I’ve had a toothache since the quarantine started. Now it is almost unbearable. I’ve heard you can go to the dentist in situations like this, even during the quarantine, but I will be honest and tell you I am absolutely TERRIFIED of dentists. I feel like I’m going to have to go, but is there any way to do this at a hospital where they can knock me out for any procedures?
You are correct that in cases like yours, where you need urgent care, you are able to see a dentist. A hospital isn’t a good solution for you, though. They will not treat dental issues. At best, they’ll give you a $100 ibuprofen and tell you to see a dentist. However, I do have some good news for you.
First, you should know that you aren’t alone in your struggle with the dental chair. Many patients have a phobia of the dentist. Often, this springs from a traumatic experience as a child. Second, and this is the best bit, there are dentists who understand this, are compassionate, and have a solution.
I’m guessing, based on your question, that you don’t have a regular family dentist. I’d like you to do an internet search using the term sedation dentist. ‘for patients with high dental anxiety, such as yourself, I usually recommend looking for a dentist who offers oral conscious sedation. This is administered by swallowing a pill and will absolutely, completely relax you.
In fact, it is so strong you will need someone to drive you to and from your appointment as well as stay with you for a few hours after the appointment until you are lucid. Most people sleep through their appointments. It will give you a stress-free/pain-free appointment.
I say that now because I want you to understand that a tooth infection is serious and that you can get this treated in a way that you won’t have anxiety. When left untreated, they can spread to your heart, lungs, or even your brain. Those turn life-threatening quickly. It sounds crazy, especially given how treatable they are, but people still die from tooth infections in the 21st century.
Treating a Tooth Infection
Unlike other infections, an antibiotic alone won’t “heal” the infection. This is because the pulp in the tooth dies and the medication can no longer reach the root of the infection. A dentist will have to get in there and physically remove the infected tissue. This is typically done through a root canal treatment. If a tooth isn’t saveable, then you will need to have the tooth extracted. This is another good reason to get this dealt with sooner rather than later.
If you lose the tooth, you will want to replace it. Otherwise, aside from the aesthetic issues on your smile, the other teeth will shift or tip into the empty space. This will throw off your bite and could possibly lead to painful TMJ issues. The best tooth replacement is a dental implant. This will be like having a healthy, natural tooth again.
This blog is brought to you by Grosse Pointe Woods Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Theodore Hadgis.