Monthly Archives: December 2017

Emergency Dentist Accused Me of Being Crazy

I’m beyond frustrated and don’t know how to proceed. I’d gone to see an emergency dentist. He did an exam and x-rays then said I needed a root canal treatment. I scheduled and followed through with the procedure. It’s been some weeks later and I’m still in pain. I called him and he had me come back in. He re-did the x-rays and exam and said that the tooth was fine. I insisted it wasn’t and that I was in pain. He insisted there’s nothing wrong with the tooth and gave me a referral to a neurologist. I left, still in pain, feeling like he was saying it was all in my head. I’m not crazy. My tooth hurts.

Karen D.

Dear Karen,

Female Patient in pain needing an emergency dentist
Do you need an emergency dentist?

I’m sorry you felt like your emergency dentist dismissed your concerns. While it sounds like he is missing some chairside manner (and possibly a sensitivity chip in his brain), I don’t think he was calling you crazy or thinking the pain was in your head. Sometimes nerve damage can occur which can mimic the pain you’re having. A neurologist could help diagnose if that’s the issue. That being said, I wouldn’t consider a neurologist the next logical step.

Other Options the Emergency Dentist Could Have Suggested

  • Sinus Problems: The next thing I’d check is if you’re having sinus problems. The roots of our teeth are very close to our sinus cavities. You may have noticed in the past when you had a sinus infection or a very bad cold that the upper parts of your gums hurt. This is because sinus pressure can sometimes mimic tooth pain. It can feel awful too. If you’ve had a cold, I’d try a decongestant to see if that helps or ask your doctor to do an x-ray.
  • Second Opinion: It’s also possible the emergency dentist was rushed when he re-checked you and missed something on your x-ray. Or possibly, he didn’t want to admit the root canal didn’t work. Though, even if that were the case, it wouldn’t necessarily mean he did anything wrong. Root canals sometimes fail even when everything is done correctly. However, a second opinion never hurts.
  • Referred tooth pain: I don’t know how extensive his x-rays were. If he limited the range it could actually be another tooth that’s the real problem at this point and you’re experiencing referred pain. Again, a second opinion should clear that up.

If you’re in pain, don’t give up. There are dentists out there who will take you seriously and work to find the problem. If he missed something, you don’t want the problem to get so bad you end up with a tooth extraction. Dentists, like the rest of the world, are human and sometimes make mistakes. Don’t be embarrassed to bug them until they figure out what’s going on. But, if he’s not understanding, you may have to bug a different practitioner.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.

Why Can’t I Keep a Dental Implant?

I don’t know what to do. I’m on my third dental implant at the same spot and my dentist said he’ll only give it one more chance. I want to get it right this time. Here’s what’s going on and maybe you can tell me what I’m doing wrong. I certainly can’t figure it out. I had a dental implant placed. It snaped off after three days. I didn’t eat anything hard with it because I was kind of babying it and working my way up to harder things. The dentist offered to replace it for free but I needed bone grafting in order to have it placed. I did that. Then after the next implant procedure was done and waiting period over, I got the next crown. A month later it broke off. I was even more careful the second time but it still didn’t stick. What do I do? I’m just about to have the next bone grafting done.

Angela F.

Dear Angela,

Dental Implant Diagram

I’m going to tell you up front you are definitely not the problem. I’m very sorry your dentist is putting you through this. There are some general reasons for dental implant failure:

  • Infection
  • Premature placement
  • Cheap implants
  • Improper Placement

Infection is the most common. Smokers are at the highest risk for this. You’d know if you had an infection so don’t worry about this one. The next option is premature placement. That’s when your dentist doesn’t give the implant enough time to integrate and build up bone structure around it. I don’t think this is your problem. This generally manifests by the implant coming loose and falling out. That’s not what yours is doing.

The most likely scenario for you is your dentist is using cheap implants. This is an example of when cheap doesn’t equate with affordable. A dental implant structure made in the United States will cost a dentist several hundred dollars. But, a dentist can get one made elsewhere for a few dollars. When they’re not properly made, they snap. Though, another reason for them to snap is improper placement. Either one is your dentist’s fault.

How to Get a Succesful Dental Implant

Your dentist should have clued in to what was going on after the first failure. Because he didn’t, I’m concerned. I don’t think it will matter if you have him do it another time. He won’t get it right. You’re best bet is to ask him for a full refund. He should give it to you. If he doesn’t, there are any number of qualified implant dentists that will back you up if you go to them for a second opinion.

I want you to look for a dentist with significant post-graduate implant training. For instance, Dr. Potts spent three years doing an internship at an implant institute. Have a dentist like that replace your implant for you, you’ll likely find you have a much better experience.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. David Potts.