I need some advice. I don’t know if I’m not trusting this dentist because of legitimate reasons or because of my fear of any dental work. I don’t want to put myself at risk, but I don’t want to put myself through any torture unnecessarily. I had a toothache starting last week and went to see a dentist today. I don’t have a regular dentist because of my anxiety and just tend to go when an issue comes up. He did an x-ray and said that a tooth which already had a filling would need to come out. He said only 10% of the tooth was still viable and the tooth would need to be extracted. This absolutely terrifies me. Is a second opinion worth it or should I just suck it up and get this tooth extracted? He also said I’d need a dental implant afterward to replace it.
I think this warrants a second opinion. Here’s why. First, a tooth that far gone would not require an x-ray. The decay would be massive and visible. Additionally, your filling would literally have fallen into the tooth. Thirdly, you said this tooth just started hurting last week. I believe this would have been hurting for longer than that. All of this is making me suspicious.
The only thing I agree with him on is a dental implant if the tooth needed to be extracted. They are the closest thing to having a healthy natural tooth again. Plus, it is always important to replace a missing tooth to avoid throwing off your bite and developing painful TMJ Disorder. However, I’m not convinced your tooth does. Something to consider when getting a second opinion is to make sure it is what is known as a blind second opinion.
Many dentists, especially in the same area, are friends with one another. They’re part of the same professional peer groups. It is always awkward for one dentist to say something negative or in disagreement with a friend. Because of that, it is easier for both of you if you just ask him to look at the tooth and give his opinion on how to deal with it without telling him who the dentist was and what his diagnosis was. He should completely understand you wanting a blind second opinion.
A Word About Dental Anxiety
It is very common for patients to have dental anxiety. One thing we want to do is get you to a place where you are not just seeing a dentist when you have a dental emergency. That both increases your anxiety and is much more expensive for you. To that end, I would highly recommend for you to see a sedation dentist for a while.
There are varying levels of sedation. For just your checkups and cleanings, you will likely only need nitrous oxide, which relaxes you. However, whenever you have a more extensive procedure, you may prefer oral conscious sedation. This is sometimes called sleep dentistry, because it is so strong you can actually just sleep through the procedure.
Many patients with anxiety find that using dental sedation as needed completely changes their lives. If you keep up with simple cleanings and checkups you are able to catch things much sooner. This not only will save you a TON of money for not needing the bigger more expensive fixes, but will also make your treatments much less invasive and scary.
I do understand how frightening dental work can be. You’ll find dentists who offer sedation are much more compassionate and understanding about those who struggle with dental anxiety.
This blog is brought to you by Sugarland Dentist Dr. Siny Thomas.