this post shouldn't be about whether root canals are damaging or not and fortunately, you are free to decide what kind of treatment you are happy to get or what kind you would like to avoid and that's ok, so this is more about how would you like to get the teeth treated.

From what you write I see two kind of things: the first one is the fact you are having pain in your tooth and no dentist can find a problem, which sounds frustrating.

The second issue is the fact that this pain - or better to say, the thoughts of this teeth and the anxiety around it - took over your life and keeps you busy 24/7. You mentioned several times that the pain is not even that huge and at the same time writing about it makes you shake and sob in fear. It also sounds like a lot of your worries are about what will happen in the future (ticking bomb). This doesn't have to be like this and it's the part of the problem, where a psychologist may be of help you. Not that they can take the discomfort away, but they can help you find a way to get back your life and to stop the crippling anxiety around it, if you are open to explore this option. This is why people with chronical pain or complex medical problems benefit from mental care help. Putting it together, I second @letsconnect again :)

I had a cracked molar and it was painful whenever I chew on that side. My dentist did all the tests you described and couldn't find the crack. He suggested trying out a filling and if that doesn't help, a root canal. On the day of the filling, he told me he was reluctant to put me through the distress of having a filling done and that all on a that doesn't have any visible problem and that he would prefer to just watch the tooth and only intervene if it things get worse. This was one year back and was fine for me as I trust my dentist blindly. I stopped chewing on that side and didn't think about it any further. Oddly enough, I caught myself chewing there few weeks ago and guess what? I have no pain whatsoever.

Hope you will be able to find some peace with this, be it by finding either a dentist or a mental health professional who can help.

As usually, feel free to vent here and do keep us posted.
:grouphug:
 
T

toraflora

Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Pasadena
Thank you both for being so understanding. I will post the info about the root canal if I can find it (since the class was from over a year ago).

Right now, I just feel so lost. No one around me understands the pain I'm going through, and I guess I can understand why people think this is melodramatic because they think teeth issues aren't a big deal, especially when there's a lot of things going on in this world that's much more intense.

But the issue is I've had this problem for 15 months. It's affecting me mentally (if not physically) 24/7 and it's just eating me out the fact that I can't find a solid solution. Many people are telling me just leave it alone and wait (which I have been doing for 15 months) or just simply get a root canal and extraction and suck it up. I just wish people understand that it's not that easy for me, and even if root canal is an option, I know it will have longterm psychological affects on me.

I'm annoyed at myself for being like this, but I can't help it. I wish I could not worry, I wish I couldn't not bitten on that cherry pit, I wish I could change everything but I just can't. Worst part is I'm still so young (20) and I'm afraid this will only continue to be a burden on me later on if I don't fix it now.

I don't even know what kind of dental specialist I should see for this because I've been to over 4 different dentists and an endodontist, all not saying they can identify anything. I'm scared waiting this out will have long-term permanent effects on me. It's just painful to think that there is no middle-ground solution to not doing anything or just get a root canal/extraction.

I had a huge argument again with my parents about this (they think I have a mental issue) and I'm feeling depressed once again. I don't know what to do.
 
T

toraflora

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May 8, 2019
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Location
Pasadena
@letsconnect @Enarete

Also, my friend sent over this: https://www.ericdavisdental.com/ser...ervices-we-dont-provide/root-canal-treatment/

I guess another big fear is getting a RCT at such a young age, wouldn't it give more time for an infection to fester overtime? They call it a "ticking time bomb," but also I don't know because I would have to get 2 if these teeth do require RCT, making me have 3 root canals already at the age of 20 :cry:

Also if anyone has articles or stories to help disprove that root canals could be dangerous, please send them my way!
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Hi toraflora,

sounds like people in your surroundings are not very understanding or approving. You must feel so alone with this and I see how what is going on makes you expect things going worse for you mentally and physically in the future. Having arguments with your parents probably doesn't help either. I see how this all makes you feel depressed.

Thanks for posting that link. I haven't looked at it yet, but was wondering, what makes you put so much effort into finding the "truth" about root canals. And why would a friend of you put effort into providing you with "evidence" for what makes you feel fearful and hopeless anyway? Being familiar with statistics and how research works, you are probably clear about the fact that you can't disprove that something is damaging or prove that it's not. An interesting question may be what kind of material do you think may convince you (not that I would try to do). Again, you are free to chose another treatment than root canal treatment if that is what makes you worry. I see the frustration about those past dentists and not getting the answers you wish for, or not being happy with the options you have, but you always only can work with what is available. The question then is where would you like to go from there.

I don't even know what kind of dental specialist I should see for this because I've been to over 4 different dentists and an endodontist, all not saying they can identify anything. I'm scared waiting this out will have long-term permanent effects on me.
May I ask you what do you mean by long-term permanent effects on you? What do you think will happen?

All the best wishes
 
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T

toraflora

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May 8, 2019
Messages
38
Location
Pasadena
Thank you for being so understanding! I've just had this mongering fear of root canals because of its possibility to be harmful (my endodontist and orthodontist told me that getting them at this young age is not good for my health), and I don't know - perhaps some evidence to prove that it doesn't? My parents told me that if I have pain and they can't identify it (maybe an internal crack or something), then I'll just have to leave it alone or get a root canal or extraction. It's frustrating to think that the only alternative is 0 or 100, to do nothing or extract. I honestly think I'm probably annoying too for being so fearful, but I just don't know what to do :( I'm guessing my friends are sending these my way as a message of caution? unsure

I'm actually visiting a dentist I've been to in 2 hours to check on the condition (doesn't help that another 2 upper molar teeth have also been hurting the past 3 weeks) and I have so much to say but every time, I end up saying nothing because there's so much going on in my mind.

Hi toraflora,

sounds like people in your surroundings are not very understanding or approving. You must feel so alone with this and I see how what is going on makes you expect things going worse for you mentally and physically in the future. Having arguments with your parents probably doesn't help either. I see how this all makes you feel depressed.

Thanks for posting that link. I haven't looked at it yet, but was wondering, what makes you put so much effort into finding the "truth" about root canals. And why would a friend of you put effort into providing you with "evidence" for what makes you feel fearful and hopeless anyway? Being familiar with statistics and how research works, you are probably clear about the fact that you can't disprove that something is damaging or prove that it's not. An interesting question may be what kind of material do you think may convince you (not that I would try to do). Again, you are free to chose another treatment than root canal treatment if that is what makes you worry. I see the frustration about those past dentists and not getting the answers you wish for, or not being happy with the options you have, but you always only can work with what is available. The question then is where would you like to go from there.



May I ask you what do you mean by long-term permanent effects on you? What do you think will happen?

All the best wishes
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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Toraflora,

I know I haven't written on your post yet but have been following and really hoping the best for you and your journey. You mentioned going to the dentist today. how did that go? Were you able to ask all your questions and concerns?

I can tell you I have a friend who was concerned with root canals and would send me things, what I told her was I've had several root canals through my years. I'm 50 and I've probably had 8-10 of them. They've only helped me save my teeth and be able to eat better not having to do without those teeth. Seems most the time they do alot mre good.. just my experence but I think alot have the same in that root canals really do save many teeth.

I really wish you the best!! :grouphug:
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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I have gotten many going back to my early 20's, I'm 51 now. I really havent had any issues, had to have 2 really old ones redone years later one by an endodontist 2 years ago ,no issues since. easy redo. the last one I found out the first dentist missed a canal that was 30 years with with alot less technology and I opted to take it ou and get an implant there. For the most part they have not been an issue. I've mostly had them done by regular dentists only the one retreat by endodontist.
 
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