• Welcome! This is a forum for anyone who is affected by a fear of the dentist, dental phobia, or specific dental fears.

    We are lucky to count a number of dentists among our members and moderators. Look out for the "Verified dentist" badges. If you are a dental professional who likes to help, please join our community!

    Register now to access many more features and forums!

Thoughts on this treatment plan? I'm not too sure about this.

S

ScaredyKitty

Junior member
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
12
Hello all,

Can't tell you how relieved I am to find your forum! Even more relieved to be able to access real dentists who KNOW about this stuff. Would you please help me with some thoughts and advice?

I apologize in advance that this is long - but I'll try to be clear at least.

I'm not the worst dental phobic out there, but I'm not the bravest either.

A few years ago, I broke two molars in one week. This happened after I had developed a number of health problems and had to quit working entirely. I have applied for disability but have not received approval yet.

At the time they broke, I saw a dentist who wanted to do two crowns - one for each tooth, but I couldn't afford the $2000.

I saw a second dentist who also wanted to do two crowns, but his price was lower. I thought I'd afford his work, until he milked out the cost of a cleaning, and two other appointments before he started working on the broken teeth. I ran out of money again and he wouldn't accept payments.

For a few years, I lived with the broken teeth. Then I found a place that said they'd do the crowns - but when I got there the dentist said, "you need a large filling in one tooth and a root canal in the other. We don't do root canals. Go somewhere else for root canal, then come back and we'll fill the filling." Of course, I couldn't afford the root canal work, so I was out of luck again!

I went to another dentist for a second opinion. He advertises as being SUPER gentle and he seemed like he and his staff would be. His staffer spent an hour with me explaining the plan etc. They were so nice. He said I probably did need a simple root canal on the one tooth - and that he could do it - for $2000 for the one tooth. He said it was questionable whether the root or pulp was infected or damaged, but that it was safest to assume it was. He offered me a payment plan - but there was no way I could come up with the downpayment or the monlthly money for it. So I couldn't have the work done.

FINALLY, I was told about a dentist who does advanced dental work and general dentistry. (He is not an oral surgeon, nor is he a root canal specialist, however.) He agreed to work on my problem teeth for a payment plan I could afford. However, I'm really afraid that I'm not getting the right work done.

The two broken molars were significantly broken. I am sure that a crown was the minimum they needed. One of them never gave me any trouble in all these years, and I could chew on that side. The other molar was plagued with irritations and problems during these years. I could not chew on that side AT ALL. Sometimes it would zing me when trying to bite on it. Twice, the gum above the tooth swelled up and I took antibiotics (doxycycline) which cleared it right up quickly. I had to brush, floss, and rinse with baking soda and salt at least 4x a day (often more) to keep that tooth clean, but I couldn't floss right next to the broken one because one dentist told me I'd pull out the temporary stuff they'd spread over the break. (The temporary was done without drilling and it broke away in days.) The dentist I'm NOW seeing said that he felt there was a good chance that the pulp or root was NOT involved, so he said we should clean out (drill out) and fill the tooth and leave it for 6 weeks and wait to see if an infection flared up. Then if everything was okay, he'd crown it. He said if he sealed it off and the root/pulp was bad, I'd be in massive pain within 6 weeks time. When he did this treatment, he told me he discovered the tooth had a length-wise crack - and it must have been flexing during these years. So - six weeks passed without incident. I thought everything was great. But ...

Then I went for my follow up appointment, and the dentist seemed to forget everything he had told me. He forgot we were going to work on that tooth again during the appointment - and instead chose to work on another tooth entirely. (not the other broken one.) At the end of the appointment, I told him I couldn't chew on my first repaired tooth and he was shocked - I had to remind him he said it needed a crown. He seemed surprised. I asked why I couldn't chew on it without discomfort - and he said, "maybe it is cracked ..." and I reminded him that he told me it is cracked. Another issue that day was that his novacaine didn't last long enough and I could feel him drilling. It hurt a lot. He said he uses a special type that doesn't aggravate my migraine condition - and that it often wears off quickly. (I'm also a red head and I read that we're hard to numb!) This novacaine also is fast acting - meaning he can start working on me immediately after giving the shot.

Well - enter appointment number three. He worked on the second broken tooth. I was in so much pain from the novacaine wearing off that I thought I'd pass out. He gave me another shot but it did NOTHING. He kept drilling and when it was done he said he was aware it wasn't working but he wanted to test out how bad the tooth was, and wanted to get it very clean. ??? Ack! He said something about not having to come back until next year - and I had to remind him about the first tooth not being complete. He acted like this was news to him - and said, "make an appointment - maybe we'll have to put a crown on that ...."

