I Can’t Finish My Crown Procedure

I had the first part of an appointment to get a dental crown. I don’t think I can go back. The dentist was a monster. He was rough and rude. I felt like I was being manhandled. Do I have to stay with this dentist?

Belinda M. – Staten Island, NY


I’m extraordinarily sad for the experience you had. No one should feel manhandled at a dentist’s appointment. In fact, a dentist should be gentle with all their patients. The rudeness is inexcusable as well.

To answer your question, no, you don’t have to remain with this dentist. You can switch dentists at any point in a procedure and your current dentist is ethically bound to give whichever dentist you choose all the information pertinent to your treatment.

Let me assure you there are kind and gentle dentists. You can get good care. Be careful not to put off your treatment for too long. I know you’ve had a bad experience, so it will be easy to dread another appointment, but this is important.

Do a search for “Gentle Dentist” or “Sedation Dentist” that may help you find a kind dentist more quickly.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Dental Care for a Recovering Addict?

I’m a recovering drug addict. I’m going to a clinic for it and they have me on a methadone schedule to help. I truly am trying to get my life back under control. That includes my teeth. Unfortunately, they’re in bad shape. I’m a little anxious about the work it would take. I went to a dentist and he confirmed my fears. I do, indeed, need quite a bit of work. Once the dentist found out I was on methadone, he said there’s no way he’d be able to prescribe me any pain medicine. I can’t imagine having all that work done without medicine to ease the pain. I offered to let him speak to my clinic and discuss my case if it would ease his mind. He still would have nothing to do with it. Is that going to be typical from every dentist?

Tony D. – Baltimore


It honestly depends on the dentist. Some of them are so terrified of being investigated by the DEA that they leave their compassion behind. The fear is even a whiff of a scandal, even if they’re found innocent, will hurt their business for years to come.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get the help you need and deserve. I’d call around, starting with sedation dentists. They tend to be more compassionate and often deal with patients who suffer from dental anxiety. You’ll likely get more pliable results from them.

I’d also like to say Bravo! for the steps you’ve taken to get your life under control. I know how challenging and frightening that can be. Not to mention the battle you face is with your own body, which often betrays you in cases of addiction. Tackling something like this tells me you have the gumption to find a dentist who’ll work with you. I know he or she is out there.

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Emergency Dentist Said My Dentist Perforated My Sinus

I can’t believe what is happening to me and don’t know if I can trust my dentist. I went in for an extraction. A few days later I started feeling poorly and feeling “pops” in my nose. I called the dentist worried it had something to do with the extraction. They told me to get a decongestant. No mention of anything else. Then I developed a fever. My dentist’s office was closed, but I was in pain and called an emergency dentist. He had me come in and examined me. He feels my dentist perforated my sinus. He prescribed me an antibiotic and said I should be feeling better within a few days. He wants me to follow up with my regular dentist to get this treated properly. I’m not sure I trust my dentist anymore. Is there anyone else I could follow up with this? Could I just go back to the emergency dentist?

Liv T. – Mississippi


I understand your concern with your dentist. It sounds like he did several things wrong. Though it sometimes happens that a sinus is perforated, the patient should be notified right away as well as given instructions on how to aid its healing, including things like being extra careful not to blow your nose.

When you called, they should have had you come in to check for signs of infection. Thankfully, you went to see this emergency dentist. He sounds very thorough and competent and likely saved you from a serious infection.

You can follow up with the emergency dentist. Many sinus perforations heal well on their own. Occasionally, one will need help with surgery. If that’s they case, the dentist will refer you to an ENT surgeon.

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Want an Inexpensive Smile Makeover

I want an inexpensive smile makeover. I know that is kind of like saying I want an affordable mansion, but I have a friend who goes to your office and she says you’re a miracle worker with finding affordable ways to do things. So, miracle worker…hit me up. What’s an affordable way to get a smile makeover? I need to stay under $1000.

Stacey M. – Georgia


Wow! You really are asking for a miracle. Hmm… for under a $1000, the only thing I can think of would be teeth whitening. While you may think that isn’t much, it actually is the fastest way to make a huge difference in your appearance, plus it’s extremely affordable.

Teeth whitening takes years off your appearance. You don’t need a special, expensive cosmetic dentist to do it either. Any general dentist, even your family dentist, can do the teeth whitening procedure.

If you want it done fast, look for a dentist who has in-office whitening. If you want more control over the level of whitening, do the take-home trays. Plus, you have the added benefit of those being less expensive, yet equally effective. They’ll just take a week or two longer.

Also, tell your friend “thank you” for the compliment.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Got Ripped off By the ER and I’m Still in Pain

I had a massive toothache. I don’t have a dentist because I just moved to the area. I went to an ER, thinking they could at least get me some help. Instead, they gave me some over-the-counter pain relievers, charged me $400.00 and sent me on my way. I’m still in massive pain and have no idea what to do.

Greg – Tennessee


I’m sorry for your experience. Most people don’t know that emergency rooms won’t treat dental conditions. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck. If I were in your place, I’d call an emergency dentist. These are general dentists who don’t mind treating non-established patients in emergency situations.

Depending on the cause of your pain, they may be able to take care of the situation right then. If it’s more involved then they have time to deal with at the moment, like a root canal treatment, they will take measures to get you out of pain, then schedule a follow-up visit with you to care for the “root” of the issue.

Who knows? You may even like the dentist so much you end up finding who’ll be your next family dentist.

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Are Dental Implants the Only way to Get Pretty Teeth?

