I am struggling with a lack of confidence in my dentist. She has never had a great chair-side manner, and during my last visit she was abrupt to the point of rudeness. I went in to see her because one of my molars has become sensitive to heat, cold and air. This molar has a really large filling in it that has been in place for about 10 years. I have braces on right now, too, and wondered if this might have somehow caused the sensitivity. I would have asked my dentist about this, but she never gave me the chance.
She walked in, asked which tooth hurt, and then blew air on the tooth in question a few times. She asked if it hurt, and when I said that it did right after she blew the air, but that it didn’t linger. She put some kind of gel on the tooth and said that it would probably heal on its own, but if it got any worse to make another appointment.
I don’t even really know what is wrong with my tooth! She barely looked at my tooth. I thought she would try to determine if the filling was leaking or something, but other than the thing with the air and the gel she didn’t mess with it. What should I do? My tooth is no worse, but it is no better either, and I don’t want to waste my time and money going back to my dentist if she is just going to do the same thing over again. Please help.
Hilary in New Mexico
Dental pain issues are sometimes fairly easy to diagnose, and from what you describe, the probable issue with your tooth was pretty straight-forward. In your case, if the pain had lingered after your dentist blew air on it, that would have indicated that the nerve (also called pulp) of your tooth is irritated, but could possibly heal on its own. If the pain had lingered for more than a few seconds, that would have indicated the need for a root canal treatment. Pain that lingers indicates that the damage to the nerve is irreversible. If you do ultimately wind up with a root canal treatment and the tooth already has a large filling in it, your dentist may suggest a dental crown to protect the remaining tooth structure.
The greater issue here is your lack of trust in your dentist. Good dental care is only possible when you can really trust your dentist, and have an open, communicative relationship. Consider looking for a new dentist, one you can talk to, and one you can trust.
This blog is produced courtesy of Grosse Pointe Woods dentist Dr. Hadgis.