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Old 01-25-2014, 05:20 PM
Roland Orzabal Roland Orzabal is offline
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Dental questions: emergency root canals and pain medication

As is my custom, I'll break this into "backstory" and "actual questions." Please feel free to skip my yammering if it suits you. I should also mention that I've never had any kind of significant dental work done, so these might well be stupid questions, but there you have it.

Backstory:

Last week, I discovered that the godawful toothache I'd been having for a few days was being caused by an enormous hole in one of my molars. I figured that was something I ought to have looked at, so I called a dentist, and they got me in a couple of days later for an emergency appointment. They told me I needed a root canal, which they could do in three to four weeks.

To combat the pain, they prescribed Vicoprofen 7.5/200, to be used every six hours as needed. I'd never taken opioids before, so I was wary of taking any, and managed to get through the first couple days with the help of Pierre Smirnoff, clove oil, hydrogen peroxide, and a whole lot of swearing.

On day three, it literally began bringing tears to my eyes, so I gave in and tried the pills. Long story short, I'm not sure why anyone would use this stuff recreationally — at the height of the drug's effects, my tooth doesn't hurt anymore (which I suppose is euphoric in a sense, but I don't think it's quite what junkies are after), but beyond that they just make me a bit sleepy.

I've still been trying to use them as little as possible, and I'm holding steady at two pills a day. They take two hours to kick in and provide 2-3 hours of relief, so I'm still in pain a little over half the time, but I can deal with that as long as there's some respite.

I'm starting to get a bit worried, though, because they only gave me 16 pills for what will almost certainly be a three-week-minimum wait, and at this point, these things are the only way I can get to sleep. So, with that in mind...

Actual Questions:

1) How much hassle am I likely to get when I ask the dentist for a refill on the Vicoprofen? As I said, I've never had opioids before, and am using them much less frequently than I could be per the directions, but I'm given to understand that many doctors are wary of pain med scripts these days.

And somewhat off the wall, but...

2) Is there any way I could get the root canal done in anything resembling an immediate fashion? If so, how would I find a place to do it? I tried a few searches, but my Google-fu is failing me — I'm just finding ads for emergency dental exams and no-wait insurance policies. I don't much care if my insurance covers it or not; I've got savings that were earmarked for a vacation that I'm more than willing to throw at this if it means I don't have to sit around in agony for weeks. (I suppose I could just call every dentist in town to check schedules, but I'm hoping more for a search term I could use to find a premium wait-free dental clinic, if such a thing exists.)

As always, any advice is greatly appreciated. (I'd give you one of these , but it comes off as more of a grimace at the moment...)

Last edited by Roland Orzabal; 01-25-2014 at 05:21 PM..
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:28 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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Did they give you antibiotics? It's not the hole that is hurting, it's the infection. They can't do the root canal until the infection is taken care of.

ETA: One the infection is under control , the pain should subside. This takes at most a couple of days. Second, I've always found doctors are much more likely to take tooth pain seriously than dentists. Dentists have become desensitized.

Last edited by Manda JO; 01-25-2014 at 05:30 PM..
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:33 PM
beowulff beowulff is offline
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When I went to the dentist with a toothache, he sent me to a endodontist, who prescribed a root canal (surprise!) as the treatment, and scheduled me for two days later. I'm surprised that they are telling you that you must wait for weeks!
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:36 PM
Roland Orzabal Roland Orzabal is offline
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Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Did they give you antibiotics? It's not the hole that is hurting, it's the infection. They can't do the root canal until the infection is taken care of.

ETA: One the infection is under control , the pain should subside. This takes at most a couple of days. Second, I've always found doctors are much more likely to take tooth pain seriously than dentists. Dentists have become desensitized.
Yeah, I got amoxicillin. Meant to mention that they did say the infection was the reason for the wait, but also said it should clear up in 2-3 days — I got the strong impression, though they didn't say it outright, that the rest of the wait was due to scheduling.

That said, I've been taking the antibiotics religiously since Tuesday, and the pain hasn't decreased at all. Is that cause for a followup visit?

Last edited by Roland Orzabal; 01-25-2014 at 05:37 PM..
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:41 PM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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Originally Posted by Roland Orzabal View Post
Yeah, I got amoxicillin. Meant to mention that they did say the infection was the reason for the wait, but also said it should clear up in 2-3 days I got the strong impression, though they didn't say it outright, that the rest of the wait was due to scheduling.

