to ask for dental advice

(10 Posts)
WombatStewForTea Tue 25-Aug-15 19:16:46

This is long so feel free to jump to the end and I'm mostly posting here for traffic so I apologise but I really need some advice!
Over the last year I've had a nightmare with my teeth and received some good advice on here. I've lost count of the number of times I've been to the dentist and returned because whatever they did didn't work and the money it's cost me.

To give a brief backstory after having tooth ache before Christmas I had a dental onlay fitted onto a broken tooth which has never felt quite right since but I've been told several times it's fine. I then left this dentist after going back with tooth ache in the same area but the dentist couldn't work out where the pain was coming from so I was told to 'go home and work out which tooth it is).
New dentist refused to treat me because I had a reaction to local anaesthetic many years ago (all allergy tested and found to be a bad batch of anaesthetic and have had several anaesthetics since) so referred me to the dental hospital which took 3 months (luckily the toothache lessened and became tolerable with painkillers or I'd have killed someone/myself). Anyway, dental hospital saw me and said it was a waste of time be being referred to them and promptly discharged me back to the dentist. By this point the toothache had returned with a vengeance and I would have done anything to stop the pain. Long story short I had it extracted (only after did she tell me it could have had a root canal) and I developed dry socket and the worst pain I've ever experienced and no sleep for four days. I'd have happily thrown myself off a bridge to stop the pain it was horrific.

Sorry that wasn't brief at all but trying to build up a picture of why I'm now very worried about dentists. I'm on the waiting list for a recommended dentist in the area but until then I'm stuck with the one who did the extraction.

Up to recently when is been having some pain especially when biting and swelling on the tooth with the onlay and I was pretty convinced it was an abscess but the pain stopped so I didn't go back to the dentist although lump was still there.

Anyway had pain in a different tooth (I mean seriously! What the fuck is wrong with me!!) and is still giving me pain after being refilled today and I'm going to have to go back again. While there the dentist looked at my other tooth and confirmed it is an abscess. She said I had two options a root canal or having it extracted. There is no chance in hell I'm having another tooth out unless absolutely necessary after the dry socket experience so said I'd like to have a root canal. This was when she explained that I'd have to go an see a specialist because it's a molar. She then explained it can cost up to £1000! Money I just don't have and can't justify finding on a tooth that's already cost me £200 odd for the onlay! At the same time she also said it would be a shame to lose the onlay. After pressing her for more info she said that I could be referred to the dental hospital but there is no guarantee they'll do it as it depends on their criteria.

Basically I know the sensible thing to do is to have it extracted but I'm absolutely shit scared of having dry socket again. I would obviously rather keep the tooth but can't really justify the money to go private.
Has anyone had a root canal done by a specialist on the nhs?
Has anyone had a successful root canal of a molar? Been told they have a high rate of failure and that the tooth often needs extracting years down the line anyway?

I've turned into an anxious blubbering mess which isn't like me at all. I've had years of all clears from the dentist and have been told I have good oral hygiene so why all the problems now?!

Bulbasaur Tue 25-Aug-15 19:23:43

No advice. I live in US where dentists are expensive with insurance.

But good luck! flowers

Pregnancy wrecked my teeth, and I had to get a bunch of work done on them, including a crown. It sucks.

I don't understand why they can't give you a different shot? Surely there's different medications for people with allergies?

WombatStewForTea Tue 25-Aug-15 19:29:52

Thanks Bulb I know we are really lucky to have subsidised dentistry!
There are lots of local anaesthetics she could have used she just didn't want to chance it. All sorted on that front now tho!

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Patapouf Tue 25-Aug-15 21:35:03

I'd get it whipped out, I hate having dental work done but I have had everything bar dentures at this point.
Follow after care instructions to the letter and hopefully you'll avoid dry socket this time.
I wouldn't want to pay for a RC just to have it removed a few years down the line. Although DH was told he'd need one done by a specialist, we couldn't afford it at the time so his normal dentist did it. Year on its still there, although it is now a funny shade of grey.

tokyobananas Tue 25-Aug-15 21:35:28

I've had four (four!) molar root canals - same tooth twice and then two others. Aside from the one that was done twice, due to a crap bit of work by the first dentist, I haven't had any further problems.

Two of the four were NHS, two private - each one cost about £1000 so I don't know if there's much of a difference in price. The one that had to be re-done was an NHS one, but I think that was just bad luck, not really any indication of NHS standards.

I've had all mine for 5/6 years. Apparently it is fairly likely I'll lose the teeth eventually, or earlier than I would've, but the dentist tells me it's more something that'll happen in 15 or 20 years than for example five, and for me that made it worth it - especially given how toothless I'd be if I'd been having them yanked.

It's up to you really - I've spent more on my sodding bloody teeth than I have on anything else in my life except the mortgage, but it seems to be just the way it is for me. I sympathise about the cost though.

Oh and in terms of the process - if you've had dental drama/pain, the actual root canal procedure is a comparative doddle so don't worry on that front.

goblinhat Tue 25-Aug-15 21:48:38

I had root canal work done on a molar a few months ago- NHS, I paid £250 including crown.. It was painless and I am happy with the result.

NoArmaniNoPunani Tue 25-Aug-15 21:48:57

I'm a dentist. I would suggest you ask for referral for NHS root treatment. You don't want to keep losing teeth as then the remaining teeth have more stresses on them and are more likely to fracture. That's how you can end up in a spiral of extractions.

Are you a smoker? Smokers are far more likely to get dry socket

Mrsmorton Tue 25-Aug-15 21:53:13

I don't know any health trust who commission specialist root canal treatment but I have heard of a patient getting it after appealing directly to the dental lead.

I've never heard of a bad batch of local anaesthetic, it's only in the last five years that we have started recording batch numbers so not sure how that would have arisen.

Molar root canal treatment is often successful, IIRC something around 80%. Often the tooth will fracture (higher risk in root filled teeth) and need extraction.

What reason did she give for you having to see a specialist? Unless there is a particular reason for referral, this isn't allowed under NHS rules. We aren't allowed to tell you that a private specialist with lots of extra training, time and Gucci equipment is better than a standard NHS dentist with basic equipment and no additional training or interest in root canal treatment. It is an absolute breach of contract.

Ask why you need specialist treatment.

WombatStewForTea Tue 25-Aug-15 22:06:43

Thank you for the advice guys.
NoArmarni - nope not a smoker! I know that is a common cause of dry socket!

MrsMorton - the incident with the anesthetic happened 8-10 years ago. I remember being told that it was definitely something wrong with the anesthetic rather than me being allergic to it but I don't know how they came to that conclusion other than doing a lot of allergy tests!

The reason she gave me was exactly that - that they have better equipment! Also mentioned that it was more complicated because there are three or four roots within the molar and that private specialists have better equipment that enables them to better clear the roots. Her words were that it would take her around three hours whereas a specialist could do it in an hour confused
She left me with no doubt that she will not do the root treatment.
After last time when she didn't give me the option of a root treatment until she mentioned it after the extraction and mentioned how I'd have had to go to a specialist then I'm starting to think that she just doesn't do them! Is that possible? Can an NHS dentist refuse to do them?

I've asked her to refer me which can take about 8 weeks apparently so I'm hoping that it won't flare up in that time. If they won't do the root treatment then I'm just going to have to suck it up and have it extracted as I just can't justify spending that much money!

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