• 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!

What a year - and still ongoing

Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
Hi everyone,

I've been lurking about this site for almost a year now. I'm going to summarise where I've gone, and where I'm going in this post, then add to it.

I've always gone to the dentist for six monthly checks, no issues/treatment for ten years or so. I'm a nervous patient, but am more scared of injections than dental treatment or the dentist.

February 2017 - checkup and scale and polish. All good.

April 2017 - I bit into a croissant, and a huge filling in my lower left molar cracked. The bulk of it was gone. I rang the dentist and got an appointment the next day. She rebuilt the filling, which was most of the tooth, and said to come back if there were any problems.

May 2017 - I had toothache on my upper left back teeth, and it transpired the wisdom tooth was infected. So that was whipped out. I hate the needle, but it was fine.

June 2017 - that bottom tooth started hurting again. And so did the matching one on the right, and the one above on the right. The dentist suggested I was grinding my teeth, and that I could have a mouth-guard made. I realised that actually, I was clenching, not grinding - no idea why I didn't click before. So that would account for the broken filling. The tooth with the huge filling needed a root canal, but she said the right hand side teeth were fine. I had the root canal done at the end of the month, but the dentist couldn't find all the canals. I opted to go ahead, but this was a mistake.

July 2017 - after weeks of toothache, and referred pain, lower left molar is extracted. It was a difficult extraction and the tooth had to be surgically removed. The right hand teeth still hurt. I got a mouth-guard made by the dentist.

August 2017 - the right upper and lower teeth still hurt, but the dentist says there's nothing up with them. She took out the fillings and re-did them. They carried on hurting.

October 2017 - I saw a different dentist in the surgery because my own dentist was on holiday. He said I needed a root canal on the bottom tooth, and that once that was done, the upper one should settle.

November 2017 - root canal on bottom tooth. This took FOREVER to settle. The upper tooth remained painful.

December 2017 - the dentist removed the filling on the top tooth and re-did it. Over Christmas I had terrible toothache. She said we could do a root canal on the upper tooth, but was concerned I might need referred out to a specialist because the tooth's roots were very twisty. I opted to go straight to the specialist.

January 2018 - consultation with the endodontist. I was super-nervous about seeing someone new, but he was lovely. However as well as the root canal, he spotted a problem with the neighbouring tooth, which had had RCT years before - even I could see from the x-ray that one canal was empty. So, we scheduled in a root canal and a re-treatment. Total cost, just shy of £2,000, then crowns still to come after that.

February/March 2018 - endodontic work is done in four separate sessions, and all seems to have gone okay.

Now - I need to go back for a review and final x-rays with the endodontist, then schedule in crowns. In the meantime, my front upper teeth are sore, but my dentist says that's just from clenching, and that nothing is actually wrong with them - the endo agreed with this. I am absolutely, completely, 100% obsessed with my teeth now, and feel like all the months of pain and worry have really impacted my mental health. I'm due to see my own dentist for a checkup and S&P next week, then hopefully she will do the crowns over the next month or so.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
Just an update here.

Last week I had a checkup with my dentist, and mentioned again that the front tooth was sore. She repeated the x-ray, and since February a huge dark shadow has appeared round the tooth and its neighbour. Neither has ever had decay or a filling. I have been referred to the Max/Fax department at the hospital as she was concerned about this. I am really scared, and in a lot of pain.

I also saw the endodontist, and have been signed off on the two molar root canals, so once he writes to my own dentist they are ready for crowning.

On a positive note, the rest of my teeth were deemed to be in excellent health, and my gums scored 0 - 2s on the poking test.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
Back to the dentist tomorrow to have my mouth guard adjusted as it's been irritating my gums a bit since I had the root canals. I'm hoping we can schedule a date for the crown prep and fitting since I've been discharged by the endo now. I rang the hospital last week to find out if there was a cancellation list I could go on, but apparently not. My referral was still waiting to be assessed by their consultants - if it's deemed a priority the average wait is 14 weeks, and if not, it's 47 weeks.
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,990
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
My referral was still waiting to be assessed by their consultants - if it's deemed a priority the average wait is 14 weeks, and if not, it's 47 weeks.
If I were you, I'd leave the crowns for now and focus on the referral. Can you see the person you are being referred to privately as even 14 weeks is an unacceptable time to wait if you are in pain. It is perfectly possible for the nerve to die in a 'virgin' tooth (ask me how I know?) and to then need rct. I am not dentally qualified at all but a dark patch often indicates an absess so maybe the original endodontist could help. There is no point waiting 14 weeks to be seen as you could be losing valuable time in which to save your teeth.

