I had a toothache for about a week. I know I should have gone sooner, but just to be honest, the dentist makes me quite nervous. When I arrived, he did an x-ray and discovered a tooth that already had a filling had become re-infected. He said only 10% of the tooth is viable and wants to extract it and replace it with a dental implant. I have to admit this idea terrifies me. Is there no way to just do another filling?
There are a couple of things going on here that concern me. To answer your question, if your tooth were really that far gone, then an extraction would be the only avenue left to you. Replacing a lost tooth with a dental implant is the best option in that case. However, and this is a big however, I don’t think that is your case. If your tooth were truly that far degraded, he would not have needed an x-ray to determine it. Such a substantial amount of decay would have been visible with the naked eye. In addition to that, the filling you currently had would have fallen out and there would be a gaping hole there. In all honesty, I think you need a second opinion before moving forward.
Let’s say that by some crazy set of circumstances your dentist ends up being right. I doubt it, but let’s just roll with it. Then, you would need the tooth extracted. Leaving it in, turn a dental emergency into a life-threatening one as the infection spread throughout your body.
Dealing wiht Dental Anxiety
It distresses me to see patients in your situation. You want dental care, yet that anxiety keeps you from getting it. The good news is there is a solution, which will enable you to get past that anxiety, caught up on your dental care, and even look forward to going to the dentist.
When you get that second opinion, look for a sedation dentist. This isn’t a specialty, but rather a dentist who offers at least two levels of dental sedation. For a check-up and cleaning, using nitrous oxide is usually enough to relax you. If you need a more extensive treatment, such as a root canal treatment or tooth extraction, you can request oral conscious sedation. This is so powerful, you will need someone to drive you to and from your dental appointment. You will be so completely relaxed that you could sleep through your appointment if you wanted to.
This blog is brought to you by Hilton Head Dentist Dr. Bonnie Rothwell.