That said, I've been taking the antibiotics religiously since Tuesday, and the pain hasn't decreased at all. Is that cause for a followup visit?
Absolutely. In fact, I'd go to an urgent care place right the fuck now. They can give you a different antibiotic, and, if they feel like you need it, a shot.

Are you running a fever?
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:45 PM
WheatCat WheatCat is offline
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Where the hell are you at that it took the dentist two days to see you on emergency notice, and 3-4 weeks for someone to get to you for a root canal?

I live in a city of 250k. Last October I got a next day (Monday) emergency exam for tooth/gum pain which discovered an abscess. A root canal was performed the next day after the exam. Other non-emergency work culminating with a crown was finished 42 days after the initial emergency exam.

I have a hydrocodone supply for gout, but luckily the pain, though significant, never got bad enough for me to have to take any real dope.
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:47 PM
Roland Orzabal Roland Orzabal is offline
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Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Absolutely. In fact, I'd go to an urgent care place right the fuck now. They can give you a different antibiotic, and, if they feel like you need it, a shot.

Are you running a fever?
Huh. No, apart from the pickaxe that my nervous system is convinced is lodged in my right cheek, I'm just fine.

I'll give it tonight, and if it hasn't changed by morning, I'll find an urgent care place with weekend hours.

Last edited by Roland Orzabal; 01-25-2014 at 05:48 PM..
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:52 PM
Roland Orzabal Roland Orzabal is offline
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Originally Posted by WheatCat View Post
Where the hell are you at that it took the dentist two days to see you on emergency notice, and 3-4 weeks for someone to get to you for a root canal?
I thought the timeframe was odd too, but I didn't have anything to compare it to, so I just kind of went with it. (To answer your question, Roanoke has a population of about ~100k...Chicago it ain't, but hardly BFE either, so I'm sure I can find another dentist or ten if I need to.)
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:25 PM
Jeep's Phoenix Jeep's Phoenix is offline
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Three weeks sounds excessive, given what's going on inside the tooth! Sounds like you need a new dentist.

Story sharing time: It took my dentist about a month between my initial visit and the root canal appointment...I wasn't in much pain at all though, aside from some throbbing when I would drink cold liquids. When the root canal was performed, it was found that the root was mostly necrotic...I wasn't feeling very much pain because the root had pretty much died.
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Old 01-25-2014, 06:30 PM
rsat3acr rsat3acr is offline
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Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Did they give you antibiotics? It's not the hole that is hurting, it's the infection. They can't do the root canal until the infection is taken care of.

ETA: One the infection is under control , the pain should subside. This takes at most a couple of days. Second, I've always found doctors are much more likely to take tooth pain seriously than dentists. Dentists have become desensitized.
Dentist here, sorry Manda JO but you can have great pain without an abcess and we absolutly can do root canals before an infection is cleared up.

Roland, three weeks is way to long to wait for an emergency. At my office we will almost always get you in for the root canal the day you call. Call around, someone should be able to get you in much sooner, like Monday at the latest. Usually take about 24 hours for antibiotics to start working. Placing heat on the area will also help with an infection. Short of major swelling(that which can be seen looking at your face) I'd be inclined to think that with five days of antibiotics already, the pain is much more likely a result of the exposed nerve v. an infection.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:23 PM
adhemar adhemar is online now
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I went to the dentist because I had pain when I bit down on one side. They started the root canal immediately (same day) and gave me antibiotics and pain pills. I had to go back twice once to complete the root canal then to have crown fit on. Actually twice more after that to a different dentist because the tooth never stopped hurting, so I had it operated one and then finally had it pulled, but that was more because of the bad dentistry in my opinion. After quite a few years I can actually chew on that side again.

I didn't really need any more of the pain pills after the first few hours each time they worked on the tooth but it really did a number on me regardless. I wasn't in a lot of pain but I felt like I had exercised to the point of exhaustion after having an awful day at work. weak, trembly, cranky etc.

I don't know if the dentist will give you more pain pills but I don't know why they wouldn't as long as there is a decent amount of time since the original ones. shouldn't hurt to ask them for more and for antibiotics to fight the infection.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:46 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Add another voice to everyone telling you that that is far too long to wait for a root canal when you're in that much pain.