Is your dental practice a private/NHS/mixed one? Is there a more senior dentist there who could give their opinion? Good luck.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
If I were you, I'd leave the crowns for now and focus on the referral. Can you see the person you are being referred to privately as even 14 weeks is an unacceptable time to wait if you are in pain. It is perfectly possible for the nerve to die in a 'virgin' tooth (ask me how I know?) and to then need rct. I am not dentally qualified at all but a dark patch often indicates an absess so maybe the original endodontist could help. There is no point waiting 14 weeks to be seen as you could be losing valuable time in which to save your teeth.

Is your dental practice a private/NHS/mixed one? Is there a more senior dentist there who could give their opinion? Good luck.
Hi Brit, thanks for your reply. My practice is mainly private, but I am an NHS patient. My dentist discussed the x-rays with colleagues before deciding to refer me to the hospital. Originally she had planned to do root canal on both teeth, but didn't want to crash in and do that in case it wasn't the teeth that were causing the problems. Unfortunately there's no way of accessing the MF department privately, so I feel like this is out of my hands and all I can do is wait. Having shelled out £2,000 since January I just can't afford to pay for more private treatment at the moment anyway, and the endodontist said that my own dentist is perfectly qualified to do root canals on front teeth, and that he would be happy to have a general dentist treat his own front teeth rather than pay for a specialist. My own dentist has sent the x-rays to the endodontist - he said he would be happy to review them - so hopefully he will ring me soon. (He only works two days a week and is at the hospital the rest of the time.)
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
If I were you, I'd leave the crowns for now and focus on the referral. Can you see the person you are being referred to privately as even 14 weeks is an unacceptable time to wait if you are in pain. It is perfectly possible for the nerve to die in a 'virgin' tooth (ask me how I know?) and to then need rct. I am not dentally qualified at all but a dark patch often indicates an absess so maybe the original endodontist could help. There is no point waiting 14 weeks to be seen as you could be losing valuable time in which to save your teeth.

