Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Uh oh

Ouchy tooth.

Just quietly and intermittently, but it's ominous. A long way back, and a long way down.

I gravely fear we may be talking root canal.

A regular dentist is something I do not have; I've been occasionally to this one and that one, and have heard good things about a third. So here is my dilemma: of three possible dentists, should I go to

-- the nice older man whose surgery is as far across town as it's possible to get without actually having to stop for petrol?

-- the young Greek woman, somewhat less far away, to whom I want to give my business because she's young and Greek and a woman, and by whom two dentist-phobic family members swear, but whose up-loud commercial-station telly, sprightly but vacuous chatter and unsympathetic hygienist all distress me, in a situation where distress is already a given?

-- the 40ish man who practices much closer to home than either of the other two but charges an arm and a leg with one's firstborn thrown in, whom I've never consulted myself but by whom another close dentistphobe swears, and who will apparently knock you out as hard as you like if you ask nicely?

Or should I just resort to prayer and my good friend codeine?

16 comments:

frog said...

As a dentist-phobe, I'd be going for the nice older man across town. There doesn't seem to be additional stress involved, and really, the knock out juice for root canal seems pretty good stuff (I watched, then half-carried, my partner on public transport in Florence after root canal. He can't remember that bit).

Liam said...

I've had root canal work done. Front and centre (thanks to an accidental kick to the face), so not so inconvenient as way back in the jaw, but root canal all the same.
I went to the surgeon to who I was referred by my dentist, who turned out to be a deeply arrogant and unpleasant character. I don't know if dentists have bedside or chairside manners, but he didn't have either. He was rude, brusque, and he fit every stereotype of a surgeon, probably down to the golf clubs and the SAAB.
...On the other hand he had the best and quickest way with an anaesthetic needle to the gum I've ever experienced (and that's a bit), and during the surgery proper he and his hygienist were solicitude themselves. I also had none of the post-work pain I was warned to expect, and ten years later, I have no problems.
Go to an ordinary general practice dentist, who'll refer you to a surgeon anyway, and trust them.
Best wishes, and enjoy your codeine.

TimT said...

Just so long as the dentist you go to is an impressionist.

Have a wisdom teeth problem myself and a booking in a week or so with the 'oral consultant'. What do they want to consult about? Personal hypochondriac kicking in.... now.

Best of luck with the teeth, Pav.

M-H said...

I used to be completely dentophobic, like many kiwis. (Blame the state-provided Dental Nurses who terrorised us at primary school. They weren't allowed to give any injections.) Since I started seeing a very gentle and calm dentist here I've been much better, although it's still something I avoid. I've had root canal work twice, and it's really not that bad. It didn't hurt at all, because it was done on teeth in which the nerve was already dead. It was annoying, because it involved several visits back and forth, but that was the worst of it (apart from the cost.)

I'd probably lean toward prayer and codeine myself, but my advice is to visit the older man across town and see what he says.

Zoe said...

I'll have bachelor number three, thanks Pav.

innercitygarden said...

I'd probably go with whichever dentist your nearest and dearest will most cheerfully drive you to and from, but that's because the frog will not be in Adelaide to carry you home on public transport.

Mersyndol is quite good, but take it when you're already sitting on your bed. You don't want to be doing any walking after you've taken it, in my experience.

Fyodor said...

Shoot the hostage.

Francis Xavier Holden said...

The dentist we all go to is just around the corner and is a very pleasant man. The big downside is his incessant bad jokes - the upside is he does appreciate a good pun or quip back at him.

He does drive a not so new BMW but he will give a series of options with quotes and often says things like "I'd go with the cheapest as although they are theoretically not the best available -I've had no problems in 10 years"

And - although I'm not worried about the pain etc - he always says "There is no need to feel any pain whatsoever" - if needed he'll start with a numbing swab to the gum prior to a titsy needle to numb it further prior to the BIG needle.

There is no need to have any pain these days. No need at all. The dentist should be able to give you strong painkillers for aftercare.

If not you can get Nurofen Plus at any chemist cheaply and there is about 12.8g of codeine in each tab. Depending how sensitive you are to dosage 2 should do the trick most times.

Dunno who to go to - quality work is a must, then cost and ability to talk to you as if you were a human.

Elsewhere007 said...

Speaking as a Virgo, I recommend going to the dentist toot(h)-sweet.

I prefer female dentists because they have smaller hands and tend to have more interesting conversational topics than male dentists (let's face it, there's a lot of listening to be done in that dental chair.)

I have a friend who is a postgrad dentist student in Adelaide and a very good dentist herself (I'm told by others who've been to her in Alice). I could ask her for a recommendation, if you like. (She doesn't practice herself at the moment.)

Bernice said...

Codeine + alcohol x hourly = closest taxi ride

Helen said...