To go in a different direction, is it your furthest back molar? I'd suggest that with a big hole in it, you might be better off just having it yanked. Dentists (no offence, rsat3acr) tend to err on the side of trying to save every tooth, all the time. A couple of years ago I had a tooth pulled out that had been bothering me for years and years - crown, root canal, the whole shebang, and it never really stopped aching. It was a blessed relief to have that tooth pulled out - the hole barely hurt at all after it was pulled, and after a couple of days, it felt better than it had in years. Not all teeth make it to the end.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:47 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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You shouldn't get hassled to get more, but if you got antibiotics, they might be expecting those to help knock down the pain as well. If you're worried, you could always end your request with "or is there anyway I could get in sooner, I'm really dying here"..not that they haven't heard that a thousand times.

WRT your comment of "I'm not sure why anyone would use this stuff recreationally", it's pretty common to not get much of a buzz off those kinds of pills if you're in enough pain to need them to begin with, and most people (that aren't in pain) would take at least 2-3 (7.5s) to get any kind of high from them. Also, I know you said you get sleepy, and that's common, but, personally, I'm the opposite. If I take Vicodin, I can clean my entire house, hell, I could paint my entire house. That stuff makes me feel like I'm on Ritalin (and Vicodin). Even if I'm actually taking it for pain, I have to make sure I take it a good 6 hours or so before I go to bed and have some Benadryl on hand and I'm not going to be falling asleep anytime soon.
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Old 01-25-2014, 08:50 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
Add another voice to everyone telling you that that is far too long to wait for a root canal when you're in that much pain.

To go in a different direction, is it your furthest back molar? I'd suggest that with a big hole in it, you might be better off just having it yanked. Dentists (no offence, rsat3acr) tend to err on the side of trying to save every tooth, all the time. A couple of years ago I had a tooth pulled out that had been bothering me for years and years - crown, root canal, the whole shebang, and it never really stopped aching. It was a blessed relief to have that tooth pulled out - the hole barely hurt at all after it was pulled, and after a couple of days, it felt better than it had in years. Not all teeth make it to the end.
I had a Wisdom Tooth just about rot out of my head a few years ago. I was fine and then all of a sudden I had a horrible pain back there. Called the dentist, got in that day (maybe the next day) and at some point before I made it into his chair I noticed have the tooth was missing. He took one look at it and said it's not even worth trying to fix and sent me to an Oral Surgeon. I was nervous as hell, but it was so easy that I wished after he was done I had the presence of mind to ask him to pull out the other top one (also erupted). I went from being on agony to being in no pain at all in a matter of hours.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:10 PM
rsat3acr rsat3acr is offline
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Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
Add another voice to everyone telling you that that is far too long to wait for a root canal when you're in that much pain.

To go in a different direction, is it your furthest back molar? I'd suggest that with a big hole in it, you might be better off just having it yanked. Dentists (no offence, rsat3acr) tend to err on the side of trying to save every tooth, all the time. A couple of years ago I had a tooth pulled out that had been bothering me for years and years - crown, root canal, the whole shebang, and it never really stopped aching. It was a blessed relief to have that tooth pulled out - the hole barely hurt at all after it was pulled, and after a couple of days, it felt better than it had in years. Not all teeth make it to the end.
none taken. You are absolutly correct not all teeth should be saved and not all teeth can be saved even if you want to. To fix or extract is a decision for the patient to make with my guidance. I can give the pros and cons of everything but they make the final decision.

Also Roland the vicoprofen has 7.5 mg of hydrocodone and 200 mg of Ibuprofen. you can take 600 mg of ibuprofen every 6 hours. I'd take two over the counter Advil about 4 hours after taking the vicoprofen. That spreads the dose out over time so keeps the level of drug from spiking as much.

Last edited by rsat3acr; 01-25-2014 at 10:10 PM..
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:22 PM
WheatCat WheatCat is offline
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Originally Posted by Roland Orzabal View Post
I thought the timeframe was odd too, but I didn't have anything to compare it to, so I just kind of went with it. (To answer your question, Roanoke has a population of about ~100k...Chicago it ain't, but hardly BFE either, so I'm sure I can find another dentist or ten if I need to.)
I'll be damned- I'm originally from Bedford.

I might understand such slow service for someone who had to rely on the presumably higher patient to dentist ratio in a place as small as Bedford (city ~6,000, county ~ 70,000), but I never would have guessed it for the much larger Roanoke.
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Old 01-25-2014, 10:35 PM
Roland Orzabal Roland Orzabal is offline
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Lots of great information in this thread, thanks very much! rsat3acr, I'll take you up on that Advil advice.

