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Dental Issues - Carers UK Forum

Dental Issues

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
I've just returned from the dentist, after a rather tricky extraction on a molar tooth. The tooth had been heavily filled and refilled over the years, then had suddenly become hypersensitive to heat, cold, and sweet things. In fact it even started reacting to the air in the bedroom last night, when I yawned!

My old (ace) dentist retired a couple of years back, so I was nervous about dealing with a new dentist and wondered if he'd play ball and take the thing out. He was a bit resistant, and theorised that it might just be gum recession causing the sensitivity, but I was adamant that all my teeth are a bit sensitive in that way and I know the difference between decay and sensitivity. He took an X ray and it confirmed my theory, decay had set in. He said it might be saved with a root canal, but I explained I'd gone that route before on molars and they'd failed. So, finally he caved in, but the roots were a bit curly so he had to do something I've not experienced before - he had to drill through the tooth to break it into 3 pieces, then extract each root indivually! Image He gave me plenty of painkiller, but it was all a bit nerve wracking, as it took nearly 20 minutes to remove (previous teeth took about 2 mins). At one point he broke into a sweat! Luckily he got all the roots out cleanly, so I'm relieved about that. Image

I have to go back for a couple of small fillings, but feel that he's passed the test I set him! It's stressful enough having dental work without having to 'break in' a new dentist - it takes time to make them learn that I'm usually right when I say it's decay, plus give me lots of pain killer, then we get along just fine! Image

The dentist said my oral hygiene was good (I do brush very thoroughly, no descaling needed) but suggested I use a mouthwash to try to preserve my teeth. I'm 53 and I now have 4 gaps, several crowns, plus various fillings. I'm wondering about the mouthwash idea - is there any evidence the stuff would prevent decay? Image I'm also wondering about dental implants, but the risk of infection/failure and cost is a bit off-putting.

I expect lots of carers around here are of an age when they've had all kinds of dental issues, so hopefully they'll be lots of response here. All responses welcome, even if it's just to come here and have a good old moan about any dental nightmares you've had, because, let's face it, Mother Nature/Divine Creator seems to have made rather a hash of things when it comes to designing our teeth - they rarely seem to last throughout our lives, and are pretty high maintenance!
Last year, nearly an hour of pulling and tugging and the stubborn toothy peg which had split in 2 wouldn't budge, eventually came out but root broke Image Image ended up having to wait for a hospital appointment to have the small piece of root cut out.
On the whole dentists, needles etc don't bother me, one of the lucky ones I guess.
Mouthwash, corsodyl(sp) is supposed to be good but is b&**&y expensive, I use aquafresh one, blue label on bottle, nice sharp minty taste, no idea if it does give added protection or not.
Thanks No1Mum, I'll do a little googling and see if there's any clinical research to back up that product/other mouthwashes. I never really bought into the idea of needing mouthwash unless it's for breath problems (which is one thing I don't normally get - small mercies!) but maybe it's worth a try.

Your story reminds me of another interesting visit to the dentist, a few years back. Another tooth needed extracting - it had been heavily filled, several times, then bits of tooth had broken off, leaving virtually nothing. The pain was quite bad so I made an appointment, but unluckily my ace dentist was on holiday, so I was faced with a young, inexperienced dentist. Anyway, he tried to talk me into a root canal (no chance, with my dental history!) then caved in and did his best to extract it. One hour later, I left with a cut gum and several stiches, along with the root, which he just couldn't shift! When my own dentist returned I went for a check up and he was aghast when he saw the botched extraction. He offered to take the root out and I was a bit hesitant, but he was convinced he'd get it out clean, in less than 2 minutes. I agreed. He then gave me the most painful injection I'd ever had, as he put the needle in deep, right next to the root - Arggghhhhh!!!! Image The pain bought tears to my eyes, for a few seconds. He then extracted the root in under a minute! Image I also have several crowns that he did, which have lasted 20 years, no problems. He was an AWESOME dentist and when I found out he'd retired I damn nearly cried I was so distraught! Might sound like an extreme reaction but when you're at the age where teeth develop serious problems, you need a dentist who is confident to handle extractions.

My Ace-Retired-Dentist-Who-Nobody-Can-Ever-Compete-With is a very hard act for any mere mortal to follow, however the new one seems pretty good too. Ace dentist told me that many junior dentists are totally out of their depth when it comes to extractions, and he knew of one who had a habit of being sick in the toilet when he knew a patient was booked in for an extraction! Image
I had dental trouble for years, 14 lots of antibiotics in one year alone. Finally, I'd had enough. I'd seen a maxilla facial surgeon to have a couple of impacted wisdom teeth out, under sedation. So I went back to him and demanded to have five teeth out. He took some persuading, but I'd have ENOUGH. After he'd finished the work, he said I was right, all five needed removing, one even had a cyst underneath. I now have a metal plate which looks like it should belong to Odd Job when it's sat on the side, but they are really comfortable, and my health is vastly improved. Whilst I understand that it is better to keep your own teeth, sometimes extractions are necessary.
BB - 14 lots of antibiotics in ONE YEAR?!? Image FFS!!! I think that would be enough to indicate to any person that the teeth are past being useful and more of a hindrance than a help.

