Just need some support/advice please!

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 717
   Posted 7/3/2008 2:36 PM (GMT -6)   
On Monday, I decided to see the dentist for a tiny toothache in my front tooth, never expected it to be anything as I've gone to the dentist several times over the last 15 years for this same tooth and it's always just been a sensitivity issue with no treatment, just told to use sensitive toothpaste.  I completely dread the dentist and usually put things like this off, but my husband happened to have the day off to take me to another appt. to get my meds, so I decided it was a good idea to see the dentist as long as he was home...as much as I hated it.   So I get my x-rays back and the dentist comes in and tells me that I need an emergency root canal right now!  He had already called the endodontist and they were expecting me.  I got into the parking lot and burst into tears and was terrified.  Then to top it off, we were sent to the local office only 3 miles from my home and they were in another office about 30 miles from here...not good!  I did manage to get myself pulled together and made the drive over to the office.  I had to sit in the waiting room for 2 hours as they were fitting me in and had a full schedule and 6 other emergencies that day...the waiting was so hard.  I had to constantly use my cbt and positive thinking...it was exhausting.  Finally got in and they began the procedure during which the endodontist kept saying, oh this is infected, this is really infected, oh boy!  I was getting totally freaked out.  So, procedures done, they fill the tooth with medication and put in a piece of cotton and put me on antibiotics.  That night, the cotton comes out and I can taste the medication...I totally lose it and panic.  I call the clinic twice and no one calls me back, so I spend the night in fear until i can reach them the next morning.  They tell me to come back in...he takes two seconds to look at it says it's fine, a good thing that the cotton came out and sends me on my way.
So, problem here is that I'm terrified.  I have a hole in my tooth, which scares me, I'm scared that all of this infection from the tooth is now running around in my body, though rationally I know it's okay because I'm on antibiotics.  I'm watching every part of my body for any signs of anything possibly being wrong and of course linking it to my tooth, I'm taking my temp all the time even though I haven't had a high temp at all.  It amazes me how quickly the rationality flies out the window when fear steps in!  Plus I have to get to 4 more appointments before this is finally sealed permanently.  I have to go in once a week to have it cleaned out and then the 4th week they will finally finish it.  I'm so upset about all of this that I have no idea how I'm going to make it to these appts and whats worse is my husband cannot take any more time off to take me and I really don't have anyone else that I trust, but will have to go with someone anyway. 
Anyone else ever have a root canal that they left open?  I've had one before, but it wasn't infected and they put on a temporary cap the same day and then I went back once for the permanent one.  This is just totally freaking me out.  Any support, advice, similar experiences would be greatly appreciated!  And any ideas on how to handle these next four appts would really help too.
Sorry this is so long!

Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 46
   Posted 7/3/2008 4:25 PM (GMT -6)   
I am a root canal expert unfortunately. When I was like 12 or 13 I had a root canal done in one of my front teeth and it was left open. I was not given cotten or anything to put in the hole. They told me that i had to let the infection drain so I had this horrible taste in my mouth for the rest of the day. They told me i could use mouth wash to freshen my breath. I was so worried about getting something in the whole but the draining eventually stopped and I didn't have a problem. You should be fine. I was lucky that I didn't have the anxiety at the time so I didn't worry about anything. I was in alot of pain ahead of time so i felt relieved once it was over. I was young and it was first root canal and I did it. So if I could do it so can you. I have faith in you. You can do it!!!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 7/3/2008 4:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh, Junebug, that sounds like an exasperating and upsetting experience. I can't add anything to Angelwings' marvellous advice.

I'm really proud of you for being able to make use of your CBT during a real anxiety crisis. That's very impressive, since I'm lousy at using what I learn very effectively.

Try to let the negative thoughts slide away. Angelwings says hers went okay in similar circumstances, so that's at least one positive outcome that you know of for sure. And you are on antibiotics right now, so the infection can't do anything to you - besides, it's been in your body for a while anyway without doing damage to anything but your tooth.

I'm sorry your hubby can't go to the remaining appointments. I'm sure having him along was very comforting. The next ones should be a lot smoother, though, since you're already on the schedule, not being squeezed into an overfull set of appointments, and not dealing with an emergency.

Shame on the endodontist for his chairside manner, though. I can't imagine what he was thinking about, giving his running commentary on your procedure in progress. Just try to trust that you're going to be fine, your regular dentist has taken another look at things, and you'll soon have a totally healthy tooth that can't create any more pain or illness in your body.


Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/3/2008 5:34 PM (GMT -6)   

Ouch, I am so sorry.  I have had 3 root canals but they were molers and they were packed with medicated cotton and a temp fillings in place.  Mine were done a long time ago.  My husband just had to have one redone that was done 25 years ago when they used silver rods to fill in the holes.  The rods deteriorated and he was sent to entodontist to have old rods remove as the area had become infected.   Now they  use a rubberized material which is much better.

I have a fear of the dentist and can hardly open my mouth for them,  I always get novacaine and nitrous oxide.  I don't care if they all laugh at me, but I don't want to hear or feel anymore then I need too.  I gladly pay the cost for the  nitrous out of my pocket.

You were very brave sitting for 2 hours............I would have snapped I am sure or got sick to my stomach from anxiety. 

You did good and I am so sorry you had to go through the procedure.



Kitt, Moderator: Anxiety, Panic & Depression 
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 7/4/2008 3:12 AM (GMT -6)   


I haven't been to the dentist since I was a teenager..yikes! You can get through this you know, and then you can hold my hand when it happens to me!! Try not to let that stinkin thinkin take over now. You will be okay, you will get through it and be a tougher person (with less holes!!lol) for it. Try and live in today, and let those four appts happen when they happen. Having said that I obsess with the best! Keep us posted with how you go. It seems you are not alone in root canal fear.


Co-moderator Anxiety/Panic
Panic Attack Survivor
Weekend Warrior Princess

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 364
   Posted 7/4/2008 7:15 AM (GMT -6)   
I just wanted to tell you you did WONDERFUL!!! You should be so proud of yourself and know that you have made it through probably the worst. I know it will be hard without your husband (I am the same way about doing things without mine), but do you have a friend, family member or neighbor that could drive you? I know it difficult for anyone else to understand what we are feeling, but sometimes we need to rely on others for support. I dread the dentist and he has to give me a calming type pill when I go to him for procedures due to my anxiety(of course I am scared of taking the full dose because I am scared of meds!) - it does take the edge off a little, but I am still pretty freaked. The only time I ever did really well was when I had recently broken my foot in three places and was already on major pain killers and I took the sedative - I actually fell asleep - that was GREAT!!!

I pray that you can find someone you trust to take you and I know that you will do great at your last few appointments.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 717
   Posted 7/5/2008 8:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you all for your replies, it does help to share and get some support here!  I am feeling better about everything, not as nervous about having a hole in my tooth, not that I like it mind you, just doesn't scare me.  I've been on antibiotics for 6 days now and am just realizing how sick I was before.  Of course I didn't relate how I was feeling to my tooth, just thought it was stress, but I was exhausted and had a headache every day and just no energy or desire to do anything...just felt yucky.  Each day I've noticed how much better I feel and it makes me realize that it was a very good thing that I went into the dentist when I did! 
angel, thank you for sharing your experience with root canal, knowing that it is normal to have it left open really did ease my mind.
percy, what you said about my having the infection before and it didn't hurt me is so true, and a perspective I hadn't thought of, it gave me a bit of calm to think of it that way.
kitt,  thankfully it didn't hurt a bit, it felt a little funny, kind of like when I used to get my braces tightened, but no pain to speak of.  My lip, jaw and chin feel kind of different now, but I'm thinking it's because the infection was causing some swelling and now that that is gone, it just feels different than it did last week.  I'm the same way about dentists...hate to go, and I wish I could use the nitrous, but it increases my anxiety instead of relaxing me.  I just walk in and let the assistant and the dentist know that I have panic disorder and that this is very hard for me.  All of them were amazing, it helped me to know that they knew, and they treated me with such over the top kidness and caring because of it.
meg, I'm trying to just go with the flow right now and let the appts happen as they will, and I'd be glad to hold your hand anytime you need a friend!
leah,  thank you for the boost.  I really hadn't thought too much about how well I had done since I was so deep in the fear of it all, but I did do an amazing job considering the circumstances. 
I've talked to my in-laws and they have gladly agreed to take me to any and all of my appts., they are really great people who have a decent understanding of what I go through.  It won't be as easy as if my husband was there, but I'll manage.   Thank you all soooo much, everything you said was just what I needed to get myself back on track.  You are all wonderful people and I feel so fortunate to be a part of this group! 
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