As for pulling vs. saving, I originally thought it was a wisdom tooth — it's the very back tooth, but apparently I only have wisdom teeth on the top — and asked to have it pulled. The dentist corrected me, and said "you don't want to start pulling molars at 30." (This bag of fun started on the 21st, which was my 30th birthday. The good news is that rest of the decade pretty much has to be looking up.)

But, based on the input in this thread and other information I've found, I may be going dentist shopping anyhow. I'll call the original office first (I picked it based on convenient location) and see if they can get me in sooner, but if not, I'll start making calls.

WheatCat — I've been through Bedford any number of times. Nice town, though you're right that there's not a heck of a lot to it. Have you been back to see the D-Day Memorial? It's pretty impressive.
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Old 01-26-2014, 09:06 AM
rsat3acr rsat3acr is offline
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Roland sounds like a second molar not a wisdom tooth. There is no right or wrong as to pulling verses root canal. You have to weigh everything such as cost and length of time for treatment, changes in chewing and aesthetics. For second molars there is no aesthetic issue. A slight loss of chewing but not much(as opposed to first molars that give a great ammount of chewing). really it comes down to cost and time for this tooth and everyone has to make that determination for themselves. I my office a RCT, build up and crown would take an hour appointment for the RCT and hour appointment for the build up and crown prep and then a half hour appointment to seat the crown with a total cost of about $1800. A week to two weeks between the RCT and crown prep and two weeks between the crown prep and seat. All things being equal it is better to save the tooth then pull it but that doesn't always work for everyone.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:51 PM
WheatCat WheatCat is offline
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WheatCat I've been through Bedford any number of times. Nice town, though you're right that there's not a heck of a lot to it. Have you been back to see the D-Day Memorial? It's pretty impressive.
I moved away from Bedford in 1971, but my other lived there Bedford until 2003, and I may have visited 200 times 1971-2003. It is a very relaxing place and has some of the best mountain scenery in the world.

I was at the D-Day Memorial opening ceremony. I have not actually visited the memorial since then; I should, and hope I can get to it some day.
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Old 01-26-2014, 12:57 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Originally Posted by rsat3acr View Post
Roland sounds like a second molar not a wisdom tooth. There is no right or wrong as to pulling verses root canal. You have to weigh everything such as cost and length of time for treatment, changes in chewing and aesthetics. For second molars there is no aesthetic issue. A slight loss of chewing but not much(as opposed to first molars that give a great ammount of chewing). really it comes down to cost and time for this tooth and everyone has to make that determination for themselves. I my office a RCT, build up and crown would take an hour appointment for the RCT and hour appointment for the build up and crown prep and then a half hour appointment to seat the crown with a total cost of about $1800. A week to two weeks between the RCT and crown prep and two weeks between the crown prep and seat. All things being equal it is better to save the tooth then pull it but that doesn't always work for everyone.
I was thinking that 30 is too young to lose a tooth permanently (I had my problem tooth out when I was around 45), but then I realized that the tooth had been bugging me since I was about 30. If I'd known then what I know now, I'd have had it yanked 15 years ago. As you say, though, you try the treatments, and if they succeed, great. If not, then you go for the Final Solution.
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Old 01-26-2014, 02:27 PM
Lok Lok is offline
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Dentist here, sorry Manda JO but you can have great pain without an abcess and we absolutly can do root canals before an infection is cleared up.
My last root canal was done before the infection cleared up. Because the infection wouldn't go away. The antibiotics couldn't get into the area quickly enough to take it out. Then when they did the root canal, the infection prevented the anesthetic from reaching the nerve, so it wouldn't go numb. They had to drill into the tooth and get to the nerve so they could inject the anesthetic directly on the nerve. Then the pain stopped for the first time in a week and I was in heaven. The other root canal was completely painless and complication free once the abscess was cleared up.

