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Can I ask about a dental appt? Don't know where else to put it...would like some advice (a bit long)

(37 Posts)
LeoandBoosmum Sat 22-Nov-14 12:19:30

I made an appt for the first time in 2 years. I explained issues with the stairs and was given an appt with a specified dentist downstairs. When I got there I was told said dentist was upstairs so I reiterated I'd booked with her because I'd been told she worked downstairs. I was told to wait and they'd sort it out. I waited about twenty mins or more and was then told I was seeing another dentist.

The dentist called me and I got in the chair. The - who I assume to be - dental asst. was in and out and didn't make a move to assist the dentist. The dentist looked in my mouth - after almost blinding me with the light - and asked where the pain was. I explained I had niggling pain, nothing specific, just some tenderness generally when eating which made me think perhaps some filling were in need of replacement (at this stage she looked at my notes, mentioned some meds I don't even think I'd yet started last time I was at the dentist and mentioned a medical condition I have (nothing catching, to do with muscle pain). Not sure if dentists can access a database of the meds you're on but she seemed to spend more time on that than my teeth!

Anyhow, she had a cursory look (I was concerned because she didn't do that thing dentists have always done IME know, when they start using combos of numbers and letters when examining the teeth...).
Anyhow, after what seemed like a glance, she said she thought I may need a feeling on the lower side and did an xray. She put this 'card' in my mouth and told me to bite. I explained I was but it was cutting in to the bottom of my mouth. She did this repeatedly until she said it was complete, then told me to go back out and wait.

After a few mins she called me back in, said no filling was needed and said my mouth looked inflamed and started rooting around for toothpaste samples and mouth gel. Then she said, 'I'll see you next week'. When I went to make an appt at the desk I was given an appt and told I'd be seeing that dentist again because she'd done the initial exam.

I am reliant on a friend to bring me in to the dentist and I don't want multiple appts to no end as I am also not too well and it's not easy for me. I also do not like the dentist's. I was so perplexed by this dentist (lack of a proper examination) that I called and asked if she was a qualified dentist...very embarrassing! I was told 'yes' and when I said I was asking because I'd never attended an appt where a proper exam wasn't carried out I was told they don't always do that, that she might at the next appt.

Would you find the lack of a proper examination odd? She literally glanced, took an xray badly and gave me some toothpaste with the instruction to come back. It seems I have to see her again.

I don't want to create a fuss but she hasn't inspired confidence. I don't want to complain but it seems I have to see her next time (according to the receptionist) and if I ask to see someone else it may not go down well or I may be asked why and I'm not sure what to say as it was a generalised feeling the dentist didn't really know what she was doing (and I hate tension...I suffer with anxiety and don't want to get the sense when I next go that the 'one who complained about so and so' is in).

If I call up and ask to see another dentist, what reason can I give? She was not unpleasant or rude to me so I can only say I was not happy with the standard of treatment... Ugh! I hate situations like this. I'm already not well and suffering with anxiety!

Any advice would be apreciated (I know I sound like a wuss!)

Sorry this is long.


LeoandBoosmum Sat 22-Nov-14 12:21:11

Sorry, feeling should say filling!

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:24:19

The xray and her look would have shown if you need a filling.

The toothpaste and gel.would help the inflammation which she thinks is the cause of your pain. Not sure what else she could have done?

123upthere Sat 22-Nov-14 12:26:38

Change dentists - you never have to explain why or you can say personal preference she sounded dodgy unsympathetic and your instincts are trying to tell you something

Greengardenpixie Sat 22-Nov-14 12:27:50

If you are not happy go to a completely different dentist. Maybe somewhere thats closer? You are paying them for the can choose!!! If you lack confidence in who you got then change.

123upthere Sat 22-Nov-14 12:27:52

Certainly shouldn't she have counted the teeth

I think her abrupt manner has put your right off - I would tell them after you have changed dentists that you found her manner unsatisfactory otherwise how else will they improve

Don't be intimidated

LeoandBoosmum Sat 22-Nov-14 12:29:45

Thanks Fanjo. It's just that every single time I've ever been to the dentist -(and I've not been for over 2 years so I think my mouth would need more than a glance which is literally what I got) - I have had a proper examination (you know, the thing where they cout through your teeth, mention issues and then the issues get written down on a diagram)? None of that. I was just like nothing I've ever experienced.
I don't know if I'm being cynical...but I wondered if they'd either overbooked or - because I am ill right now and am getting free dental treatment - wanted to stretch my treatment out over more than one visit...

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:30:51

No it sounds like she was just addressing your pain first and will do a full exam when you go back smile

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 22-Nov-14 12:30:57

Hi Leo.

This sounds OK to me to be honest. You told her where the pain was and she looked. When they count your teeth, they are also looking for cavities. The mouth wash and toothpaste is to help with the gum inflammation, maybe she wants to see if it's improved? x rays can often detect cavities that are not showing on the surface so they do need to do these. The card they put inside your mouth is very uncomfortable, and it's painful if you're quite anxious because the muscles in your cheeks and tongue are tense. They have to put it really close to the tooth and it needs to get the root too so it's not the greatest thing to have in your mouth. It literally only takes a minute for the x ray to develop so there's no problems here. I would have expected a slightly longer examination though although I'm not sure how long you were there, my dentist checks my gums as well as the teeth (peridontal screen) to make sure there's no issue with gum disease. He just tells the dental nurse numbers which correspond with how healthy the gum is, so maybe your dentist did that too?