Here's the thing - if I put floss between that first tooth and the one next to it, if I push the floss up against that tooth sort of hard, I can make it feel uncomfortable. It is a little pain. None of my other teeth do that. If I try to chew on that tooth, it feels like it isn't strong enough to handle the pressure and so I don't bite down further. Is it smart to put a crown on there? Is there something more wrong? Is this normal for a cracked tooth? Is this the right treatment? Should I beg the other dentist that I liked, but couldn't afford, to do a second opinion and pay for the opinion?

I just don't know what to do. I can't stand getting drilled again and having the novacaine wear off. I was just about over my fear - because he's really good at using the needles so that I don't feel a thing while he numbs me, but it wears off SOOOOO fast! I have a lot of health conditions and I can't take meds very well. I'm terrified of a root canal. I'm terrified that if I endure the crown session that maybe we're capping a bad tooth?

Help?????

PS: I forgot to mention, at one point this dentist told me that doing a root canal on a cracked tooth was utterly worthless - and that if my tooth needed a root canal he would instead extract the tooth and give me an implant instead. I don't understand enough to know if that is good advice. This dentist doesn't speak much - and never tells me what he is doing once I'm in the chair. I have a hard time with that.

PPS: He also didn't do any cleaning, but told me to just floss and brush better - then next year we'd do a cleaning to take care of the stuff that had already built up on my teeth. I told him that when I floss next to the long term damaged teeth it has a bad smell - but he just said everyone has certain teeth that collect debris and to not worry about it. But I DO worry about that. This just doesn't sound right at all to me. :cry:
 
Last edited:
Steve In Cleveland

Steve In Cleveland

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Messages
565
Location
Cleveland, OH (USA)
Just a fellow patient's perspective here, not a dentist or medical professional, buuuttt....

At the very least you have a big communication problem with your dentist. When your appointment begins, everyone should be in agreement about which tooth is being worked on and which procedures are being performed. Sometimes there's a reason to work on a different tooth than planned, but that's something your dentist should discuss with you first.

Second, there's no reason you should have to tolerate pain while drilling. Regardless of the type of anesthetic used, if you feel any pain, you should signal the dentist, and he should stop. Immediately. I have a really hard time getting numb, and a couple times I've gotten frustrated when we have to stop several times to add more, so I've said, "Forget it, I'll just tolerate the pain for a couple of minutes." In every single case, the dentist has said, "No, we need to keep you numb." If you need extra, or if it starts to wear off, you should be renumbed before continuing. Period.

Lastly, it's been my experience that the line between "deep filling" and "root canal therapy" is a pretty clear one, either from the xray or from actually working inside the tooth. It sounds like you have two previous opinions that the decay is into the pulp chamber and requires a root canal. I've had dentists tell me that they might be able to get by with just a filling (when the x-ray was borderline) but never had any ambiguity once the work was underway, and I've ​never had anyone say, "let's fill it and see if you're in terrible pain in a few weeks." I'd also expect the dentist to make a note in your case to this effect, to help him remember what was done.

All around, it sounds like there's a reason this guy's prices are so cheap. I'm so sorry you've had to go through this, and I'm sorry that cost has to be such an issue. From the sound of things, a decent dentist who can do root canals should be able to treat your teeth painlessly and save them both without much trouble (except maybe that cracked tooth). It doesn't sound like he's done any damage, but I don't think he's really helping much...
 
drhirst

drhirst

Super Moderator
Verified dentist
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
683
Location
Welwyn Garden City, UK
Hi ScaredKitty,

I thinks Steve's comments are excellent.

Also if may be work be work considering extracting one or both of these teeth. This would save thousands of $ and would rapidly relieve you of the pain and worry. Sure it's nice to save teeth but most of us would not be troubled by the loss of one or two molars.
Might be worth discussing this with your dentist.

Just some thoughts

Lincoln
 
P

Patti

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
749
Location
Michigan, USA
Kitty, I agree with Dr Hirst. I had a molar that needed RTC and a crown and I chose to pull it. I had to have it done by an oral surgeon which was a few hundred dollars but it would have been two thousand to save it.

I don't miss that tooth in the least!

In the end i made the right decision since I needed a few thousand dollars worth of dental work on my other teeth. It would have been crazy to spend 2 grand on one nobody will ever see.
 
