Friday, February 27, 2009


...I will be able to leave the dentist's office without crying. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't do drugs, I don't drink energy drinks, and now I don't drink soda and sweet tea.

Bottled water and an even blander life, here I come.

Also, goodbye to a nice chunk of my savings.

UPDATE: Scratch that --say goodbye to half of my savings! Depressing...


Mike said...

:-( What was it? Root canal?

Jay said...

Well, my last root canal wasn't good enough, so it's infected again, and they need to re-do it. I'm with a new Dentist because he's closer --but maybe you can answer this: Should I get in touch with my old dentist since he didn't get the job done in the first place? Would he be liable for something at least like a discount? Or should I just go to these endodontist specialists like my new dentist suggests? Come on, you're dad's a doctor, so I assume that makes you an expert too (j/k)

SuiginChou said...

An unhappy end-result does not a negligent doctor make. When they say a surgical procedure has a 90% chance of success, they mean it: 1 out of 10 people will have the best doctor in the world do it for them and still will walk out of there without having had his problem fixed.

That stated, if you have reason to suspect malpractice -- especially if your new dentist has suggested this (e.g. "Oh man! I can't BELIEVE he did this!!" sort of talk) -- then there are avenues for you to file a malpractice claim. I don't know that it's necessarily a claim for money so much as it is something for the government to say, "Thank you, Mr. Upright Citizen, for drawing our attention to this physician's negligence. We will keep a closer watch on him now. Hopefully as a direct result of your contacting us we will be able to save other people from the same suffering you have had to endure."

As far as the idea of one dentist's blunder gaining you a discount with a new dentist, LOL. You know that, Jay. :p You know that! You know that the only way this could work is indirectly, i.e. you obtain money from the old dentist (via a legal suit in which you win and are awarded restitution) and use it towards the fees the new dentist is charging you. In effect, "you get a discount," but it's so indirect!! There's definitely no such thing as a direct channel through which a new doctor can receive reimbursement from an old doctor.

Going to an endodontist (didn't even know such a thing exist) sounds quite appropriate. Endo- means "within, inside" and dont refers to teeth, i.e. an endodontist is going to be somebody who went to dentistry school and specialized in all matters pertaining to the insides of teeth. This is actually really important, because:
nerves: you want a good dentist who can nix the tooth's pain without nixing the momma nerve's connections with other parts of the mouth
bloodflow: you want a good dentist who'll be sure to prevent SBE and other septic infections of oral origin.

In other words, an endodontist is going to know 100x more about root canals than the average dentist, and he's going to know 1/100th as much about the cosmetics of dentistry (e.g. polishing teeth w/o abrading enamel). This is just my guess, but yeah: if I needed a root canal, I'd definitely pick the endodontist over the dentist -- just on the name alone! -- if I had no other information to inform my decision.

To make sure I wasn't being a jackass, I went ahead just now and looked it up on Wiki, and yeah: it sounds like he's your man, Jay. Read the first line of the third main body paragraph, starts with "The most common."

Jay said...

Yeah, that's what I'm doing. And for the record, I didn't expect the new dentist to accept a discount for someone else's work. I was wondering if I should go back to the old dentist so he can look at it and say "Oh yeah, looks like the first root I performed canal didn't take. I missed one of the roots. Sorry about that."

Mike said...

Ok so I talked to my Dad. He said you can't really do anything about it, but suggests going to an for endodontist for root canals from now on. I guess he doesn't do them anymore for this reason.

Maybe you should look for a more full time job that offers some dental coverage?

Jay said...

Thanks for doing that. I've made an appointment. The dentist gave me a prescription for pain meds and penicillin but I haven't had them filled yet. I haven't had any pain. The xrays showed a possible cyst forming -- should I take the meds or is it possible my own immune system could handle the infection? Or is the way my immune system handles the infection actually the problem and that's why I should take the penicillin?

I'm really worried about taking unnecessary meds, especially after getting a little sick the last time I took them. I was hoping to wait until I saw the endodontist, but that isn't until March 23rd....

SuiginChou said...

The penicillin is a prophylactic for subacute bacterial endocarditis, or SBE.

The classic presentation (on a medical exam) of a patient with SBE specifically is the guy who goes to the dentist to get a root canal. It's because:
(1) the #1 cause of SBE is any one of the many Viridans-type streptococci (e.g. Streptococcus mutans),

(2) the #1 place you find S. mutans is in the oral cavity, and

(3) a root canal is one of the most (potentially) invasive oral surgeries, allowing the bacteria ample time and space to penetrate the bleeding gum and enter the systemic blood flow.

SuiginChou said...

Having quite possibly scared you, now for some numbers that should either comfort you or scare you even more, take your pick:

There are 2.6 to 7.0 new cases of infective endocarditis (SBE + ABE) per 100,000 population per year in developed countries, with greater incidence in the elderly, immunocompromised, and IV drug users.

In a controlled study, medical researchers found no correlation between development of infective endocarditis and dental visits within the last 3 months prior to clinical diagnosis of the disease.

In that same study, researchers found that the frequency and magnitude of bacterial infections resulting from dental procedures was similar to those for daily dental hygienic practices (e.g. brushing and flossing). Given that most Americans brush daily but only see the dentist once or twice a year, the American Heart Association (AHA) is investigating the possibility that regular brushing might not play just as important a role in triggering SBE as do dental surgeries.

Despite this, the AHA encourages patients undergoing extensive manipulation of the gingiva (e.g. root canal patients) to perform antimicrobial prophylaxis if/when encouraged by a physician.

Long story short, you ain't gonna get SBE, Jay :p, but do us a favor and take the goddamned penicillin, alright? I'd rather you felt queasy then got vegetations on your heart valves.

Jay said...

Okay, thanks for that. You do have my heart beating a little faster, lol. It just feels weird taking penicillin without feeling sick or being in any kind of discomfort. But I will acquiesce to those who know better than me (you, my dentist, and the endodontist office) and fill the prescription tomorrow.