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Calling dentists - shitting myself

(16 Posts)
ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Mon 06-Jun-16 16:37:49

Really hoping someone can help/reassure/talk me down... I am terrified of the dentist.

A few years ago I broke a tooth which had already been filled. (2nd molar, top right, if that makes a difference?) I had a temp filling put on, which in fact lasted 3 years; as the tooth was stable and not causing me any issues, my dentist at the time adopted a 'let sleeping dogs lie' approach (had regular check ups / X rays etc) About a year ago, the temp filling came away. A further temporary patch was put on, because I was about to go on holiday, but my dentist warned me that over the longer term I was looking at a root canal and crown as there was so little tooth left. I was back at the dentist 3 months later after an episode of excruciating pain which turned out to be nerve-related (no infection). The pain was bad enough I wasn't sleeping, but literally stopped like a tap being turned off one morning. Since then, no probs, although as I say I know the writing is on the wall over the long term. The dentist thinks the tooth is dead.

Anyway, about 4 weeks ago one the right side of my face swelled up, and I had a couple of days of throbbing pain. This coincided with my DS (2) head butting me on that side of my head (he threw his head backward whilst on my lap iykwim). The pain and swelling has gone, but I have had this tender lump on my gum right above the 'bad' tooth ever since. I'm thinking not an abscess as I feel otherwise fine, and unless I poke the lump it doesn't hurt. But am scaring myself silly with thoughts of oral cancer, 'silent' abscesses etc etc.

Can anyone help/comment? I have an appointment with my dentist this week, but am scared witless at the best of times, and have spent too much time on Dr Google...

ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Mon 06-Jun-16 17:33:29


bluejasmin Mon 06-Jun-16 17:43:57

I'm not a dentist FYI , I'd think it's to do with the headbutt and as you've never had it sorted it will be a recurring problem . I'm sure you've nothing to worry about . I had a tooth that would play up every six months or so .. I ended up having it out ( in front of all my kids ..hmm) good luck and hope you get it sorted

ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Mon 06-Jun-16 17:50:04

I am being a terrible wuss about the whole thing, am terrified of root canal treatment - everyone I've mentioned it to does this noise which I assume indicates horrendous agonising pain - but am also scared shitless about the alternatives. I used to be fine re the dentist, not anymore sad

Thank you bluejasmin flowers Hope you are right

moosemama Mon 06-Jun-16 18:37:05

Different situation, but I was on here recently desperately trying to find a way to have four broken molars, including one possible root canal, fixed and wanting to find a specialist NHS dentist that deals with phobic patients.

As it turned out, I found out I had to re-register at my old dentist's surgery to get the referral to the specialist centre. Went to my first appointment and the dentist was so lovely that I decided to give it a try having the work done there.

Turns out it was nowhere near as bad as I thought, just two small fixes on one side, a filling replacement where I had assumed I needed a root canal and the crown putting on top of a root canal I had done years ago, but never went back to have finished. That still seemed like a lot of dental work to me and I was still really scared, but agreed to give it a try.

Had my first appointment and he did the first two easy fixes. As he was drilling into old filling and just filing the edge of the tooth for repair I managed to do the whole thing with no anaesthetic at all (I have problems with local anaesthetics working). It only took 15 minutes and although a little uncomfortable (not the tooth itself, more having my mouth open, saliva swabs etc, in fact the worst bit was when the nurse got the suction thingy stuck to my lip! grin) there was absolutely no pain.

I have an appointment to go back and have the other two teeth fixed next week and am obviously nervous, but no longer terrified. If you'd asked me a couple of months ago if I'd have had all this done I'd have laughed, but the good appointment has reminded me that when I had my root canal done (under my maternity cert 7 years ago) the same dentist was awesome, there was absolutely no pain, he kept my anaesthetic topped up all the time and was very sympathetic, stopping when/if I needed to (he gave me a hand signal for if I wanted him to stop).

I feel so stupid for not going back and getting the crown done at the time now, but my mat cert ran out and as I had a temporary filling on it that lasted until last year, I convinced myself I could get away with it and we couldn't afford it anyway.

I am so glad I went back and fully intend to stay on top of it with regular appointments from now on - and I speak as someone who went first 17 then 7 years between visiting the dentist.