Going to the dentist can be tough, especially if you're anxious beforehand. It can be a good idea to let them know as most of the time they will be more understanding. It is OK to ask them if you're unsure about anything.

I hope this helps smile

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:32:43

If you are booked in for a set time then they don't always have time to do FULL exam AND deal with cause of pain so can be quite standard to deal with pain first then get you back for exam. They can't ge really spend unlimited time on each patient or would run hours late.

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 22-Nov-14 12:32:45

If it was an emergency appointment it wouldn't have been the same as a check up. They literally just see where the problem is and that's it. You have to go back for a full check up.

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 22-Nov-14 12:33:09

Sorry, x post with Fanjo.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:33:19

If you are pregnant NHS patient it wouldn't really make any difference how many visits you had to how much she would get paid either.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:33:54

I'm afraid you have been infected with dental cynicism..lots of it about smile

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:34:44

All sounds fine to me but maybe you would find a more gentle and kindly in manner dentist a better fit so no harm changing if you are not happy.

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 22-Nov-14 12:36:20

Yes, lots! I have massive sympathy for dentists/doctors etc. I do bits and bobs for the NHS.

LeoandBoosmum Sat 22-Nov-14 12:42:38

Thanks LadySybil...
She didn't say anything outloud to an asst. I don't even think the asst. stayed in the room. Maybe there was a cock-up as I'd been meant to see another dentist. I did wait a while so there may have been things going on behind the scenes which meant my appt. had to be rushed?

Do you think it would be okay to call and ask if I am going to have a proper dental check next week, maybe say I don't have an issue with the dentist I saw but I didn't get a full examination so I want to check that will be happening next week? (I could maybe explain that I get anxious - actually they know this as I called beforehand and asked if it would be safe to take my anti-anxiety med - and would prefer not to have to come back for a third time.) In other words, that I don't want to get to the dentist appt and find they don't do the 'count'...I'd like to know ahead of time. Maybe I could say I'm keen to have a full examination (do I call it a 'count') not having been seen by a dentist for 2 years or more?

Thanks so much!

Thanks Garden but not paying right now and NHS dentists are hard to come by here...

123upthere... That's what I thought. I won't mind if she does all the right stuff next week but I would like to know ahead of time that she will and that's very awkward, especially as the reception staff can't really answer that kind of question, I don't think, not without consulting the dentist and then it looks like you're ringing ahead to make sure the dentist knows what she's doing!
Maybe I should just give her the benefit of the doubt and hope for a proper exam next week BUT it'll be awkward if she doesn't do one and then I have to point it out and ask for someone else, not to mention go again (I think the anxiety and effort of three visits would be too much for me right now but I'm keen for my teeth to be healthy!)

Thanks all.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:43:07

Ladysybil I was just joking with the OP about the cynicism smile

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:46:01

I don't see why she wouldn't do a full exam next week

LeoandBoosmum Sat 22-Nov-14 12:47:25

Hi, not pregnant, and it wasn't an emergency appt (though I did say there had been generalised, niggling pain on and off...) Before I took that appt. I had been offered one much later on in December so I don't think they were concerned. I only didn't take the later appt because I would have been anxious till the time and I preferred to get it out of the way (I didn't express that though). So I think it was a routine appt from their standpoint.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:53:46

Oops sorry I misread.

I meant emergency appt as dealing with pain therefore not a routine one. Also they did squeeze you in before December by the sounds of it too

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 12:56:20

Anyway that's just my.opinion. sounds totally standard to me.

If am exam takes.15.minutes and they already use 5 up looking for source of pain it's fair enough to get you to come back as they can't regularly overrun or would be hours late by end of day.

LeoandBoosmum Sat 22-Nov-14 13:00:00

Thanks everyone. I think I will maybe ring ahead of my appt and ask if they can confirm I will get a full dental check at the upcoming appt. I will say I don't want to sound rude, that the dentist was not unpleasant, that I understand she may not have had time at the last appointment, or may have been concerned with pain/ mouth inflammation that time, but that I would like to make sure I will be getting a proper, full examination at my next appt (maybe putting it all in the context of not having had a proper exam for two years and finding dental visits stressful).
Does that sound okay?

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sat 22-Nov-14 13:01:24

Yes just ask if next appt will include full exam smile.I wouldn't bat eyelid at someone asking that ( am dental receptionist )

LeoandBoosmum Sat 22-Nov-14 13:03:40

Hi Fanjo, thanks. No, it was just 'these are the dentists, this one is available then, this one is available now, this one will be available on such a date...which would you like?' No rush or urgency. The receptionist did ask if I was in pain and when it became apparent I'd had some on and off and it wasn't an emergency, she left it down to me to choose. I chose soonest because I would have stressed about the December appt until it happened (although I didn't say that outloud) smile

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