Just need to vent... why I despise dentists. Went from a filing to major jaw surgery.
I went in to a dental office on February 13th for an exam and cleaning. They found several cavities and we set up an appointment for the following day to fill two of the cavities, one of which was causing pain. They were unable to get me into the same office and set up an appointment at another one of their offices for the following morning. I then saw a 2nd dentist, who upon looking at the x-rays stated that tooth #31 needed to be extracted. I asked him why he felt that way as the previous dentist said he should be able to fill the tooth. He pointed to the x-ray and said "I don't know why he didn't see that"... I told him that I did not want the tooth extracted and he said that was the only option. Thinking that he was the professional, I felt I had no other choice than to have the tooth extracted. Big mistake...
First, he never even attempted to repair the tooth. Second, he never went over any of the repercussions of having the tooth extracted. That tooth supported the two molars above it and I’ve been told since, that now the tooth has been extracted, the two molars have no opposite force bearing on them when I bite down and if I don’t get an implant, those two teeth will loosen and eventually fall out and cause more problems. The average cost of an implant is $3500.
The tooth was extracted on Thursday. Over the next 3 days, there was pain in my lower right jaw and tongue. By Sunday morning, my tongue has swelled up and I could barely talk/breath through my mouth. I was really worried and since their office was closed, started feeling around on the inside of my mouth. I found a needle sharp piece of tooth, which I was told later, was bone, protruding out horizontally and it actually dug a hole into the base of my tongue, which I’m assuming then became infected. I put force on the sharp piece and it either broke off or moved… I couldn’t find it afterwards. By the end of the day, the swelling had gone down significantly, but there was still a lot of pain. I called Monday and explained the situation and they had me come in that afternoon to have it looked at. The 3rd dentist I saw that day said everything looked okay and that the stiff jaw was typical after an extraction.
By Thursday, the pain in my jaw and the stiffness increased; I couldn’t open my jaw 1 inch at this point, so I called again and was told that it wasn’t normal and for me to come back in that afternoon. I go in that afternoon, they clipped off some pices of bone that were causing discomfort and I was basically told that the stiffness was normal after an extraction and it should be fine in a week. I was also given another prescription for an anti-biotic.
Well… by Tuesday February 26th, there was no improvement, so I called the office again and they said they had an oral surgeon in a 3rd office and wanted me to go see him. I explained to him, that if anything, my jaw was even more stiff, but it was not as painful when trying to open my jaw. The oral surgeon said that it was due to a dislocated TMJ disc. He gave me a prescription for a muscle relaxer and said that if the disc didn’t pop back in by itself in a week, they would send me to the dental hospital.
On Monday, March 4th, 2013, I called and spoke with both the office manager and practice owner and was told that the problem I was experiencing had nothing to do with the extraction... Hmm.. I could eat before the extraction and not after... *scratching head* The practice owner said that I would need to see a specialist and I told him that I couldn't afford the out of pocket expense and his reply was "There must be a free clinic somewhere".
On Wednesday, March 6, I went to see an oralfacial pain specialist and was diagnosed with a rare case of acute lock jaw (TMD). She is recommending 3 weeks of therapy and if at that time there is no improvement; surgery will most likely be the only option. And The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research considers TMJ surgery to be controversial and recommends that it be avoided whenever possible.
Luckily I work at the university where the specialist practices and they are doing a payroll deduction for the visit, but now they want a $1200+ MRI, 6 physical therapy visits at $130 a pop and then if there are no results, I'm looking at jaw surgery, which I'm sure is going to be rather expensive. And unfortunately, the surgery has such a low success rate, that there is only one surgeon that the specialist knows of that performs the surgery and it's a 3 hour drive away...
All of this over a tooth that was supposed to have a cavity filled…
It’s been 3 weeks today and I can’t open my jaw more than ¾’s of an inch. I have a new puppy coming home in 2 and a half weeks and I’m going to court in 5 weeks for custody of my daughter. Talk about stress…
Just needed to vent…
Alex & Brianna (daughter)
Maximus - Male Sable - Born 1/30/2013