The first thing you need to do is book a registration appointment. They should have a look at what needs doing, probably take a couple of x-rays and talk you through a treatment plan and the costs involved. You absolutely do not have to commit to anything at that point. You can go home and think about it or try another couple of dentists until you find one you feel comfortable with.

Honestly, you couldn't be more scared than I was about it all and I swear my root canal was painless and also such a relief after having so much pain in that tooth.

ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Mon 06-Jun-16 20:05:39

Moosemama, what a lovely reply, and thank you for taking the time to post flowers It's good to hear a positive root canal story (never thought I'd write that in a sentence!)

ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Mon 06-Jun-16 20:06:46

I am currently registered with a dentist, and attend all my appointments - but am shaking like a leaf all the way through and the worry of root canals / what this lump is keeps me awake a lot

Maybenot321 Mon 06-Jun-16 20:22:43

OP the lump on your gum is a chronic dental sinus, which is associated with your dead tooth. It's basically a tract that communicates with the dead tooth's roots. Usually painless, because pus etc, able to discharge through the sinus into the oral cavity. These chronic conditions can become acutely infected(facial swelling & pain) however and vice versa, until the underlying problem is sorted out.
The available treatment is either extraction or root canal treatment. However, for root canal (and a crown) to be a possibility, there has to be enough of the tooth left at the outset. A very broken down tooth is a non-starter.
IV sedation with Midazalom is possible for anxious patients. You can ask your General dentist to refer you; however it is very difficult/impossible to do successful posterior molar root canal treatment under IV sedation.
Your DC head butting your face won't have helped but ultimately the chronically infected tooth is the issue.
Go along to your general dentist and get the ball rolling; best wishes.

Maybenot321 Mon 06-Jun-16 20:32:15

Also FWIW as the patient, I've had root canal in an upper incisor and it was fine.Painless during the procedure (good local anaesthesia); after local wore off, was sore for the rest of the day but manageable with regular painrelief.

ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Mon 06-Jun-16 21:47:30

Maybenot321 - thank you so much for this, it's really helped. Can I ask re the sedation - is it a bad idea because of how wide I have to have my mouth open given the problem tooth is a molar? To do with aspiration? Just wondering - had 2 X upper wisdom teeth out a few years ago under a GA and they said I couldn't have sedation then to protect my airway...

Maybenot321 Mon 06-Jun-16 22:54:41

Patients having IV sedation for dentistry on the whole tend not to be able to open their mouths wide or for extended periods of time. Access can be a problem. Root canal usually is done under a rubber dam primarily for moisture control and also to safeguard against inhalation/ingestion of the root canal files/instruments. Rubber dam, Root canal treatment &IV sedation is just about manageable on Incisors, Canines, Premolars but a really tricky combo on molars.
Not sure why you weren't offered IV sedation for the Upper Wisdom teeth extraction, 🤔??
There are some medical conditions that preclude IV sedation but generally, conscious sedation has less risks than GA.

ThenBellaDidSomethingVeryKind Tue 07-Jun-16 18:13:50

Ah, ok. Happy to have a local / sedation / aaaaaaalllll the drugs for a root canal. grin Dunno re the wisdom teeth thing. As I say, at the time was told because they were upper I automatically needed GA to protect my airway... Weird.

Chrisinthemorning Tue 07-Jun-16 18:21:25

Just wanted to say the advice maybenot321 has given is spot on imo (dentist) and good luck with your treatment

Mishaps Tue 07-Jun-16 18:26:36

I've had root canal filling - didn't feel a thing. Just got bored and uncomfortable sitting in the chair.

mayhew Wed 08-Jun-16 10:49:10

I tried root canal for a tooth in a the same position and similar state. My dentist warned me it might not work but I was desperate to save the tooth.

It didnt work and i had an extraction. Although I cried at the time, through disappointment and vanity, its actually fine. Its not visible when i smile and no eating issues.

gingeroots Wed 08-Jun-16 11:03:00

I've had various root canals ,honestly they don't hurt .

I'm brave about some medical procedures but not about dental work ,not at all .

I think dental procedures and dentists are a million times better than they were . I'm actually quite cross and disheartened how root canal work has become a buzz word for agony and misery ( I hear it spoken about like that on TV ) because it must put people off having it done ,build up problems for patients and make dentist's work harder .

it honestly ,honestly is fine .

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