Tag Archives: sinus pain versus tooth pain

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.

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