About a year ago, I learned that I needed a filling, but never did anything about it. Fast forward to this week, I saw an emergency dentist a few days ago for tooth pain that had become unbearable, and mentioned this. But, the reason for my visit was for the neighboring tooth. I made the mistake of assuming the dentist would place the fillings, since I mentioned this beforehand.
When I went in, the dentist did some tests, by tapping on my teeth with his mirror tool. This hurt, especially because I was already having tooth pain when I went in. He proceeded to mention that I needed a filling on an additional tooth, but didn’t mention the original one until I reminded him. Then, he told me I would need to return on a later date for the fillings to be placed. He did nothing for my tooth pain. Is it possible that I could have an infection that he may have missed?
Typically, infections are fairly obvious. If he performed x-rays and an exam, it would have been hard to have missed one. Cavities can also cause serious tooth pain, especially if they are deep within the tooth. The pain is not always indicative of an infection, or a need for a root canal. It’s likely the emergency dentist you saw was trying to determine which teeth were causing you the most trouble when he ran the test, but there are other reasons for them as well. Hopefully the reasons and suggestions below will help you determine your next steps.
Reasons the Dentist Ran Tests on Your Teeth
The dentist was trying to best determine which teeth were causing you the most grief, in order to suggest the most effective treatment plan and steps for moving forward. Also, even with the visual exam and x-rays he performed, it is possible for teeth to pass the pain onto their neighbors, which is not always obvious. The various tests he performed were his way of ensuring he didn’t miss anything.
Moving Forward With Addressing the Tooth Pain
It is unfortunate that you mentioned your original cavity when you called the emergency dentist, yet it was missed during the exam until you said something. This indicates that the dentist was possible trying to rush. Therefore, it’s completely understandable that you would be questioning his recommendation.
The best option for moving forward is to have the fillings done as soon as possible, even if by a different dentist. Also, keep in mind that dentists don’t always account for time to complete the dental work when an initial exam hasn’t been completed, as they aren’t sure what you will end up needing, how much time to set aside, or if the patient will go through with the work. If you do move to a different dentist, it would be a good idea to attempt to set an appointment time that is early in the day, but also make them aware that your teeth were just examined and what the diagnosis was, as well as the treatment plan that was suggested. If the dental office is aware of this up front, they can plan for the time frame needed.
This article is provided by the office of Colorado Springs emergency dentist, Dr. Joseph Rota.