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Trauma/unnecessary work in past - anxious if filling needed?

R

ReassuremeJ

Junior member
Joined
Dec 11, 2023
Messages
6
Location
Uk
I had several repeated bad experiences with my original dentist who I went to for 30 years. Now my current dentist has suggested a small filling, I’m really anxious of intervening too soon. I’ve been told by dentists I probably had unnecessary dental treatment in the past.

With my original dentist, checkups, (where he played mind games) let alone treatments (wouldn't say which teeth) were scary and repeated. (Pretended I was having several root canals, then redid a filling to teach me a lesson). My fear is from trauma not phobia. Since leaving him, dentists have said they’d question me needing the work I’ve had done.

Background on the cavity:

7 years ago, my dentist was retiring. Another dentist wanted to fill a small cavity. A second opinion said not to. A 3rd opinion - my retiring dentist - said she was surprised a filling had been suggested, decay had arrested and I did not need it.

It is that same cavity which my current dentist would like to fill, so I’m anxious as to whether it is clinically necessary. It will be my first treatment since my original dentist & it's triggering.

I’ve had the cavity almost 10 years. It doesn’t show on x-rays & should be a small additional filling in a molar (on the cusp). My dentist said it’s only just into the dental material & could wait for months (due now).

My dentist said she’d had an emergency before me where someone had no signs of decay but a large abscess, so I wondered if it may have influenced her. I’m worried that if I was judged on fillings, not realising they may have been unnecessary, that could affect a decision to intervene. I also wondered if she’d forgotten she’d seen it before.

My main fear is intervening in a tooth sooner than is clinically necessary and starting a cycle where more work will be needed in future

I could try a 2nd opinion for reassurance but any appointment makes me anxious. I’m not sure what I'd do if a 2nd opinion said I didn’t need it - I don’t want to burn bridges. I could ask my dentist to double check but doubt it would make a difference and it’s hard to be seen questioning someone’s judgment. It may be a cavity that arrested in the past needs doing after a certain point?

I’d be very grateful for advice.

(Also, I really prefer amalgam for longevity & fewer lifetime interventions - can you have 2 amalgam fillings in one molar without risk of cracking?).
 
I'd remind her that the defect has been there for a long time and you'd prefer her to just monitor it for now. If she's adamant that it needs filled after that then I'd probably go with it.

Yes, you can have 2 amalgam fillings in one molar, it's pretty common. These days though I'd probably go with a well done composite for the new filling, they last as well as amalgam and since they're bonded into place the risk of secondary decay is reduced significantly.
 
Thank you very much - I do welcome any replies.

It may seem insignificant & small, but my fears can feel overwhelming. For years, I’ve felt as if my teeth are rented and belong to a dentist. In a dental context, I find it hard to speak up (I used to feel punished for doing so). I think my brain’s protective mechanism kicks in with dental anxiety to try to stop me repeating the past.

I’m nervous at the thought of asking my dentist to monitor it (it’s sensible advice) - I’d agree to anything once in a dental chair just to get things over with and escape. I like my dentist so I’m especially worried about being seen questioning her judgement. I think it’s good for me to learn to trust in a dentist again, so I’m concerned about burning bridges (though obviously I’m scared of unnecessary work and letting myself down again by not questioning things - you can see the internal battleground…).

Is it normal for patients to ask to monitor something a dentist has recommended, or to question something? Would dentists be offended by this? I’m not sure how common this is. If I did decide on a second opinion (although that might scare me) should I admit it to my dentist? I’m wondering whether it might be more common in (UK) dentistry than I think.
 
It may seem insignificant & small, but my fears can feel overwhelming. For years, I’ve felt as if my teeth are rented and belong to a dentist. In a dental context, I find it hard to speak up (I used to feel punished for doing so). I think my brain’s protective mechanism kicks in with dental anxiety to try to stop me repeating the past.
I know, it's hard to advocate for yourself in this situation, sit down, open wide and shut up syndrome can kick in too easily :)

I’m nervous at the thought of asking my dentist to monitor it (it’s sensible advice) - I’d agree to anything once in a dental chair just to get things over with and escape. I like my dentist so I’m especially worried about being seen questioning her judgement. I think it’s good for me to learn to trust in a dentist again, so I’m concerned about burning bridges (though obviously I’m scared of unnecessary work and letting myself down again by not questioning things - you can see the internal battleground…).
You could try either e-mailing your dentist before hand or else bring a friend with you for moral support or to advocate for you.

Is it normal for patients to ask to monitor something a dentist has recommended, or to question something? Would dentists be offended by this? I’m not sure how common this is. If I did decide on a second opinion (although that might scare me) should I admit it to my dentist? I’m wondering whether it might be more common in (UK) dentistry than I think.
It should be a team effort between me and the patient to decide on what's being done, a second opinion might just add even further confusion, it sounds like this cavity is really on the edge of needing filled or not, so a second opinion won't necessarily clarify things. Sorry, it's the "fun" of working with biological processes, there's not many absolute answers :(
 
Thank you very much. I really appreciate the response (and thanks for the understanding). I'm going to send an email to my dentist.

It's also reassuring to hear that you can have things which are on the edge of being needed or not. (It's useful to remind myself, after difficult past experiences, that it's a case of dentists trying to use best judgement and can be slightly subjective). I guess this is the nature of dentistry being preventative...
 
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