Dental Dread

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by vrDrew, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I'm having some (to me at least) drastic dental work done tomorrow.

    An upper wisdom tooth, two back molars extracted. Plus some pocket-reduction surgery (ie. they cut away your gums, scrape out any tartar, then sew it back up) on a couple of teeth.

    For various reasons I cannot take the anti-anxiety medication before. So I'm (fearfully) counting down the hours.

    On an intellectual level I know this won't be that bad. I'm not going to die, and - externally at least - I won't look any different afterwards.

    But I'm really #$#@!# scared. I know its going to be a couple of miserable hours in a dentists chair, plus a week or two of recovery in various stages of discomfort.

    And words of encouragement or advice?
     
  2. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #2
    Words of encouragement? Okay. It isn't all that bad. I had to get 3 wisdom teeth cut out of my head when I was 18, and about the worst part of it was the anesthesia hangover.

    Yeah, there'll be a bit of pain to deal with, and you're gonna be daintily chewing your food with your front teeth for at least a week, but it's hardly anything worth fretting over. The pain isn't a constant roar you have to cope with, more like the occasional "OW GODDAMNIT".

    One word of advice, buy some cotton balls or some gauze to stick in the back of your jaw over the wounds. Having something to put pressure on back there helps TREMENDOUSLY.
     
  3. sdilley14 macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Can they put you "under" using anesthesia? Every time that I've gone to the dentist and have had any type of major work done, I've had them put me under. Show up to the dentist, sit in the chair, put on the little mask, watch ESPN as I doze off, wake up, DONE! :D It costs extra to have them do that every time, but it's well worth it for me!
     
  4. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #4

    If the wretched things are currently giving you trouble, think, instead, of the blessed relief, secure in the knowledge that it will not recur.

    My upper wisdom teeth used to flare up annually; the last two attacks were the worst ever, agonising and these attacks would invariably give rise to indescribable migraines which would leave me completely poleaxed for three days.

    In any case, I needed a surgeon - not merely an ordinary dentist - to remove them, as they were both badly impacted, and at an awkward (read extremely difficult) angle. When this issue first arose in the late 1980s, removing them would have required a full anaesthetic, something I was not prepared to contemplate for two bloody teeth.

    Moreover, my private health insurer were quibbling, arguing that dental work was elective, and that I needed their clearance first.

    Anyway, medical technology had progressed to the extent that by 2008, a local anaesthetic was deemed sufficient.

    In September 2008, after much postponement (on my part - a full operation for damned dental stuff! I preferred to put up with an evil bout of paralysing pain for a few days on average once a year instead), I actually decided to deal with them, (on the recommendation of my dentist, who pointed out that the pain would recur until dealt with) and thus, my dentist and I set in motion a date for the procedure, where he was to call in a colleague privately.

    As is the mad way of the world, that very night, I was asked to travel abroad at short notice for several months, (which became years) which delayed the operation by a further three years. They flared up while I was abroad, too, a dreadful day, requiring industrial strength painkillers, and an emergency trip to a doctor.

    After a final excruciating bout of pain, in April 2012, I just decided - irrespective of the damned insurance company - to go ahead with the operation to get them removed. So I did - my dentist arranged for the dental surgeon to do the needful, I paid upfront (and claimed, successfully, subsequently, from the insurance company).

    So, to conclude, I have been blessedly pain free for two years. Bliss. Just think of the bliss...of the post operative state, and you will sail through the procedure itself. Given what agony they had caused over the years, the procedure to remove them was a breeze (and the surgeon in question exceptionally deft and skilful). Of course, with hindsight, I am of the opinion that I should have done it earlier....much earlier.

    Good luck, grit your teeth (metaphorically speaking), and you'll come out of it a lot better (once you recover from the immediate after-effects).
     
  5. Renzatic Suspended

    Renzatic

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    #5
    Wow. You did it the easy way. I went to a maxillofacial surgeon to get my teeth pulled, and they jabbed a needle in my wrist. I wouldn't even call what happened dozing off. It was like I was sitting there one second, then the next I was in another room, and it was a hour or two later.

    And what's really weird is that I was apparently walking around and talking to people 20 minutes before I officially became conscious. My first memory was waking up on this little chaise lounge in the outpatient lobby, but by that point, I had already gotten up and been lead back to it 5 times already.
     
  6. sdilley14 macrumors 65816

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    #6
    Yeah, I've definitely done it the easy way. And I've had a few people question my toughness by taking the easy way out every time I go to the dentist, lol. But I don't care. I've had major dental anxiety for a long time. I actually didn't even go to the dentist for 10+ years due to that fear. But, like many people, I let it get to the point where I had teeth that were giving me so much pain that I was forced into going to the dentist.

