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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]


I hate going to the dentist. Not the treatments, precisely but because I'm really bad at dental hygiene.

A couple of weeks ago, one of my teeth started hurting. A lot. So I've started, you know. Brushing and flossing and mouthwashing. In preparation to dental visit. They're desperately in need of real cleaning, but at least they're not grungy.

And now the teeth are clean enough that I can tell the tooth has a bad, bad, *bad* chip in it. So I called the last dentist I went to (1.5 years ago) and he's off until next week. He did leave emergency numbers.

So. I've been living with this for a couple weeks already and I'm managing. It's uncomfortable but I'm managing. And I think this is going to be a root canal given the size and placement of the chip. Should I wait until Monday to make an appointment with the dentist I know (mostly from synagogue) or go to the complete stranger for the long treatment? I can also use my old dentist but he doesn't have office hours on Thursday and that's pretty much the only day I can make it without taking off from work.

At this point, I'm thinking of managing until Monday, knowing that this tooth is dead anyway.


Well, if you really can't stand it, you can try Dr. Sorscher on 18th Avenue. He's very nice.

It's more I don't want to commit to a root canal with all that implies with a different dentist, whoever it is.

My dentist did leave emergency numbers, but it's been two weeks - that can't be an emergency, right?

I've also found that mouthwash does a good job of numbing things for a few hours.

Oil of Cloves will numb you right, as will anbesol.

Oh, ow. For the pain, Orajel and naproxen helps some, but I haven't found anything that helps completely. (I was in the same position not so long ago.)

As far as which dentist... unless the pain is unbearable, I would go with whoever you feel easiest with personally. For me (I've had a LOT of dental work, my teeth just suck) the stress level is the single most important factor in how uncomfortable the proceedings are.

Oh, and they've come an amazingly long way with fillings just in the past couple of years, so it's entirely possible you won't need a root canal. My last trip, he drilled out a HUGE amount of my bad tooth--I mean, MOST OF IT--and just filled it right up and it's fine. If it's just a chip and the nerve or root aren't affected, I bet you can get away with a patch.

If the pain was manageable, I'd wait a week longer and stick with the dentist I know and feel comfortable with.

If the pain's unmanageable (can't eat, waking you up at night, etc.) then it's an emergency and should be treated as such. If you need a root canal that's going to be a different dentist anyway, so seeing a different dentist just for the first evaluation and triaging of the pain won't be a big deal.

If the pain is dealable then hang out for your regular dentist. Reason being he's somebody you know, and if you need a root canal you want to work with a doctor he's familiar with. Also because after the root canal you'll need followup work, so chances are you'd rather do that with a dentist you already know.

Feel free to bug me with more questions. This is what I do all day =)

Eric's a dental surgeon, so he'd be doing the root canal anyway. Or, if I go back to Sam, he's also a dental surgeon and did my last root canal. (Sam is great - he interned with phobic patients, which was tremendous for my husband. Jon wasn't actually phobic, but he hadn't gone in 12 years. Sam let me stay in the exam room for the first appointment, which made it all go much easier. After that, Jonathan was fine by himself, which was good, as it took four trips to clean his teeth and twelve more to deal with the cavities.)

I think I would try to split the difference. Can the dentist who's available now apply any sort of temporary treatment, to make it stop hurting so much until your regular dentist gets back and can see you? I'm assuming -- not having been there -- that the chip means there are some exposed innards and what's hurting is their contact with air/food, so maybe he can slap something onto it to cover it up for a few days?