P

Patti

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 28, 2006
Messages
749
Location
Michigan, USA
Also, If it were me I would see another dentist. My dentist writes everything down and is never "confused" about my treatment plan.
 
S

ScaredyKitty

Junior member
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
12
I am so relieved to hear from you all. Thank you, Steve, Dr. Hirst, and Patti.

What a relief that you agree this all sounds "off" for lack of a better word.

(1) I've decided not to return to his office.

(2) I'm going to ask the gentle dentist how much he would charge to look at the tooth again. And, I'll ask his thoughts about extraction and cost etc. Two of the dentists that I saw said they felt it would be a bad shame to extract this tooth and if it was their own they would save it. But, I don't think they knew about the crack when they said that. And, they have a better bank account than I do.

(3) About a missing tooth - I have read about how something needs to be inserted for the missing tooth - like an implant, or bridge, or SOMETHING. I read about how all the other teeth will shift and slide around. I really don't think I'd mind having a hole in the spot - as it is the second from the back on the top and I doubt anyone would notice - but --- what about those problems I heard about?

(4) If my attorney succeeds in winning my case at the end of this year, I will have enough money to pay for a good dentist to do this work. That's really only 2.5 months away. Is it dangerous to wait that long if I can't come up with money for an extraction or other repair before then?

(5) It isn't creating pain really. It is only if I try to use it that it feels more uncomfortable than painful. I've gotten so good at eating on one little corner of my mouth over the last 3 years that I feel I can keep this up for at least several more months. I've gotten good at making foods that are easy to chew.

Thank you so much for sharing your perspectives. I am so glad to hear what you have to say. Such a load off my mind. Now I don't have to wonder if I'm just making something out of nothing.
 
S

ScaredyKitty

Junior member
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
12
I forgot to mention another thing that made me not want to go back there again. On the third visit, right when he gave me the second shot because the first one wore off, he got a visitor in his office. He left me in the chair and I could hear him in the lobby laughing with someone, having a conversation. It was not as long as 10 minutes, but it was more than 5 that he left me in the chair with a partially drilled tooth. Even his assistant left after waiting for quite a while. So I was totally alone in there. (Not that she was far away, but it freaked me out.) That's not professional, is it? Of course when he returned, that used up the limited working time of the second shot. For the record, I did let him know I was in pain. I could NOT stop flinching each time he hit the nerve. I had tears running down my cheeks and I whimpered embarrassingly. The assistant asked me, "does it still hurt?" after he went off to search for another drill bit - and I told her it hurt terribly. They continued on. I was in that chair for 2 hours from the moment they took me back, until he told me I could leave.
If I was getting over my dental phobia, this put me way back at square one.
 
I

italiannyc17

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
124
Location
USA
I forgot to mention another thing that made me not want to go back there again. On the third visit, right when he gave me the second shot because the first one wore off, he got a visitor in his office. He left me in the chair and I could hear him in the lobby laughing with someone, having a conversation. It was not as long as 10 minutes, but it was more than 5 that he left me in the chair with a partially drilled tooth. Even his assistant left after waiting for quite a while. So I was totally alone in there. (Not that she was far away, but it freaked me out.) That's not professional, is it? Of course when he returned, that used up the limited working time of the second shot. For the record, I did let him know I was in pain. I could NOT stop flinching each time he hit the nerve. I had tears running down my cheeks and I whimpered embarrassingly. The assistant asked me, "does it still hurt?" after he went off to search for another drill bit - and I told her it hurt terribly. They continued on. I was in that chair for 2 hours from the moment they took me back, until he told me I could leave.
If I was getting over my dental phobia, this put me way back at square one.
Why sit there and let it happen? My dentist refused to continue the work because he knew I felt a little bit, and I told him to continue.

Good dentists will NEVER let you feel any pain at all. I never had anything done that hurt. Even if it hurt a little, I told him and he took care of it.

In the end, its always the dentist. I tell people all the time, if it hurts, get a new dentist.

I remember when I had no insurance here in the states and I went to a public dentist, he did not listen or care about anything I said. Now that I have a private practice dentist, its like night and day.

Find the perfect dentist and all the dental fears will go away. I had a terrible fear since I was child and did not go for over 15 years. Now here I am at 26 with my new dentist. 7 fillings, 5 baby teeth pulled , 1 root canal, 2 cleanings later, and I wish I did this when I was younger because it was all so easy.

I have an extraction this weekend of my first molar and do not expect to feel anything. I will also say that the novacaine at the public place was CRAP compared to the private place. I always found that wierd.

