I had a horrible toothache and went to see an emergency dentist. I don’t have a regular dentist and I was in too much pain to keep functioning. He worked me in and determined the tooth couldn’t be saved and needed to be pulled. He went ahead and pulled it right then. I’ve still been in pain and couldn’t figure out what was going on. I started feeling popping in my nose and called the office. He said I probably just have a cold and to take a decongestant. I did, but nothing improved. In fact, I developed a fever. I called back and he phoned in an antibiotic for me. When I didn’t improve I went to my medical doctor. He did some tests and told me the emergency dentist perforated my sinus. What in the world do I do now? This dentist doesn’t seem to care about my health and my doctor is suggesting I go back to the dentist.
There are some serious problems with how the emergency dentist handled the situation. First, he should have let you know that the sinus was perforated. It’s not actually an uncommon thing to happen to patients. Your sinus cavity is quite close to your teeth roots, which is why sometimes when you have a cold or sinus infection, it can feel like a toothache. However, what is serious is this emergency dentist didn’t seem to follow the protocol for when that happens. He should have packed the tooth socket with a biocompatible resorbable sponge material called gelfoam, which accelerates the growth of tissue to cover the perforation. Or bone grafting material can be carefully placed in the socket.
Then, after you called him, he dismissed you. Just telling you to take a decongestant without having you come in to check on your situation was negligent. At this point, you likely need to schedule an emergency appointment with an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist (ENT). He or she will help you. They’ll get you on an antibiotic to deal with the infection it appears has resulted from this first dentist’s negligence. After that, if it’s not showing signs of healing, it may require surgery. But, there’s a chance getting you on the right course of treatment will be just what you need.
I suspect if you don’t have a dentist, it’s because you’re either new to the area and haven’t had the time or it’s possible you struggle with dental anxiety and are avoiding the dentist. If it’s the latter, don’t feel embarrassed. Many patients feel the same way you feel. I’d like to recommend you consider giving sedation dentistry a try. It could change the way you view going to the dentist and allow you to finally get the dental care you need without stress or fear.
This blog is brought to you by Dr. Fred Arnold.