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Roland, three weeks is way to long to wait for an emergency. At my office we will almost always get you in for the root canal the day you call. Call around, someone should be able to get you in much sooner, like Monday at the latest. Usually take about 24 hours for antibiotics to start working. Placing heat on the area will also help with an infection. Short of major swelling(that which can be seen looking at your face) I'd be inclined to think that with five days of antibiotics already, the pain is much more likely a result of the exposed nerve v. an infection.
In my small town of 12,000 my dentist gets me in same day for emergencies, and has gotten my root canals scheduled within a couple of days when necessary. He doesn't do root canals himself, he sends them to a specialist, who is very good in my experience. A larger city should be able to do at least as well.
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Old 01-26-2014, 10:31 PM
rsat3acr rsat3acr is offline
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[QUOTE=Lok;17048599]My last root canal was done before the infection cleared up. Because the infection wouldn't go away. The antibiotics couldn't get into the area quickly enough to take it out. Then when they did the root canal, the infection prevented the anesthetic from reaching the nerve, so it wouldn't go numb. They had to drill into the tooth and get to the nerve so they could inject the anesthetic directly on the nerve. Then the pain stopped for the first time in a week and I was in heaven. The other root canal was completely painless and complication free once the abscess was cleared up.


The antibiotics don't go through the tooth to get to the infection but rather through the bone where the infection is. There is very poor circulation in bone so it is tough to get the antibiotic from the bloodstream into the infection within the bone. Not every dental infection is caused by the same bacteria so no one antibiotic works in every case. Sometimes we have to try a couple to find one that works.

If the tooth was a lower one that the infection has no bearing on anesthesia for the tooth since the anesthetic is placed posteriorly to the tooth and gets to the nerve at some distance from the tooth. For upper teeth if there is a lot of infection sometimes it can affect the anesthetic but there are ways to deal with it and shouldn't usually be a problem getting the tooth numb.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:10 AM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
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Just popping in to wish the OP well and hope you get a very much sooner appointment. My dentist will get me in the same day if I'm in pain (I haven't had really bad issues like yours, but once I had a temporary crown that should have been shaved down more, and I just dealt with it for the couple weeks it took for the permanent crown to be made. He firmly admonished me about it and explained the opposing tooth was bruised because of it, hence the discomfort, and he told me if that EVER happens again to just come in, no appointment needed). He's very concerned about dental pain and very good about taking care of his patients.

You should expect the same! And thanks, rsat3acr, for your input. You sound like one of the good ones.
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Old 01-27-2014, 12:43 AM
Lok Lok is offline
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My last root canal was done before the infection cleared up. Because the infection wouldn't go away. The antibiotics couldn't get into the area quickly enough to take it out. Then when they did the root canal, the infection prevented the anesthetic from reaching the nerve, so it wouldn't go numb. They had to drill into the tooth and get to the nerve so they could inject the anesthetic directly on the nerve. Then the pain stopped for the first time in a week and I was in heaven. The other root canal was completely painless and complication free once the abscess was cleared up.
The antibiotics don't go through the tooth to get to the infection but rather through the bone where the infection is. There is very poor circulation in bone so it is tough to get the antibiotic from the bloodstream into the infection within the bone. Not every dental infection is caused by the same bacteria so no one antibiotic works in every case. Sometimes we have to try a couple to find one that works.

If the tooth was a lower one that the infection has no bearing on anesthesia for the tooth since the anesthetic is placed posteriorly to the tooth and gets to the nerve at some distance from the tooth. For upper teeth if there is a lot of infection sometimes it can affect the anesthetic but there are ways to deal with it and shouldn't usually be a problem getting the tooth numb.
I didn't say the antibiotics went through the tooth. I said they couldn't get to the infection fast enough to clear it up. Kind of like what you repeated. I know all about different kinds of bacteria needing different antibiotics. A couple of years ago I had an infection in my lower jaw from an impacted wisdom tooth extraction. In the end it took IV antibiotics for 6 weeks, along with a different oral course at the same time, to clear it up. That was after that was after cutting it open to scrape away the rotted bone and two other oral antibiotics. Two very common bacteria that everyone carries in their mouth, which managed to get into an area that they didn't belong in. Did manage to avoid the bone graft.

For the root canal, lower jaw, they did the normal numbing, but when they started drilling I could feel it. So the dentist put another shot right at the base of the tooth. Then again when that didn't work. Then he drilled through the tooth and injected the anesthetic directly on the nerve. The rest of that side was numb, but not the molar with the infection. Frankly, the drilling wasn't that much worse than the pain I was already in from the infection.
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Old 01-27-2014, 09:15 PM
Roland Orzabal Roland Orzabal is offline
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Ugh. After much ado, I think I've got things sorted out.

