Im in my early 50s, in the UK, and have had a dental problem for some time now and wonder whats the best way forward. It started over a year ago.
My first dentist spotted the need for a root canal job in an upper back tooth and didnt do it herself but referred me to another dentist who did the work. He took some X-rays and said there were areas of gum infection, but nothing more was done or advice given about it.
Last year, my regular dentist found a tooth in the same area which she said was in a bad way and gave me the option of filling or extracting it. Currently I still have all my teeth so I chose a filling, with the provisio that if it didnt work it would come out. Unfortunately I cant remember which tooth it was because I have so many dark amalgum fillings, which all blacken the teeth inside so its not easy to tell.
About 2 months after she did that filling, she suddenly left the dental practice without notice.
I started getting toothache and got treatrment from an emergency dentist, who also mentioned a rotten tooth in this area -again it wasnt specified exactly which one.
But the problems continued, including a gum abscess and swelling of the face and I was finding it hard to get a new NHS dentist in my town until a month ago (as many have gone Private). I got one a month ago, though by this time the abscess/swelling had gone again. I told him about the recent problems/history.
After my new dentists first examination (including use of X-rays), he said I had gum infection that has spread to the bones, was incurable, but could only be slowed down by cleaning under the gumline every 3 months (which only he could do -and did on that occasion), and correct cleaning above gumline, which I could do. He added the abscess problems will come back, and there was also a possible cracked filling on a tooth in the problem area, but then told me to make arrangements for a 15 minute appointment to repair a filled tooth on the opposite side of my mouth, which was done last week.
However, following that work, he said I was OK now for another 6 months -there was no reference to the 3-monthly clean, nor the possible cracked filling in the problem area, which surely was a higher priority. And over the last few days my face is starting to swell up and down again.
The abscess when visible appears as a yellowish blister, and today isnt visible (though 2 days ago it was). Ideally Id like him to see it for himself so he can judge whether its due to the gum disease or this rotten tooth -wherever it is- has something to do with it, as he seems to have (literally) left this side of it for now. Surprisingly theres no pain involved this time (there was a heat-sensitive tooth in this problem area last year but Sensodyne toothpaste cured that).
Yes its fairly obvious I need to see a dentist again and it seems likely the ‘bad’ tooth should come out. But the swelling/abscess seems to come & go quite fast -right now it seems to be going down again- and if he cant see anything himself when I go how can he treat it effectively? Why did he say Im OK for 6 months? He was looking at his computer -shouldnt he have noticed the gum disease history and the cleaning etc agenda he himself had identified/suggested the week before? And as its computers, is your entire dental history passed on when you transfer to a new dentist? (this would plainly be useful for everyone).
well here are a few points that might help you:
your dental history is not passed on from one practise to another.
checking your mouth, possibly including x-rays, will tell your dentist everything, the notes of some years ago are practically irrelevant for today’s treatment
the general answer to gum disease is:
"clean and keep clean"
a dentist might give you some advice on cleaning/brushing technique and many practises have hygienists who could clean your teeth thoroughly and train you to become a tooth cleaning champion at home.
this is far beyond a "scale and polish"
and also the key to oral health in general is :
"clean and keep clean" and you can and must do it yourself, the dental professionals can only help you to do it yourself
expect to pay for the hygienist privately
OK for 6 month does not necessarily mean your teeth are perfect, it might just mean: the dentist cannot think of any improvement ( within the limits of the NHS) right now
early 50s, UK resident, lots of old black fillings, swellings on and off, gum disease and so on rather let me assume you are seeing end of a period of relative dental peace that started with extensive repair in your teenage days
NHS treatment means a cap on your treatment cost (and unless you are exempt you will pay about 90 % of the cost involved yourself), so while you can expect to get out of pain and a bit more, don’t expect miracles on the health service
I think you should see you dentist and talk about your worries, and if you don’t get along with a particular dentist: go somewhere else