Is your dental practice a private/NHS/mixed one? Is there a more senior dentist there who could give their opinion? Good luck.
Your post has made me panic a bit - the dentist said the shadows indicated infection, to be treated with root canal. She didn't say this was an abscess, and she refused to prescribe antibiotics, saying they wouldn't help. I was scheduled for the root canals today, until she changed her mind and referred me to the hospital. No mention was made of my teeth being at risk of being lost.
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,990
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
Sorry if I made you worry more but waiting 14 weeks doesn't make any sense to me. As an 'experienced patient' who was also once referred to a hospital surgeon for a radiolucency on an x-ray from which the advice was leave well alone - but in fact later many years later did need rct (it worked still have the tooth), I can't see what harm doing the rct in the meantime would do, as that could potentially get you out of pain. It is not acceptable to leave you in pain like this.
Some private practices in UK (don't know where you live) have arrangements with oral surgeons who also work in NHS hospitals to do fast private consults at say £150-200, a bit like seeing a BUPA consultant without being a Member just for an opinion - actually that could be an option if your local private hospital has an oral surgeon on their books.
My thinking is that they might be able to advise your dentist to go ahead with the root canal and at least get you out of pain with stage 1 of the rct treatment. Chances are it's nothing too serious and yet NHS expects you to wait 14 weeks worrying it might be and in pain too!
Hope it works out in your favour and soon :XXLhug:
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
Sorry if I made you worry more but waiting 14 weeks doesn't make any sense to me. As an 'experienced patient' who was also once referred to a hospital surgeon for a radiolucency on an x-ray from which the advice was leave well alone - but in fact later many years later did need rct (it worked still have the tooth), I can't see what harm doing the rct in the meantime would do, as that could potentially get you out of pain. It is not acceptable to leave you in pain like this.
Some private practices in UK (don't know where you live) have arrangements with oral surgeons who also work in NHS hospitals to do fast private consults at say £150-200, a bit like seeing a BUPA consultant without being a Member just for an opinion - actually that could be an option if your local private hospital has an oral surgeon on their books.
My thinking is that they might be able to advise your dentist to go ahead with the root canal and at least get you out of pain with stage 1 of the rct treatment. Chances are it's nothing too serious and yet NHS expects you to wait 14 weeks worrying it might be and in pain too!
Hope it works out in your favour and soon :XXLhug:
Thanks for your message. I discussed things with my dentist yesterday - she said the shadow could indicate infection, or a nerve issue, or a tumour, so doing the root canal might not have any impact if it is something more serious. I asked about private treatment, and a consultation would be £300, then the cost of any tests on top. The reason I am clenching and grinding my teeth is because my partner has been made redundant and money is really tight, so we just can't afford more private care after paying the endodontist's fees - however my mum has said she would fund it if need be. The dentist is going to ring the hospital on Friday to find out if my referral has been triaged as priority (14 week wait) or standard (47 week wait) and ask for me to be put on the cancellation list, so I'll wait and see what she says when she rings me after that. I am so scared it's cancer now, and have spent hours googling which I KNOW is SO STUPID!
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,530
I discussed things with my dentist yesterday - she said the shadow could indicate infection, or a nerve issue, or a tumour, so doing the root canal might not have any impact if it is something more serious.
This sounds so scary and not really gently voiced.. :( However it seems to me that there are a lot of 'if's' and that your denstis was just giving you reasons and assumptions not to do the rct more than a diagnosis, so please do not think of cancer right away. Googling is not the best way to find reassurance but I can understand your need of any information that would bring you further..
Glad to hear that your mum would fund you if you needed more private treatment. Hope you get some good news soon and a relief from the pain. Take care and keep us updated (writing things out helps a lot)
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
This sounds so scary and not really gently voiced.. :( However it seems to me that there are a lot of 'if's' and that your denstis was just giving you reasons and assumptions not to do the rct more than a diagnosis, so please do not think of cancer right away. Googling is not the best way to find reassurance but I can understand your need of any information that would bring you further..
Glad to hear that your mum would fund you if you needed more private treatment. Hope you get some good news soon and a relief from the pain. Take care and keep us updated (writing things out helps a lot)
Thanks for your post - I hope it didn't sound like I was criticising my dentist, as she's really great, I think she just wants to be completely certain before doing the treatment.

I found out today (by Googling!) that the two week referral for any suspicions of cancer doesn't apply here in Scotland.
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,990
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
Glad to hear that your mum would fund you if you needed more private treatment. Hope you get some good news soon and a relief from the pain.
Really sorry to hear about your current financial situation and your husband's redundancy...the reason I persist with suggesting private routes is because I am aware that often relatives can and will help out; and I get cross that the NHS has such long waiting lists which cause you unnecessary worry and lots of unnecessary pain and risk to worsening the long-term outcome.

I would think the chances are, it will just be infection and the only likely treatment for that is intervention by extraction or root canal.
Just checked what you said about the lack of 2 week wait guarantee if cancer suspected in Scotland and am shocked to see you appear to be right. One might have hoped that was because wait times were not that bad in the normal course of things and for some conditions/departments/health board areas that may be true; but alas I don't think 14 weeks would count as an urgent time scale by any sane person's definition. I found a Scottish website with clinical guidelines for urgent referrals but it didn't seem to cover oral surgery at all.

Criticise your dentist/the system all you like...it is far from perfect basically :) in either sector. Best wishes.
 
brit

brit

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 23, 2006
Messages
6,990
Location
In My Dental Happy Place
Last edited:
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
Just a thought...is it possible in Scotland to be referred to another health board area if they happen to have a shorter wait time than yours?

https://www.nhsinform.scot/


It seems in Scotland once you have been identified as needing a course of treatment, there is a 12 week time guarantee!

