I lost a filling in one of my molars a few years ago. I lived with the missing filling for quite a while, but then the tooth broke, and it got too painful to ignore. I had a root canal treatment done, but never went back in for the dental crown placement, because I just can’t handle that much time in a dentist’s office. The temporary filling fell out about six months later, and I learned to work around the tooth, but recently it has become really painful again. I know I have to go back in, but I can hardly stand the thought of it.
I saw a dentist and he told me the tooth is infected, and that there really isn’t enough of it to save. He said that it has to be pulled, and that the condition of the tooth means they will have to cut both gum and bone. He said it would be best to have an oral surgeon do this under anesthesia, especially given my anxiety about dental work, but that is just not in my budget. He said he COULD do the procedure under a local, but that an oral surgeon would be best.
My question is, can most general dentists competently handle this type of procedure? I don’t want to spend all that extra money to go to an oral surgeon, but every time I think about getting it done my heart pounds and my hands sweat and I feel sick. Pretty intense. I think I’ll calm down some if I think my dentist is really competent to handle this.
William in Orlando
It sounds like you really need to a have a candid conversation with your dentist. Either he is comfortable doing the procedure, or he isn’t, and it sounds as if he will be honest with you about that. It is also encouraging that he has acknowledged that your fear needs to be considered and handled with compassion. You could also consider seeking the services of a dentist that does sedation dentistry, which they may also advertise as gentle dentistry. Very often, the use of nitrous oxide with an oral sedative is the right combination to reduce anxiety and control pain so that the appointment is much less traumatic.
This blog post courtesy of Baton Rouge dentist Dr. Perry.