Can you tell me whether I should get a second opinion on this? I had some pain in a tooth that comes and goes. I went in to see a dentist who did an x-ray to evaluate what was going on. He mentioned that a tooth which previously had a filling done is decayed. He said only about 10% of the tooth is viable and when he goes in to deal with it he may have to extract the tooth. Then, he would like to replace it with a dental implant. The idea of all of this terrifies me and I’ve been nauseated every time I think about it. I’m sure he’s right and I’m just grasping at straws but any type of dental work terrifies me and this seems pretty extensive. So, hit me with the worst. Should I just suck it up and get this done or is a second opinion warranted?
I am going to say that you are justified in getting a second opinion. There are a few things that worry me about his diagnosis. First, a tooth that far gone should have started hurting much sooner than you mentioned first feeling a problem. However, sometimes teeth go bad quickly and with little pain. Second, if the tooth really was in need of serious intervention, I don’t think you would need a dentist to tell you. The filling itself would have caved in if the tooth were really that far gone. Third, there would be a huge hole in the tooth for that amount of decay. He would not need an x-ray to tell you.
When you get that second opinion. Make it a blind second opinion. By that, I mean do not tell the dentist who worked on your teeth or what his diagnosis was. Just tell him you’ve been having some intermittent pain and let him evaluate.
You mentioned that you often have fear leading up to a dental appointment. I am about to change your life. Patients who have dental anxiety often do much better with a sedation dentist. These are just general or cosmetic dentists who offer sedation options, such as nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, or I.V. sedation. These medications allow you to have a completely anxiety-free dental appointment. When you get your second opinion, go to someone who offers sedation so if you decide to use them for whatever procedure is necessary you’ll know that is available.
If the tooth is as bad as the first dentist said, though I have my doubts, don’t put off treatment. Something like that can blow up into a dental emergency rather quickly.
This blog is brought to you by Lexington, KY Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Fred Arnold.