    The piece of mind that I get knowing that my dental visit (to me) isn't going to be much more than a nap and waking up with my mouth feeling a little numb and funny for a few hours, is well worth the extra $$. :)
     
  7. sviato macrumors 68020

    sviato

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    #7
    I got all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed a few years ago. I wasn't put out or anything, just the inside of my mouth was "frozen" for the two hours or so. Took some anti-bacterial meds after and was put on T3s for a few days.

    I was always afraid of going to the dentist, but just don't look at the tools they're using and everything will be okay. ;)
     
  8. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #8
    In the circumstances, I suppose that my only other piece of advice (one I had to apply to myself, by the way - cue insane giggles) is not to read the book (or watch the movie adaptation, for that matter) of "Marathon Man" before undertaking such a necessary trip to the dentist.

    As others have already pointed out, you will probably be on meds for a few days, with gauze dressings applied, and instructed to eat nothing too demanding while it all heals up. At least, that is what happened when I had mine removed. Candidly, that is all well worth doing for the sheer blessed permanent relief from the torture that painful teeth can inflict on you.
     
  9. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Thanks for all of your replies.

    General anesthesia really isn't an option. I'm not sure if its legal, financial, professional, or ethical concerns - but dental surgeons here in the US are loathe to use general anesthesia, since it carries with it a not-insiginificant risk of death or complication. Plus you need an anesthesiologist present, which would greatly increase the cost of the procedure.

    I do take some comfort from the knowledge that dental surgery in general has made tremendous progress, even in just the last twenty or thirty years.

    And I do feel like somewhat of a baby being scared by this. (I think of Angelina Jolie - and my mother - who had radical mastectomies. All I'm losing is a couple of molars no-one - aside from dental staff - has ever seen.)

    But I still hate having people with sharp steel implements poking around in my gob. Slicing bits up, and pulling teeth out with glorified pliers just makes it worse.

    But 24 and a quarter hours from now, hopefully I'll be settling up the bill and woozily driving myself home.
     
  10. Old Muley macrumors 6502a

    Old Muley

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    #10
    The thing with wisdom teeth is that they can go any which way. Some people have lots of pain and trouble right after removal, others have very little. I am blessed with a mutation in which my lower wisdom teeth were absent; getting my uppers pulled was less pain than some cavities I've had filled.

    Personally, I enjoy going to the dentist to get my teeth cleaned. It's nice to lay back in a comfy chair and just relax while I get worked on. Of course if I was having the amount of dental work done that you are, maybe I'd feel differently about it.
     
  11. Apple fanboy macrumors Core

    Apple fanboy

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    #11
    Eat plenty before hand as you won't want to afterwards.

    Good luck and I hope it goes okay.

    My dad has had some horrible procedures over the years (which I won't go into). I just hope bad teeth are not hereditary. Think I'll go floss….
     
  12. senseless macrumors 68000

    senseless

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    #12
    Bring an IPod and earbuds. Try not to take control of the situation. Just be a bystander and let the expert do his thing. Anticipation is always much worse than the reality. It's unpleasant, but you will be fine.
     
  13. hallux macrumors 68020

    hallux

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    #13

    Interesting you say that about them being concerned about using a GA for the procedure. I had 2 of my wisdom teeth out at 18 (I won't say how many years ago but it's a few less than 20) and there was never a question about using GA, they just did it, it was done by a dental surgeon. I had a third pulled at a regular cleaning by my regular dentist and it was no big deal.
     
  14. Huntn, Jan 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014

    Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #14
    My understanding is that they can use gas on you to make you relax. It just puts you in lala land. Oral surgeons can put you under. Ask about it. Good luck.

    When I was in college I made the mistake of going to a regular dentist to have my wisdom teeth removed. He did an admiral job of numbing me up, but I remember him standing on my chest to crack my molars and some pressure. I guess that was before the offered gas (mid 70s)
     
  15. Astroboy907 macrumors 65816

    Astroboy907

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    #15
    I hate wisdom teeth. Mine are just about in and I'm hoping beyond hope that somehow, my big mouth will save me for once. While I've gone "under" anesthetic once before, it's not something I want to do again anytime soon. Not that it was horrible, but it kind of scared the bejeebies out of me. All I remember was the car ride home. Apparently I was a happy camper coming out of the anesthetic though - apparently all I did for 10 minutes was continually "thank" the staff for their wonderful help :D :D
    Needless to say, the staff (and my parents) thought it was hilarious. Better than some of my family though, who just get grumpy, sleepy, and hungry for two or three days.
     
  16. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #16
    You kids these days have it easy. I had a very old family dentist remove mine (was 19) and all he did was Novocain and a steel bars and a lot of plain old leverage. He did all four that way and I was swelled for a couple of weeks.