(WARNING - REVOLTING STUFF COMING UP!)
After my failed root canal (molar, 3 roots drilled out, took an hour) I had a strange abcess which kept oozing pus into the gum underneath - revolting! Dentist said antibiotics were unlikely to clear it but he could attempt another root canal - I said no thanks! He even suggested I could just live with the absess thing, as it wasn't causing me pain and as the pus was draining regularly the problem was not likely to spread! Image I just thought, what good is saving the tooth if I have a mouthful of PUS every day?!? What IS IT about dentists and their seeming inability to learn when to LET GO of certain teeth, even when the chance of a successful outcome is poor?!? I know dentures can also have their problems, so it's better to keep your own teeth, but there comes a point when you're throwing good money after bad.

The dentist isn't taking any risk financially by trying to salvage very poor teeth with root canal work, because it's not like they offer a refund if it fails - on the contrary, they just charge on top for the extraction! My new dentist admitted that the success rate on root canals in molars is around 50:50, but that's not really good enough for me, unless we're talking about front teeth which show more. I have had root canals on two front teeth, which are holding good so far (fingers crossed), but the success rate is higher there because they only have single, usually straight roots. However, because the nerves were drilled out, that makes the teeth brittle and apparently they can just snap off at the root, so I am very careful with them. <SheWolf is probably tempting fate by even thinking about such things...sorry... rambling... trying to block out such thoughts...>

PS: I seem to have invented some mad new game called "Dental Poker", where someone else places a bet by putting their story forward, then I match their story and double the stake with another gory story! Sorry, I clearly have DOS: Dental Obsession Syndrome.
It was the 14 lots of antibiotics which finally made everyone realise just how run down I was. It got to the stage where I knew the symptoms of another abcess developing that they'd not bother to arrange an appointment, they'd just write out the script and book me in immediately for treatment once the antibiotics had started working. Ultimately my GP told me that M's needs were simply too great for me on my own, and he went into boarding school. As carers we are encouraged to soldier on, but the stress and tiredness is affecting us in ways that we don't really realise, until it's too late. That's why I keep banging on about the importance of regular "me" time, even if the carees don't like the idea.
This topic is close to my heart, as I felt the first throb, throb, throb of tooth ache in my top left hand wisdom tooth on Sunday(both right ones removed years ago.)
Ignored it, but had to take ibuprofen yesterday after noon (only thing that works for me.)
Woken up about an hour ago by pain. Taken two; only just beginning to work.
I definitely need to see a dentist.
But I haven't got one!
I can't even close my mouth properly. It feels as though there is a weight there pressing down on the bottom one. What a birthday pressie for me; bloody tooth ache!
Maybe I'm coming out in sympathy for mum... Just give me a proper pain killer!
Sajehar,

So sorry to hear that you've got toothache - I've been there several times over the last decade or so. Image I'd suggest you keep taking the painkillers at the normal dose to get through the night, then get straight on the phone at 9am prompt to make enquiries of any dentists in your local area.

It's sometimes hard to find an NHS dentist taking on new patients, so it might be quicker to go to a private one, because the nature of this problem means it could impact badly on your sleep and as a live in carer you really do NEED decent sleep. Also, if there's an abscess it needs sorting sooner rather than later. You can't afford to ignore this problem, it won't just go away - pain that's waking you up is more than just a little gum sensitivity. I remember one tooth that throbbed night and day - it even hurt when I moved my head on the pillow, as the blood flow changed - agony!

Some hospitals have dental clinics, but I don't know if many do a walk in service for emergencies (which can apply to anyone in extreme pain really), or whether you'd need a referral from another source (like my Dad, who needs several extractions and wouldn't handle treatment well without gen. anaesthetic/sedation).

If you have any friends or relatives who can recommend a decent local dentist so much the better. When you're on the phone, check if their dentists are experienced/willing to take wisdom teeth out (some dentists shy away from extractions, especially young ones), ask about the price and how quickly they can fit you in.

As a guide, yesterday the dentist charged me £126 for check up, X ray and extraction. Dad's private dentist charges £50 for a new patient consultation and check up, plus a minimum of £145 per extraction. I live down south though, so maybe you'll find cheaper rates up there?
Hi Sajehar, I think there should be some sort of emergency NHS dentist in your area. Do a bit of Googling sooner rather than later. This MUST be your top priority for today I'm afraid. Think of it like a miniature volcano going on in there, pressure building up which can't "blow". Sadly, the painkillers aren't going to solve this one alone. When I had an abcess, treatment started with antibiotics to quieten things down, and then they'd do whatever was necessary about five days later. Apparently if there is too much infection in there, the usual anaesthetic needles don't work. I've been in that situation once, definitely to be avoided at all costs!
OH had 17 teeth out in a week!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!