The cancer aspect: http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2012/12/8405/4
I think the 12 week aspect means once you have been diagnosed and a course of treatment agreed, it has to happen within that time period. However, the wait time in getting to the appointment for a diagnosis can be far longer. I know it's daft and a waste of energy, but I just feel so angry all this has happened to me - while I am an anxious patient, I have never, ever missed a checkup, have always taken really good care of my teeth, and have always had any treatments recommended by the dentist. Hopefully I'll hear from the dentist tomorrow and have a better idea on timeframes once she's followed up with the hospital.
 
chaoticharmony

chaoticharmony

Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2018
Messages
21
Location
TN
Hi Judythecat :waves:

I’m sorry for all that you have been through! Have you heard from your dentist?

I hate to sound so ignorant, but am I reading correctly that it takes 14 weeks to get an emergency appointment? If your dentist refers you for further testing, you aren’t seen the same day at the hospital?

My heart breaks that you are in pain and having to wait.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
Just an update, I had a letter at the end of last week, and have my appointment with the MF department on Wednesday. The fact it went through so quickly makes me terrified it is some sort of tumour, and I have fallen down a complete rabbit hole of websites about oral cancer and jawbone cancer.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,530
Judythecat,

glad to hear you have an appointment on Wednesday, that seems to be an entirely different situation now. I at the same time understand how incredibly scared you must be now - if they gave you the appointment that fast, it must be really bad, right? But the fact is - and please try to keep this in mind as a small rope to reality so that you do not get insane - you do not know, what you have. You do not know and your dentist doesn't either and that is why you are having this appointment. They are going to find out. There is at this moment no evidence of you having cancer. What you have is something that needs to be looked at to find out what it is. Please, keep this in mind and hold on. :XXLhug:

Keeping my fingers tightly crossed and sending you good vibes and wishes, may your appointment go well on Wednesday and may you receive some good news.

All the best wishes and keep us updated.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
Judythecat,

glad to hear you have an appointment on Wednesday, that seems to be an entirely different situation now. I at the same time understand how incredibly scared you must be now - if they gave you the appointment that fast, it must be really bad, right? But the fact is - and please try to keep this in mind as a small rope to reality so that you do not get insane - you do not know, what you have. You do not know and your dentist doesn't either and that is why you are having this appointment. They are going to find out. There is at this moment no evidence of you having cancer. What you have is something that needs to be looked at to find out what it is. Please, keep this in mind and hold on. :XXLhug:

Keeping my fingers tightly crossed and sending you good vibes and wishes, may your appointment go well on Wednesday and may you receive some good news.

All the best wishes and keep us updated.
Thanks for your kind words. My manager at work had an appointment in the same department, and said his came through very quickly too - it turned out to be a periodontal cyst in his case. Logically I feel sure it's infection, mainly because I had a course of amoxicillin for a sinus infection shortly after the dentist made the referral, and the pain is much more bearable now, but I think it is human nature to fear the worst. I am nervous about the appointment itself, as my dentist said they may do blood tests - I would take 25 root canals over a blood test! My partner's going to come with me, and my manager has been really supportive throughout all my dental woes - because he himself is in the process of getting implants and knows what it's like - so that is something.
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
Update. I saw the Max/Fax consultant yesterday. It was a lot of waiting around, but he was lovely. They did a 360 degree x-ray, and he examined my teeth - the x-ray showed no shadowing this time! He said there was definitely no tumour, no need for root canal, and that he thought my night-guard might be putting pressure on that one tooth and bruising the periodontal ligament. I am going to ask my dentist if I can get a new one made up.

In more worrying news, he said I had gum pocketing round the tooth (I think he said 6mm) which is completely contrary to what my dentist told me when I had a checkup just three weeks ago. She actually specifically said I was "doing a great job with tepe brushes", and I can remember the BPE score thing being something like 2:4.
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
2,530
Phewww, that's good news.. the ones with the tumor, I am sure you got really relieved.. did you get some solutions about the pockets and a idea why the result was so different to what your dentist have found out few weeks ago?
 
Judythecat

Judythecat

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 7, 2018
Messages
601
Phewww, that's good news.. the ones with the tumor, I am sure you got really relieved.. did you get some solutions about the pockets and a idea why the result was so different to what your dentist have found out few weeks ago?
I am seeing my dentist in a fortnight for the crown prep, so will see what she says then. It is never ending!
 
Top