My Root Canal Experience and Nightmare Dental Treatment
Today I thought I’d share my root canal experience and the nightmare dental treatment I’ve been going through over the past 6 months, or not going through. I’ll share my story because I am quite frustrated with the whole process and need to vent about it. So here goes.
Trying To Get A Dental Appointment
I’ve always tried to look after my teeth the best I can. I know they are not the perfect white colour that famous people and movie stars have but I managed to keep my teeth and gums quite healthy over the past 35 years. However this year things began to change.
I was invited to London to SmilePod Soho to have a high diamond Polish as part of a blog review. When I saw the dental hygienist, she informed me that I had some decay on my back tooth. She advised I book in with my usual dentist and get a check up.
So I rang my local Dentist, my NHS dentist in Chorley Lancashire to book an appointment. I can’t afford private treatment at the moment and so I made the phone call.
I was told in May that there were no appointments available until August. I could not believe it. I needed a check up to make a treatment plan, yet I could not be seen for 4 months. I was not impressed, however I understand there are a lot of patients being treated on the NHS.
I questioned what options I had. I was told, if I had a private examination, then I could not have treatment as an NHS. If I had a NHS examination I could not have private treatment. The whole course of treatment had to be either privately paid for or I had to wait for my turn to see the Dentist.
Not having the money for private dental work, I agreed to wait and was told my name could be placed on a cancellation list, which I agreed to.
Having My First Root Canal
Four weeks after I rang for an appointment I began having severe pain in my right upper tooth. The pain was intense like nothing I’d had before. To make matter worse, I began suffering from symptoms of low cortisol.
I have a life threatening illness called Adrenal Insufficiency. I do not make Cortisol which is also known as the stress hormone. Sadly whenever I have added stress, pain or infections in my body my cortisol levels drop quickly and I need to replace them urgently or risk adrenal crisis which can lead to death.
And so the tooth pain and adrenal insufficiency issues began. I rang the Dentist who were not only unable to see me but also unable to give me an emergency appointment. I was told to ring a helpline and managed to get an appointment at another dental clinic.
When I was seen, I was told the decay in my tooth had resulted in an infection and I needed a root canal. An emergency appointment with the NHS only deals with the urgent matter and therefore, only the actual root of the tooth infected at the time could be treated.
The root of my tooth was drilled and the nerves and infection taken out, then a dressing was placed over the area and a temporary filling placed over the tooth. Had I been getting treated privately, both roots would have been done but there are rules and only the part of the tooth with pain was given a “temporary sticking plaster”.
By the end of the week, my tooth was in pain again. I was is serious need to further treatment and yet again I had to ring for another emergency appointment. This time I was seen by a different urgent dentist, who removed the filling and cleaned out the second root canal which had also now become infected.
Had both canals been done on the same day, it would have saved a lot of pain and treatment but no I had to go by emergency NHS dental rules as I didn’t have money to pay for private treatment.
Having A Root Canal With Adrenal Insufficiency
Having dental treatment when you have adrenal insufficiency can be dangerous if you don’t take the correct dose of extra medication. In fact when I had a filling several years ago, I actually collapsed after double dosing several minutes after having treatment. I quickly learnt that my body requires at least 20mg of extra steroids before treatment and another lot afterwards.
It’s the only way for me to prevent low cortisol symptoms and ending up in hospital. So at the time of my first root canal I had an emergency bolus of extra medication to help my body cope with the added stress of injections and treatment.
I was not mentally stressed, but the body feels stress and a normal healthy person will make the required cortisol to cope with any treatment.
My Third Visit For My Root Canal
Being an NHS patient, the materials used for temporary fillings is “crap”. Seriously, the material fell out as soon as I got home exposing the root canal once more, however when I rang to inform the Dentist, I was told I could only be seen if I was in pain, losing a filling was not an emergency.
Within another week, the root canal was infected again. I was using an electric toothbrush and doing my best to keep my teeth as healthy as I could but the tooth was exposed and at risk.
In addition, I take steroids daily which has weakened my immune system and so I do get infections very easily which does not help.
Having A Dental Checkup
In August I finally had my dental checkup. I had dental x-rays and an inspection. I was told that my teeth were no longer healthy. There was quite a bit of decay in at least 5 teeth. The dentist said due to my Adrenal Insufficiency and low immune system my teeth were more prone to infection and she also noticed that my teeth were losing calcium.
I suffer from many health conditions which are all caused by damage to my pituitary gland. One of the health problems I get often is called Hypoparathyroidism. Hyperarathyroidism is the state of decreased secretion or activity of parathyroid hormone (PTH). This leads to decreased blood levels of calcium (hypocalcemia) and increased levels of blood phosphorus (hyperphosphatemia) in the body.
My teeth had begun to lose calcium and were beginning to crumble. Little parts of my teeth were chipping or falling away and I was told by the Dentist that I needed the decay removing and fillings to make my teeth healthy again.
Waiting For Dental Treatment
After being given a treatment plan I went to the Dental reception to book in for my treatment. It was August and I was told I needed 6 appointments. The first appointment available for treatment would be December 2018. Yet again, the delays in the NHS Dental system meant my urgent treatment could not be done.
I booked my 6 appointments and began to wait. However in September my teeth began to crumble some more. I was eating and suddenly half of my tooth had fallen out. I was shocked. It was a front tooth and looked terrible. I rang the Dentist and was able to get an appointment when the tooth began to hurt.
The Dentist fixed the tooth by removing the decay and placing a temporary filling to make the tooth look whole again. This was great as I did not exactly look great when I smiled.
By October I began having pain in another tooth. This time it was the left side. Yes, it was a tooth which I was waiting for a filling on however due to waiting many months, the decay had increased and I now needed yet another root canal.
My Second Root Canal
My second root canal was done as an urgent appointment. Again, only the root which was infected was treated, meaning there was a chance the other root of the tooth was decayed and could hurt in future. Sure enough within a week I was back at the Dentist having the second root treated.
Each time I have treatment it can take me about 4-5 days to recover. Unlike a normal healthy person dental treatment does make me unwell and does affect my Adrenal Insufficiency so sadly I was again unwell for some time.
The Filling Fell Out
Yet again, after I was given a temporary root canal, the filling dropped out within a day and so the pain was back and I had to be seen again by my dentist. Again the problem was given a temporary solution and I was back on the waiting list for December.
Now the right tooth pain is temporary resolved and within 24 hours of being treated the left root canal is in severe pain yet again. The filling on that side had dropped out and the dentist could have refilled it yesterday but instead I had to wait for pain. I guess it didn’t take too long.
Some people have suggested finding a new dentist and I genuinely tried to do this on many occasions. I rang around the Dental practices that are local and was told they were not taking on new NHS patients. I have been trying for a long time and last week I was in luck.
I have found a Dentist in a village nearby that is not as busy as the one in town. I will be seeing the Dentist on Monday for a checkup and to tell her about my severe tooth pain.
I am hoping I can begin having the treatment I needed back in May and that my teeth will have the chance to become healthy again.
The Dentist I’ve been seeing has been absolutely rubbish. She has never once asked me if I’ve taken my extra medication before treating me. I even mention it to her every time and she say’s oh you should be okay. She has no understanding of my condition and if I was not medicating myself before the treatments I don’t know what would have happened.
I’ve asked and asked to be seen earlier and sadly have to accept the treatment as an NHS patient because I simply can’t afford to go private.
I am hoping my teeth can be treated soon, this year and that the pain and suffering I’ve been going through can come to an end soon. I’ll keep fighting this dental battle but I am frustrated and I’ll update you once I am seen next week.