BTW, if you feel anythingwhen you push on a tooth, I would not have it crowned until they know for sure. I had a root canal and it failed because I wanted so long. The canals were perfect and clean but the infection was still at the bottom. The oral surgern said the apico would not work. So in reality I spent almost 1000 dollars on a root canal that was wasted, but hey it took away the horrible pain I felt so I did not care. I am just happy I wanted before putting the crown on and spending another 1000. Be careful with that

So, in the end, just know, if it hurts, it shouldnt. Speak up and tell them how you feel and if they dont listen, say bye bye and find another.
 
S

ScaredyKitty

Junior member
Joined
Aug 22, 2012
Messages
12
Why did I let it happen? Well, to be honest, I couldn't imagine walking out of there with a hole drilled that deep without having it closed up again. There didn't appear to be much choice.

I'm relieved to hear you've had so much work with no pain at all. That's encouraging.

I'm confused about what you meant about public vs private dentists in the states. We don't have public dentists here in my state. Maybe your state is different than other states?
 
I

italiannyc17

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2011
Messages
124
Location
USA
Why did I let it happen? Well, to be honest, I couldn't imagine walking out of there with a hole drilled that deep without having it closed up again. There didn't appear to be much choice.

I'm relieved to hear you've had so much work with no pain at all. That's encouraging.

I'm confused about what you meant about public vs private dentists in the states. We don't have public dentists here in my state. Maybe your state is different than other states?
What I meant by that is a dentist that accepts medicaid. The dentist that people who have very low income go to and its covered. Thats what I use to go to. Never again
 
Steve In Cleveland

Steve In Cleveland

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Messages
565
Location
Cleveland, OH (USA)
My new standard DISCLAIMER:

All opinions expressed are opinions; I'm not a dentist or medical professional. Each mouth and each tooth is different, so my experience may not be yours. Talk to a dentist before making any decisions or building up any expectations about what you need. Stay calm and be kind to yourself. :hmm:

(1) I've decided not to return to his office.
Yayy! :jump::jump: I try to give dentists the benefit of the doubt; I think most are well-intentioned, and sometimes it's just a matter of the dentist just not being your "type". Also it's a stressful situation and sometimes things are miscommunicated. But this guy frankly sounds pretty sloppy. Even if you don't have a lot of money, you deserve to be treated with care and precision.

(2) I'm going to ask the gentle dentist how much he would charge to look at the tooth again. And, I'll ask his thoughts about extraction and cost etc. Two of the dentists that I saw said they felt it would be a bad shame to extract this tooth and if it was their own they would save it. But, I don't think they knew about the crack when they said that. And, they have a better bank account than I do.
This is a great idea. You should at least understand your options. It really would be a shame to lose an otherwise healthy tooth if there's any way you can beg, borrow, or steal to pay for restoration-- on the other hand, you need to treat these eventually, because a rotting tooth is not really great for your health.

You can also talk to Gentle Dentist about timing. I'm working my way through a long treatment plan and therefor have teeth that need RCT but I won't get to them for the better part of a year. No one can predict when they might flare up and start hurting, but if they're not actively hurting you may be okay to do nothing for now, while you save for the right treatment.

(3) About a missing tooth - I have read about how something needs to be inserted for the missing tooth - like an implant, or bridge, or SOMETHING. I read about how all the other teeth will shift and slide around. I really don't think I'd mind having a hole in the spot - as it is the second from the back on the top and I doubt anyone would notice - but --- what about those problems I heard about?
I answered your other post, but I think this should be part of your conversation with gentle dentist.

(4) If my attorney succeeds in winning my case at the end of this year, I will have enough money to pay for a good dentist to do this work. That's really only 2.5 months away. Is it dangerous to wait that long if I can't come up with money for an extraction or other repair before then?
If you're not in active pain, I doubt a few months will matter much. If the tooth is infected it's preferable to treat the infection sooner just for your overall health, but I think the big risk is just that the tooth starts causing pain, at which point you'll probably have to treat it for your own comfort.

(5) It isn't creating pain really. It is only if I try to use it that it feels more uncomfortable than painful. I've gotten so good at eating on one little corner of my mouth over the last 3 years that I feel I can keep this up for at least several more months. I've gotten good at making foods that are easy to chew.
You'll be so much happier once you've taken care of the problem teeth! I know just what you're talking about, learning to chew in just certain parts of your mouth, eating soft foods, chewing really carefully. It's really amazing how much easier and enjoyable eating is when you don't have to constantly worry. Soon that will be you!
 
Top