For the interested...I called the dentist's office to ask them to get me in sooner, emphasizing that I was in a great deal of discomfort. They informed me that the reason for the wait wasn't scheduling after all, but "pre-insurance," this being the process where they send the procedure codes to my insurance company to determine whether they're covered. This, they said, was necessary because their office wasn't in my insurance provider's network, despite the fact that my insurance company's website was where I got their number in the first place. The pre-insurance process evidently takes three weeks, and absolutely cannot be avoided, unless I were willing to undertake the devastatingly arduous task of calling my insurance company and asking them what they'd cover. I can see why they didn't mention this to me up front; who in their right mind would make a phone call when they could sit around in pain for a few weeks instead?

Needless to say, I was already unimpressed, but they said that if I could get the information, they could get me in for the procedure at the beginning of next week. So, call I did. The insurance rep confirmed that this dentist was covered by their network, and gave me the rates based on the procedure codes. Pretty standard stuff — 80% for the root canal, 50% for the build-up and crown, $50 deductible, $1000/year max.

I called the dentist's office back and told them this...or some of it, right up to the point where I was exasperatedly cut off mid-sentence. The conversation from there went as follows, as close to verbatim as I can recall, which is pretty damned close given my keen interest in the situation. (For greater accuracy, in each of Front Desk Lady's lines, mentally append a after every other word.)

Front Desk Lady: Look, I just need to know what your out-of-pocket would be.

Me: Well, they gave me the percentages, so I imagine that'd depend on what you charge. It'd be the fifty dollar deductible plus...

FDL: That doesn't help me! If they're really in our network, they need to tell you who they're umbrella'd under.

Me: I don't know what that means. They confirmed that you're in their network. Can you just tell me what your rates are for those procedures? I'll do the math.

FDL: I need to know what you'd pay out of pocket.

Me: Yes, that's what I'll — [at this point, I recognize that this is not likely to end productively] — you know what, I'm just going to find someone else to do this. Thanks for your time.

FDL: O-KAY, byeee! (*CLICK*)

Lovely woman, she was. Anyway, I hopped back on my insurance provider's website, and called the next name on the list. (Normally I'd check reviews and the like, but at this point my most pressing concern was who could most expeditiously do something about the agonizing hole in my head.) As it happened, that dentist didn't do root canals on molars, so they advised me to call an endodontic specialist. Easy enough; my provider's website offered filters for specialties, so I selected "endodontics."

Come to find out, wonder of wonders, there are no endodontists within 50 miles of Roanoke. (Note: this is a lie.) So, armed with that Google search, I switched tactics and started calling endodontists' offices, and asking whether they accepted my insurance.

Around the eighth consecutive "no," I decided it'd be easier to just look for GPs that were in network, and call around until I found somebody who either did endodontic work or knew someone who did. Even this proved to be daunting, as a full one-third of the "general practitioners" listed on my insurance company's website either exclusively saw pediatric patients, or else was an orthodontics place that only did braces and had no clue what the hell I was talking about (seriously, this happened one out of every three places I called), but just 1.5 dozen calls later, I found a place that both did the procedures I needed and was willing to take a new patient before March.

As a result, I've got an appointment on Wednesday morning at 10:00. I should be okay until then, though I don't think I'll be eating anything tomorrow. I've got four hydrocodone pills left, and intend to go into their office with three, to assure them that they can trust me with whatever I'll need post-(root canal/extraction).

Thanks again to everyone for the advice and well wishes, and I'll post back on Wednesday, for better or worse.

Last edited by Roland Orzabal; 01-27-2014 at 09:18 PM..
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  #26  
Old 01-27-2014, 09:27 PM
IvoryTowerDenizen IvoryTowerDenizen is online now
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Wow.

I'm glad your persistence paid off. Good luck!
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  #27  
Old 01-27-2014, 10:46 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
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Wow indeed. I just pay my dentist the whole bill and insurance sends me a reimbursement check 2-3 weeks later. That way, dentist gets paid and takes himself out of the middle. Seems a reasonable and easier policy to me. Yes, more expensive up front, but that's what credit is for. The check clears before the bill is due.

