I admit that I have been putting off this dental work, mainly because I’m a coward. Several years ago, one of my fillings came out and the tooth eventually broke. I didn’t go in to have it looked at because I get so worked up about going to the dentist, it’s easier to deal with the tooth problem. Well, when I couldn’t take the pain, I finally went in. That dentist did a root canal. It took everything in me to even go in for the appointment, so when the dentist never followed up with me, I never went back to get it capped. Well, fast forward to today, the temporary filling fell out and I am in pain again. The tooth is more than half gone now and it is infected.
When I saw this new dentist, he told me that because of the infection, the tooth needs to be extracted. He said it is a big job that requires cutting bone and soft tissue and presented two choices – to see an oral surgeon with general anesthesia or to have him to it using a local. When I looked at the cost, I couldn’t justify the oral surgeon, but now I’m working myself up once again. Is this dentist qualified to to this type of work in his office?
-Jen in New Jersey
When a dentist presents choices like this it tends to leave patients feeling unsure and left in the dark. Safety shouldn’t be a concern, but when it is presented in this manner, it is understandable that you are unsure. You need to ask more questions of this dentist.
It may end up being that this dentist isn’t comfortable with his ability and would prefer to send you to an oral surgeon. Since you also tend to be anxious, this combination may not be the best option for you.
It could be that your dentist is just presenting you some options in a transparent way in an attempt to be open and honest. But it very well could be that he’s not comfortable doing it himself. Try to find out more about his sedation dentistry options available? Ask if he uses nitrous oxide gas or oral sedation? Either of these would help keep you calm, more likely the oral sedation would be preferred if you are especially anxious. That said, if he’s not experienced, it would be wise to see the oral surgeon. Then, it’s done right, once and for all. Other questions would be about the roots. If they are straight or if they have bends or twists in them? If they are more complex, again your case may be ideal for the oral surgeon.
Millions of people put off routine dental care and it leaves them with limited, very expensive options. Sedation dentistry is available for the kinds of appointments that you should have done years ago. So hopefully by you sharing your story, you are helping others. For example, if the filling was replaced right away years ago, then you probably wouldn’t have needed the root canal. Then, if you had the root canal completed, a crown would have been placed so you wouldn’t be looking at a tooth extraction. Something for you to think about moving forward.
Hopefully in asking some more pointed questions, you can get a feel for the comfort level of your dentist and be able to make the right decision for you. Good luck to you!
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.