I had a problem where my tooth number 19 became sensitive to cold. I didn’t have a regular dentist because I have a bit of a dental anxiety. Generally, my teeth stay healthy, but this time I could tell something was wrong. I looked online and there was a dentist who called himself an emergency dentist which meant he would see patients who didn’t have a regular dentist. I went in and he did a quick examine and some x-rays. He told me that one of my wisdom teeth is impacted and should probably be extracted, but if I wanted him to do a filling instead, that could fix it as well. I went ahead to have him do the filling. It was just a few days after that when everything blew up. I was in tremendous pain. I went back to the dentist and he adjusted the filling and told me to take over-the-counter pain meds. I mentioned the pain felt deeper and closer to tooth 19, but he said the only other option was to extract the tooth. I asked for a referral to an oral surgeon and went to have the tooth extracted. That seemed to help things and I was relieved. However, when the prescribed antibiotics and pain meds wore off, the pain returned. I could not understand that because there was not tooth left. Eventually, I ended up at the ER in so much pain I didn’t know what to do. They told me that I had an abscess on the tooth which I’d been telling the dentist all along was the problem. I called him and he just told me to give it time. Instead, I went back to the oral surgeon because I didn’t trust the dentist any longer. He said that he didn’t do root canals and I need an endodontist. So, I found an endodontist. I’m out a ton of money and time, not to mention all the pain I’ve been in. To be honest, I’m more likely to avoid the dentist than ever before because of this. Is there any way I can get at least some of this money back from my dentist for all these unnecessary procedures?
What a horror story! I am so sorry this happened to you. I would consider this gross malpractice. Here is why:
1. The sensitivity to cold should have told your dentist right away that a root canal treatment was likely needed. If he didn’t like doing root canals, he could have simply refered you elsewhere.
2. The pain didn’t go away with the filling and he is just adjusting your bite? That was another symptom of the need for a root canal treatment.
3. You have an extraction and that doesn’t help the problem, should have told him he had the wrong tooth. Instead he tells you to “give it time.” Time for what? To develop a bigger infection and leave you with a dental emergency?
My suggestion is that you go to the dentist and ask him politely to pay for all the extra, unnecessary procedures. If you end up losing the tooth, he should pay for its replacement as well. If he refuses, you have a good malpractice case.
Help for Your Dental Anxiety
I want to make sure you are aware of dental sedation. This can allow you to get your dental work done without anxiety and without pain. There are different levels of sedation. My suggestion for you would be to use oral conscious sedation until you are comfortable at the dentist again. It is administered by a pill. However, it is so strong you will need someone to stay with you a ride to and from the dentist as well as stay with you for a few hours after your procedure until you are steady on your feet and lucid again.
Patients who use this say it changes their life. In fact, they are so relaxed that most people just sleep through their entire procedure. Give this a try, with a different dentist than the one who was such an incompetent disaster.
This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.