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Worried about root canal



Junior member
Jun 15, 2022
Hi. Lifelong health anxiety and dental phobist. I've had quite a bit of work done in the past and had some dodgy experiences which I don't think has helped. I cry even when I go for a check up.
I lost a bit of an old filling just before the first lockdown and only managed to get an appointment to have it sorted a week ago. My usual dentist (who is brilliant) is still at the surgery but I seem to have been assigned a different one, who I've not had before.

I ended up having two fillings, one white and one metal and a day after both the metal one started hurting and the injection site of the white one got badly infected. I got an emergency appointment yesterday as the pain in the metal one intensified. I had yet another dentist for this who after nearly killing me, blowing air in the tooth :))) said she thought it was cracked, so put some bonding on it and rescheduled with the original dentist today. I went in today expecting the filling redone. The dentist said it was not a deep filling so would remove and replace. I had 5 injections in total but could not get rid of the pain. Eventually she got the filling out and told me she could see the nerve and would need to pull it out (I burst into tears) she tried a few times but I was in agony, so packed it full of 'steroids' and 'antibiotics' and put a temporary filling in, rescheduling for August to complete a root canal. There's a few things that are worrying me, because they don't make sense:

1. How did she not see the nerve doing the original filling and why if it wasn't deep was my nerve exposed?
2. I didn't have any instructions on what was put in the tooth. Wasn't asked if I was allergic to any antibiotics or had reactions to steroids at all. If its metronidazole, should I not drink ect?
3. Why was I not numb after 5 injections? I do have problems with numbing (I'm a redhead) but it just worries me for the next bit. When she was poking around in there it was horrendous
4. Is it safe to leave that long? Will my tooth not die
5. The dentist was very kind but I just don't feel comfortable with her. Can I request to see my other dentist or is it best the one who did it continues treatment?
6. Treatment costs. Its not my fault the next appointment was more than two months after my first. Can I not claim its all part of the same thing, especially seeing as the root canal was the dentists fault?

Sorry for so many questions. I am so nervous and feel so drained after today. Feel like it's set me back in my phobia again.
1) Dunno, I wasn't there :) It could be the nerve was in an unusual location and she just wasn't looking for it. We're talking fractions of a mm here.
2) Sounds like Ledermix has been placed, it won't cause you any problems, it's sealed into the tooth so not likely to get into your bloodstream.
3) A "hot" nerve is very hard to numb, for lots of boring physiological reasons.
4) Yes. Ideally yes it will, this is a good thing, honest!
5) Yes you can
6) No harm in asking, they'll probably say no but if you don't ask you don't get. I wouldn't go down the "it's the dentist's fault" route though. Sometimes bad stuff happens despite everyone's best efforts.
Thank you so much for your reply, that is really helpful. I definitely do better with my anxiety when I feel informed 😊
I didn't mean it was dentists fault I needed a root canal but the surgery didn't have any appointments within the 2 months treatment course window, so should it not be covered by the initial amount paid?
How long before my nerve dies? The pain mercifully went last night but has appeared again this afternoon and I'm struggling to eat/sleep/work. Is there anything the dentist can do to help this whilst I wait? Also if the tooth dies am I not at risk of infection/absess?
I've had two previous root canals. One was fine, no worse than a filling, the other one was awful and took 6 attempts, so I'm really nervous of the same thing happening again
No, I never worked in the English NHS but I think root canal treatment wasn't covered in the same charge band as a filling, but I may be completely wrong.
A few days or less hopefully. If you can get back into the dentist after a few days with Ledermix in place they should be able to get the tooth numb enough to get the root canal started.
You're not at any significant risk of an abscess, assuming the tooth is well sealed with the temp filling.
Went back on an emergency apt as the pain was becoming unbearable. Got my usual dentist who was brilliant. Kept me calm,made jokes, waited for the number to kick in and was very gentle and precise.
I did still have some issues with pain when he got in but he injected the nerve and sorted it right out. I think he got a load more pulp out and filled it back in. I asked if i could have the rest of the root canal done with him, which I managed to get booked just a couple weeks later (he must be popular)
Hopefully when this very thorough numbing wears off it will be more bearable and I can last through to August 🤞