I have nightmare memories of my Adelaide dentist, whose name was Plumber. True. Since you're in Adelaide, avoid anyone with the name Plumber (Jnr).

I'd go for the third one with maximum knockout drops. Funnily enough, I don't care about post pain - it's what's happening in the chair (and which I can't see) that I'm afraid of, any post op pain is somehow not so bad.

Di said...

Have you tried swishing dolomite around in your mouth. It's quite soothing, alcaline and, I think, quite harmless. Plus lots of water.

My dentist is extremely strange and creepy looking. He creeps up on one, has no small talk but only abrupt questions. OTOH he's quick and deft with his hands and I gather his assistants like him. (are assistants now 'hygienists' -not 'dental nurses'?) He really is very strange. I've recommended him to a number of people but several have fopund him far too weird.
Strangely, word verification is 'decavit' - how weird is that?

Anonymous said...

I'd go to the 40-something man nearby (he's the closest, and he sounds as if he is running a decent dental practice). If he can't do the job, he'll refer to an endodontist. Root canal treatment, if done expertly, is really nothing to be too scared about. It's a relief to get rid of the pain (and prevent deep jaw abscesses, which can only lead to further trouble), and the tooth is saved. Local anaesthetics used by dentists nowadays are incredibly effective - there's no need to be knocked-out during the procedure, and post-procedural pain is usually not significant. The cost of these sorts of treatments is admittedly quite a blow to the budget, but so is any other unplanned expense. It's definitely worth making an appointment ASAP, as there might be further waiting involved in getting to the specialist, if this is required. (Too much codeine over too many days can cause various side effects, so it's prudent to go easy on those.) The only feeling I had after a recent root-canal procedure was relief. Good luck!

anon.

millamant said...

What Anonymous said, plus a root canal filling is less expensive than an implant...Word verification: dented!

Mindy said...

I've had a root canal done, after antibiotics to get rid of the infection so he could do the work. I went the cheap option, then went to the other more expensive family dentist far far away to have the problem fixed properly. Root canals aren't actually that painful, it's just the method used that is slow and tiresome. Have something done soonest it can get a lot worse and take a lot longer otherwise. Trust me, you don't want to go there. Also, there may be another treatment that they could do now, rather than having to do a root canal later. I'd go to the dentist that the person picking you up can most easily get to. Good luck.

So Give me Novacaine... said...

Im a big believer in "you can never have too much information" as a physic for fear alleviation.

Also, Im an armchair dentist* and a little information can be a bad or good thing.

here goes (sorry for the length):

Now why do you think its root canal work???

Do you think you have decay which has broken through to the nerve??? How do ascertain this????

Did you hit the tooth, have you had a blow to the jaw in recent years which has caused the nerves to up and die???

You dont know do you???

First thing you should do PC is not to diagnose yourself with maybe's. Makes the fear grow like a mangy beast that blocks the path to pain relief. Remember PC. The dentist is your friend!!!! They give you drugs!!!!

So just get to the dentist, any dentist with a good reputation. Its just as likely to be a hole. An xray will determine it.

Third thing, in the event you need Root Canal - Its Not so bad, as people have already noted here.

Root Canal Step by Step.

You will walk in. Try not to shake. Dentist will probe, make small talk, ask questions. Will give you an xray which may or may not show anything. If inconclusive, he will do other small small tests. Will tell you what you have. In the event you do have an infected nerve....

... a needle will solve all your woes. Root Canal takes about 2-3 visits to sterilise and pull the nerves, then fill the canals. The only pain you could feel is if

a) you have serious infection which makes the anaesthetic a little ineffectual as the ph levels have been disturbed (this does not sound likely as you would be climbing the walls in pain right now and you would know it)


or b) during the obduration process (the last visit) when they are filling the canals, you will feel maybe some air pressure up the canals.

a) is worse than b) and while it might be possible, it has already been established it is not likely that you have a massive infection as you would know it.

b) only lasts a few seconds.

a) is generally resolved by shoving some antibiotic down there, putting in a temp filling and giving you a script for antibiotics and letting it settle for a week so the dentist can give you some anasthaetic and do his job next visit.

Its just uncomfortable and boring mostly PC. The rubber dam ( a plastic thing they wrap round the tooth) and across your mouth is irritating but thats it. You will want the TV on I reckon.

Too much information? No way. Not enough information. I promise you root canal just has a bad reputation. I see far more pain endured during clean up processes. Please dont get yourself knocked out (as opposed to gas which you should try at every opportunity - it doesnt get rid of pain but feels good) - its way too expensive and one little needle should get rid of the pain.

*Disclaimer: However I am not a dentist. Do not use this as a diagnosis. I am just armchair value - its just money for nothing and your tricks for free on the internet.