Dear Dr. Hall,
I am writing to you because I am so depressed about my teeth and I just want some advice from somebody who cares. I have had extreme problems with my teeth since I was very young. As a child we were poor and had no isurance a lot of the time. My teeth were crooked and kind of buck toothed. I also had a lot of cavities and pain. Iremember having several root canals as a teenager. I had a lot of this work done by dentists who obviously did not care. I had a root canal done on my front tooth, but the problem was they would start the root canal but never finish because we could not afford it. I had a hole in the back of this tooth and it became an ugly grayish color and then one day the tooth just broke in half! I felt like my life was over! I was 19 with a broken front tooth and no money! I found a dentist close enough to ride the bus to and cried my eyes out to him! Since my front teeth were so crooked we deceided to get a bridge that way I could replace the broken one and the other crooked ones. A few years later I got married and finally had solid insurance so I set about getting issues fixed, but the problem is that I had SO many issues I could ! not keep up with them! Then I had the worst pain of my life when my ot her front tooth becamed abcessed. I then got a new front bridge which extended from one eye tooth to the other. Then a few years later a bottom bridge. In between this I still had root canals, crowns, ect… Well about a year ago I started having pain in a bottom left tooth.( I have root canals and crowns on pretty much all of my bottom left teeth) I went to my dentist who was out for the day, another dentist who was filling in for him said that I had the start of an abscess on a tooth that had a root canal, and a sinus infection. He gave me antibiotics and sent me to an endodontist who found nothing wrong with any of the teeth. I then went back to my dentist and he found nothing out of the ordinary. Well some days the pain hurt so bad then it would go away. As a matter of fact it went away all summer. Then bam about 3 weeks ago it came back again. I then went to my physcian because I thought I had an ear ache and she said my ear was fine. In between the pain from last year! to this year my husband lost his job, and we had no other choice but to get help from the state and get state insurance. Well let me tell you finding a dentist that cares is a joke. I finally found a dentist who saw me for 5 minutes, said you have TMJ disorder. you can get a mouthguard for $350.00 there’s nothing else I can do for you, bye. I know my teeth pain! Maybe I do have TMJ but I also think I have a bad root canal that nobody can find! I am convinced that that one dentist saw what nobody else could! My pain is like a terrible ear ache that travels down my jaw to my throat down a little ways to my chest. It is an ache type of pain, but I can feel it evolving into some random shooting jabs of pain. I have no fever and when I went to the doctor she checked my blood and said I had no sign of infection. I feel so depressed! I am 35 years old and I’m so embarresed to open my mouth! I have cracked and chipped teeth! 2 obvious looking bridges, Black between my teeth from old fillin! gs, and now pain that consumes me with no chance for help. I want to d o so much with my life but my teeth hold me back! And more importantly how can I go on in this pain with nobody to help me? These dentists are so uncaring and lack the effort to even try! What if they pull a tooth and it’s the wrong one! I am tempted to let them just pull it out, but i’m worried that my teeth wil shift and my bridge will fall out. I also thought about just trying to get dentures but everybody says that’s a terrible idea. I’m so sorry that I rambled on like this, I guess I was just so excited to stumble upon a person with knowledge and who cares about people’s well being. Do you think in my situation I should just let them pull it out? Thank you so much for listing to me! I appreciate it! Regards-Elizabeth
When I practiced, I saw a number of people like you, whose teeth, it seemed, would fall apart faster than I could fix them up and put them back together. It is very discouraging for you, I know, but it was also discouraging for me. And while there are some dentists who don’t seem to care, my experience was that, of all the professions, there are a large number of dentists who really do care – that is why they are attracted to a healing profession. I know there are some who don’t, who are in it for the money, but I think what you are seeing in the dentists you have visited must be a combination of maybe some not caring but also just a feeling of discouragement when they see your situation and wonder how to help you. And some of them might be tempted to be judgmental of your situation – thinking erroneously that the condition of your mouth indicates that you don’t care, so why should they care? But I’m confident you can find a dentist who will understand and be able to help. I know a number of such dentists.
And really, to get a handle on your situation, I think you need to take some action that may be hard medicine. First, keep looking for a dentist who will help you. Call up the office and ask if you can get a tour or just come in for free and meet the dentist and the staff. When you find someone with whom you feel really comfortable, and you sense that they care and they won’t be overwhelmed by your situation, then get into a program to get your dental problems under control. And what you are going to have to do is do all you can to shut down the decay process, so that you don’t have so much decay. And here is how you do that.
A lot of people are under the misconception that toothbrushing is the biggest weapon against tooth decay. Toothbrushing helps, but it is your own saliva that has the biggest defense you have against decay. Your saliva has antibodies that fight the decay bacteria and minerals that remineralize tiny spots of decay. In order to maximize the effectiveness of your saliva in fighting decay, you need to strictly limit the NUMBER OF TIMES you eat. You see, toothbrushing only cleans the smooth surfaces of your teeth. So it won’t clean out the cracks and crevices, and the contact points, and other vulnerable areas. So here is the program – you strictly limit yourself to eating three to five times a day – three regular meals and a maximum of two snacks. Then brush your teeth twice a day – three times if you can. And floss once – at night before you go to bed. That way, there is enough time between eating times that your saliva will have time to repair the little spots where decay starts. Most people who do this program dramatically reduce the number of cavities and the rate at which those cavities grow. In fact, if they’re strict about it, these people will get to a point where they have zero new cavities.
Then you can start getting your teeth fixed. Try to save all the teeth you can. Once a tooth is gone, the bone where that tooth was begins to collapse, and the only way to stop that is to get a dental implant, which is expensive. But all your problems sound fixable.
In looking for a dentist, you might want to try dentists who do a lot of sedation dentistry. These dentists are used to seeing people with “bombed out” mouths, and may be more understanding of your situation.
Good luck. I hope this was helpful.
Read here about the myth of soft teeth.
|We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.|