    That gave me nightmares for months after that experience.
     
  17. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #17
    I wish I could offer some, but I'm scared ******** of the dentist. Good luck, the upside to this work is your teeth and mouth will be better off after the work
     
  18. LadyX macrumors 68020

    LadyX

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    #18
    Dental Dread

    I had two of my wisdom teeth extracted last year, I was 20. The bottom one was extracted quickly it was the upper one that did not want to come off. The dentist was practically fighting with it, using a lot of pressure. I was really frightened that something will happen but eventually he was able to extract it. My wisdom teeth was in my gums so they had to cut my gums in order to extract.

    But in the end it wasn't that bad really. Although I did faint the next day. It was the blood, I can't stand the sight of blood. And of course your cheeks will get swollen for a couple of days and you'll have some difficulty eating and chewing. Anyway, you'll be fine. Stay away from solid foods. Eat lots of ice cream! Don't dread!
     
  19. nissan.gtp macrumors 6502

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    Virginia
    #19
    I've had tons of dental work -- crowns, root canals, gum work, etc. Despite that I feel anxiety every time. Odd thing is, it doesn't hurt in any significant way (honestly).

    Since you can't take valium (if I understand you post), ask for a "bite block". It's a plastic wedge that holds your jaw open (and you can bite on it!). It helps me because I don't have to hold my jaw open.

    Anyhow, good luck. It's not that bad. As others have said, put cold on it as soon as you can. Freeze washcloths in bags, use them, and when they thaw just re-freeze.
     
  20. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #20
    I just wanted to let everyone who contributed know I survived the procedure. Thanks to all for your words of wisdom, encouragement, etc.

    I'd be lying if I said I didn't find the process a little traumatic. Having a wisdom tooth; two fourth molars, and a bunch of gum surgery all in one sitting was physically and mentally draining for me. I was in the chair for over two and a half hours. Any single one of the procedures would have been just fine - but all of them on the same day left me feeling a tiny bit shattered.

    I'm well equipped with Vicodin; iBuprofen and ice packs. I've got soup and energy drinks to consume for the next twelve hours. And I've got a week a limited brushing and careful eating until I go back to have the dressings and stitches removed.

    On the plus side of things: I don't look any different, and I don't think I'm going to really miss the fourth molars (that had been a big concern of mine.) And considering how long I was in the chair, and the level of skill of the dentist and his assistant (he is rated as the top periodontist in my city) I didn't think the cost ($3600) was outrageous.

    Its going to be at least a month or so before I'm fully able to assess the benefits of all this surgery. But my gums have been bothering me for several years now, and I'm told that the prognosis is excellent - no more nasty infected pockets.

    Thanks again for your words of support. And for letting me vent. I was scared as hell. Now - at the very least - I know I'm going to be OK.
     
  21. LadyX macrumors 68020

    LadyX

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    #21
    Dental Dread


    That's great! You might feel weak for some time and that is completely normal. When you get your stitches removed you won't feel a thing. Get some rest and make sure your head is propped up, it will help slow the bleeding. Hope you have a speedy recovery!
     
  22. Scepticalscribe Contributor

    Scepticalscribe

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    #22
    Great news, indeed. I'm very happy for you, and very glad that the procedures went well, exceptionally well, by the sound of things. Dental medicine has moved on hugely in the past twenty years, in both practice and procedures, and it is a very nice feeling to be able to say (as I can, and, as I suspect you probably can now, too) that you have complete confidence in a (your) dentist even though one can still feel a bit squeamish and uneasy at the thought of having to pay them a visit.

    Once you recover, (and that will take a few days, possibly more, and don't begrudge yourself the necessary healing time), you will be delighted, as both matters, the troubling dental issues, and the trepidation and unease concerning the subsequent and necessary visit to the dentist have both been overcome.

    This is one instance where I strongly urge that you heed medical advice and recommendations; it will aid your healing.
     
  23. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #23
    Good to hear. Did they offer gas as an option or did you not ask? :)
     
  24. sdilley14 macrumors 65816

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    #24
    Good to hear it! It's a great feeling getting something like this over and done with!
     
  25. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #25
    They didn't offer Nitrous Oxide. And I think - because I drove myself - they wouldn't have given it to me. I did take up the offer to get a prescription for Vicodin - but I haven't really felt like I needed it so far.

    I'm quite pleasantly surprised at the general lack of post-procedural pain, swelling, etc. I used a cold pack for a about an hour immediately afterwards, but haven't needed it since. Its more discomfort than actual pain. The worst part seems to be blood in my mouth, and an irritating "tickling" at the back of my jaw where he sutured the wisdom tooth socket. Apparently the sutures will dissolve over the next few days and any remaining will be removed next Wednesday.
     

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