A Large Cavity In Their Diagnosis

, , | Healthy | January 8, 2018

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.

(Recently I’ve had some tooth pain on the lower left jaw which prompts going to the dentist. As I have severe anxiety and my medication causes some dry mouth, it’s necessary to inform the dentist about it. Note that I’ve had anxiety since about thirteen and am now in my twenties.)

Dentist #1: *after having done nothing more than look in my mouth* “Do you have any medical conditions?”

Me: “I have anxiety.”

Dentist #1: “Okay, so, when you have anxiety and stress you can grind your teeth and since you have some gum disease you must be creating a sore spot. I’m not seeing any evidence of grinding, but let’s go ahead and get you treated for gum disease. We’ll need to schedule four [Expensive Treatments].”

(He then leaves, ‘finished’ with his exam, and cannot be found when I go to leave. I am furious that he’d brushed it off as being my anxiety, and I promptly found another dentist who was able to get me in quickly.)

Dentist #2: *having spent a good ten minutes poking and prodding the teeth along my left side* “Okay, and do you have any medical conditions?”

Me: “I have anxiety and take medication for it.”

Dentist #2: “Do those medications cause any dry mouth or irritation?”

Me: “A little dry mouth.”

Dentist #2: “Okay, that’s probably contributed to the little bit of gum disease I’m seeing, but that can be fixed with a deep cleaning. The biggest problem I’m seeing is that you have a wisdom tooth with a massive cavity. It is possible that wisdom tooth is transferring the pain down to here—” *indicating exactly where I’d showed him it was hurting earlier* “Pulling that should help. We can do either pulling, the cleaning, or do them both today.”

Me: “What about the teeth grinding?”

Dentist #2: “What teeth grinding?”

Me: “Another dentist told me it was just my anxiety making me grind my teeth.”

Dentist #2: “Did he mention the grand-canyon sized cavity in the wisdom tooth?”

Me: “No.”

Dentist #2: “Then you might want to never go there again. That was the first thing I saw, and I can’t find a trace of teeth grinding.”

(I ended up getting the wisdom tooth pulled and aside from the pain of having said tooth pulled, my mouth felt better! He also prescribed some antibiotics to help prevent infection from the cavity and that would help clear up some of the gum disease. The cleaning is scheduled for a few weeks from now to give my mouth plenty of time to heal. He also recommended I look into a dry mouth rinse and asked if there were any special procedures to keep in mind for my next appointment because of my anxiety. It just goes to show that looking at the entire problem and not just a small part of it can fix things a lot faster and easier!)

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