I went to a consultation for replacing my teeth. I asked for prices first. It was obvious from that my only option was dentures. I wasn’t thrilled, but I learned long ago not to get too upset about things which can’t be changed. However, it was quite an additional blow when he told me there is no way to get dentures to look natural. He told me that if I wanted natural looking teeth it had to be dental implants. I truly can’t afford implants. Is there anything kind of in between the two? Maybe it won’t look as good as dental implants, but won’t look as bad as dentures?

Ashley S. – Ohio


I don’t say this often, but I want you to get as far away from this dentist as possible. I don’t want to discourage you or make you feel like you can’t trust your healthcare providers in general. However, this dentist isn’t honest. He’s lying to pressure you into the more expensive treatment. I HATE that. There are plenty of legitimate reasons why implants are superior to dentures. He doesn’t need to make something up. Plus, it’s unfair to guilt someone into something they can’t afford.

If the dentist is skilled, dentures can look not just natural, but gorgeous. If your dentist says otherwise it’s more a commentary on his ability.

The stronger reasons to get implants is to protect your jawbone. If you can’t afford implants, that’s understandable. See if snap-on dentures are within your budget. It will give you some of the benefits of the ideal procedure without the huge price tag. If not, dentures are perfectly acceptable teeth replacement option.

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Can I Get Braces with Dental Implants?

I’m a bit frustrated with my dentist. We were talking about why I needed to have my pre-molars removed. He said my tooth spacing likely had a lot to do with it. I have crowding in the back and spaces in the front. Then he mentioned braces would have helped. He tells me this now…after I’ve had the teeth removed and replaced with dental implants. Is it too late? Can I remove the implants and fix my teeth?

Cynthia – Denver, CO


While you could have the dental implants removed, I wouldn’t recommend it unless absolutely necessary. The implants, if done properly, will have integrated with the surrounding bone. This is important because it keeps the implants in place. If you remove them, you’ll have to start over. But, you won’t be able to just do the procedure over again. You’ll need to have bone grafting done to build up the bone structure. Then you can start over.

There’s a chance braces are possible even with the implants in place. Given the lack of foresight and communication from your dentist, I’d work with someone else for this. Talk to several orthodontists in the area. See if they think it’s possible with the implants.

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Will Sedation Dentist Let Me Stay Until Meds Wear Off?

I’m planning to schedule an appointment with a sedation dentist to have some work done. I know I need at least three crowns and probably have four or five fillings as well. From what I understand of it, the dentist can do all the work at once this way, but the medications will make me very groggy and unable to drive right after. How long will the medicine stay in my system? Will the sedation dentist allow me to stay in the office and sleep until they wear off? Normally my wife can help with stuff like this but she’s away helping our daughter who just had her first baby.

Don – Little Rock, AR

Dear Don,

Congratulations on becoming a grandpa! There’s no telling what your sedation dentist will prescribe unless you talk directly to him. There is a number of possible medications he might use and each one has a different lifespan and affects the body differently. Most people feel groggy for the rest of the day after being medicated, so driving is not allowed on the same day as treatment.

When you choose a sedation dentist, your first appointment will be a consultation to go over the diagnosis and treatment options. No treatment will be performed that day. As part of the consultation, they’ll go over what medications they use and how they’ll affect you. As a general rule, sedation dentists require you to have an adult bring you to the office, take you home, and stay with you for the rest of the day on the day of treatment. There’s a good chance you’ll probably sleep some in the office anyway, but you won’t be able to sleep off the medications and drive later. In fact, most offices suggest that you plan to spend the rest of the day at home; preferably in bed or on the sofa, so you don’t have a fall.

As far as having all the work done at once goes, you may or may not be able to. One of the main benefits is that doctors can accomplish more because you’re relaxed, but if the work is extensive or is in different areas of the mouth, you may still need to come back for multiple appointments.

However, depending on the doctor and the treatments that are necessary, you may also feel comfortable going without medication for some of the quicker visits, such as fillings. If not, then each visit would require you to have a driver and helper for the rest of the day. Your office will go over all your necessary treatment with you and will work with you to develop a plan that’s manageable, so be sure to express any concerns you have about timing and the number of visits during your consultation.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Terrified to Go to the Dentist

I’m sure I have a cavity. The tooth is aching and I see a spot on it. I know I need to do something about it, but I’m terrified of the dentist. Why can’t dentists be gentle?

Kate – New Jersey


It’s normal for people to be uncomfortable with the dentist. Our mouths are both sensitive and personal. Having someone messing around there feels invasive and can make you feel a little helpless. Let me assure you, though, there are gentle dentists.

However, based on what you’ve said above you’ll need a gentle dentist who also uses sedation. This procedure will be extra intimidating to a patient who hasn’t been to the dentist in a while. Plus, the area is already tender and the dentist will need to poke at it a bit.

Using sedation, will give you a pain free experience while getting your dental needs dealt with. Depending on the level of sedation you choose, you’ll need to have someone drive you to and from your appointment.

Don’t put this off. A cavity can quickly turn into an abscess and spread.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Brad Hylan.

Why I Backed Out of Clear Choice?

One woman’s experience with Clear Choice:

I was considering doing a dental implant procedure. I really wanted the best tooth replacement. However, my dentist indicated this procedure could take months. I saw an advertisement for Clear Choice. It talked about how much faster their procedure was. In fact, they said I could get it all over with in one day. That sounded appealing.

When I called, however, the sales tactic was pretty hard. While they gave me a price compatible with my dentists, they insisted I place a $1000 deposit down to hold that guaranteed price. Then I find out they expect me to remove healthy teeth in order to do their procedure. That worried me. I did some more research and discovered their procedure isn’t the “normal” dental implant procedure. Instead, Clear Choice does some kind of short-cut, which does save time, but will likely cost me in the long run–including some healthy teeth. No thanks.

Glad I did some more research.

Helen – Virginia