One of my back teeth was severely decayed, and the doctor wanted me to have a root canal and crown done, but it was out of my budget. It got to the point where the pain was so bad that I had to take some kind of action, but of course, it was on the weekend when my regular office is closed. I opted to see the emergency dentist, and he pulled the tooth for me. To put it nicely, it wasn’t quick. I’ve had other teeth pulled, and there was a quick pop, and it was out. This guy took forever, and it felt like he was digging around in there. It was horrible. He never said anything. Just told me to visit my regular office for a follow-up, and sent me on my way. Now my whole jaw is absolutely throbbing. I am practically shaking with pain. I looked at the space, and I can see two white bumps protruding, and I really think they’re tooth roots. Could he have left them behind? If he’s incompetent, there’s no way I’m going back to him, but if this is something else, I will suck it up and see him just to get out of pain.
You do need to see an emergency dentist, and the sooner the better. If you aren’t comfortable with the one you saw, contact your regular office and see who they recommend.
From time to time, tooth roots do get left behind, and there are valid reasons for it. Depending on their position, getting them back out can damage the sinus or a nerve, in which case it’s better to leave them behind. Dentists are taught to reconstruct the tooth once it’s out of your mouth. If it appears to be intact, they look to make sure no pieces are missing anyway. Sometimes teeth break or are intentionally sectioned, but they should always be inspected afterward. Plus, it’s obvious when a tooth breaks during an extraction, and the doctor would have known.
It’s not possible to guess what he was doing when you felt like he was “digging.” He might have gone back for the roots, or he could have been adding in a “bone bead” which would preserve the bone better (and is beneficial if you might have an implant later), or maybe he was adding sutures. If he did leave fragments behind, he should have told you, though they’re not likely to cause trouble afterwards. The white spots could be bone, or they could be some other residue from eating.
As for the pain, it sounds a lot more like you’re dealing with dry socket. After an extraction, your body will form a blood clot over the hole. If the clot is disturbed or removed, the area underneath is exposed, and it’s painful. A doctor can treat this easily, but the pain will likely linger for days if you don’t get treatment.
There’s no evidence here that the emergency dentist you saw was negligent or incompetent, but it’s possible. Whether you see him or someone else is up to you, but get in somewhere ASAP.
This blog is sponsored by Elgin dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.