I hope Wednesday goes well for you and you get sweet relief.
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  #28  
Old 01-28-2014, 07:09 PM
rsat3acr rsat3acr is offline
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glad it is going to be better. pre insurance? what a crock. Even for out of network the ladies in our office can tell within a few minutes a pretty close approximation of benefits.
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  #29  
Old 01-28-2014, 07:26 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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That does sound amazingly incompetent (with a bad attitude cherry on top!). My fingers crossed for your procedure going well tomorrow, too. <---- your shiny new grin
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  #30  
Old 01-28-2014, 07:41 PM
BigT BigT is offline
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After that level of stupidity, I'm rather glad you aren't using them. Good luck tomorrow!
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  #31  
Old 01-28-2014, 08:03 PM
Helena330 Helena330 is offline
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What a bunch of crap! My dentist's office bends over backwards to deal with the insurance company. They know my out-of-pocket costs in about thirty seconds.

I hope your appointment goes well and you feel much better!
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  #32  
Old 01-29-2014, 08:14 AM
Scubaqueen Scubaqueen is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
When I went to the dentist with a toothache, he sent me to a endodontist, who prescribed a root canal (surprise!) as the treatment, and scheduled me for two days later. I'm surprised that they are telling you that you must wait for weeks!
Agreed. Weeks??? You qualify as an emergency. Find another dentist.
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:06 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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Well, you've had a day off to recuperate, so how'd it go?
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  #34  
Old 01-30-2014, 12:06 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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It's odd that she wouldn't talk to you without knowing your out of pocket max. On the one hand she may have wanted to make sure you weren't going to be destroyed by a huge bill.* OTOH, they may have been planning to make sure they could milk you for as much as possible. It's still strange.

*It's possible she might, as a matter of course, know that this is going to be a very expensive procedure and if you're going to have to pay for it all out of pocket, she's going to want to make sure can actually pay for it before they even get started. Considering they're the only place in town that does this that means they do ALL the work and they probably get a lot of people that can't afford it. But if you tell her that you already met your deductible for the year or your OOP max is $1000, she might not be worried about it...or they're running some insurance fraud and she knows she can bill the insurance for way more and you won't notice.

Last edited by Joey P; 01-30-2014 at 12:08 PM..
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  #35  
Old 01-30-2014, 12:55 PM
Roland Orzabal Roland Orzabal is offline
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Just got back from the procedure. The office I had the appointment with yesterday declared it too complicated, and sent me off to an in-network specialist, who did it this morning. (Joey, just to clarify, they're not the only racket in town by a long shot, just the first ones I called who could get me in as a new patient quickly.)

The root canal itself was completely, 100% painless, and I was in and out in under two hours. The build-up looks great, and I've got an appointment to go back for the crown. Can't speak to the post-procedure pain yet since the anesthetic is just now wearing off...I thought I'd have to baby it for a while, but the dentist said I could go to town food-wise. Still, he prescribed me a dozen Norco, which I presume was for a reason, so I won't be throwing out my stockpile of squishy foods just yet. (Besides, free excuse to eat nothing but mac and cheese for dinner.)

As for wallet damages, I had $150 on a flexible spending account, so it only cost me $224 out of pocket. It'll probably run me $400 more for the crown, but I still consider that getting off cheap based on what I've read. I suppose all's well that ends well, and barring any complications, I should be good to go.

Thanks again to everyone! Not only did this thread make me feel a lot better about the whole thing, I probably wouldn't have bothered to switch dentists without the consensus advice here...so for the two extra weeks I don't have to tilt my head 45 degrees to eat and drink, cheers!
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  #36  
Old 01-30-2014, 06:33 PM
Jeep's Phoenix Jeep's Phoenix is offline
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Yay!

Other than the usual irritation you get from having a tooth prodded and drilled on, there's next to no pain in my experience. I was able to drink icy liquids as soon as the numbness went away. Sounds like you have some kind of temporary in place; you'll probably have to be a little careful with that.
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  #37  
Old 01-30-2014, 06:45 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
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Yeah, don't eat anything sticky, like taffy or caramel or hard candies you might chew. The temporary cap can get pulled off that way. When I had my crowns done, I just had sore gums for a couple days, but otherwise was fine and needed no pain meds. Plus, eating with no discomfort!

So glad to hear you had the work done and are on the mend!
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  #38  
Old 01-30-2014, 06:58 PM
Cat Whisperer Cat Whisperer is offline
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Yay! Glad to hear it went so well. I've always had a lot of pain with temporary crowns, but even so, I found that ibuprofen was still enough to handle the pain until I could get my permanent crown placed.
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