So I went to the dentist last week. The last time I went was only 7 months ago, just before I left Japan but about 2 months ago I had a couple of episodes where something got caught in my teeth in the back and it hurt pretty bad. It would pop out and feel better but then a week or so later something would get in there again. Finally it happened once where it hurt a lot and when I brush in the area there was a lot of blood. My toothbrush came out completely red. I though maybe a filling and fallen out or something so I made a quick dentist appointment.
He checked it out and claimed basically there was nothing wrong, just something stuck in my gums. He gave me some antibiotics to calm down the inflammation and said to come back in a week for a checkup. Whatever was in there popped out later that day and everything was soon back to normal.
I went to the checkup and he said everything was pretty good except that tooth had some deep gaps around it. I guess the way it works nowadays is the dentist has a little prob he sticks between your teeth and your gums and he sees how many millimeters the probe goes in. The further it goes in the worse. I don’t know what’s *good* but he said mine were not too bad except for that one tooth which was at 5~6mm. All the rest were below 3. My dentist in Japan had done the same measurements although he didn’t give me details on the results.
Anyway, we made a schedule for cleaning and 3 weeks later, last week, I was there for the hygienist. He had that hypersonic vibrating pick and everything was fine until he hit that tooth. The dentist had suggested before that it would probably need to be numbed. The hygienist got out the needle and shot me up. No luck. Add some more. No luck. One more time. Again no luck.
The thing is it hurt REALLY BAD!!! Now, I have had this kind of pain before. I don’t know if I’m right but I feel like my teeth are in general sensitive to vibration. I’ve had the same pain in the same teeth for years. I’ve really got to wonder though of the hygienist or the dentist even actually understands the pain. It’s not like the poking pain I feel when he’s digging around in my mouth and sometimes digs a little too deep. That sucks but it’s like getting poked with a needle.
No, the pain I feel when that vibrating needle touches my back molars feels like someone took a 3 inch nail, the kind you build houses with. Put it in a fire until it was RED HOT and then JAMMED IT DOWN THE CENTER OF MY TOOTH about 1 to 1.5 inches deep. This is not the kind of pain I can personally shrug off. This is the kind of pain that would make Jack Bauer talk. Were talking torture level of pain.
by the way, I have some small idea of what torture feels like. When I was in high school I had an ingrown fingernail that wouldn’t heal on its own and my finger got pretty sore. We went to the doctor and he attempted to numb up my finger. He put the needle in the base of my finger, where it attaches to my hand. A few minutes later he tests, the nail is still super painful. So, he injects again near the top joint of my finger. A few minutes later tests reveal … still painful. Finally he injects just under the nail. Few minutes later still painful. So, he says sorry, that’s all he can do, he’s going to have to work on it like that. So, he slices my fingernail lengthwise and then pulls out the smaller of the two halves with pliers. My body practically levitated off the bed from the pain it hurt so bad. That’s when I knew why supposedly pulling fingernails is a serious form of torture. I’ve had the experience 🙁
Well, this tooth pain is on that level. It’s not a pain I can endure and yet I don’t know what to do. I’m not willing to go back to that dentist. His suggestion was to come back and we’d work just on that tooth which he claims just needs to be cleaned and it will be better but the thing is, how can I trust him to make it not hurt if he couldn’t get it right the first time?
Note that I tried nitrous-oxide once and it did no good. It’s supposed to make you not care. All it did though was make me almost pass out. At no time did I stop caring.
What I really want to know is what are my options? My tooth feels fine currently although just remembering the pain seriously hurts. Are there different anesthetics I could recommend? Is there some other way to clean the tooth that doesn’t require the hypersonic vibrating needle? I’ve been looking on the net but so far I haven’t found any good answers. If general anesthesia was an option I’d pay for it but as far as I can tell it’s not sadly.