Feb 01, 2014

Not happy with the decision

For the past 2 weeks I have had sporadic tooth pain.  I would chew something and have a sharp almost electrical pain somewhere in my upper left back teeth.  The day of our road trip I woke up to a constant toothache and it continued. I know I still have to write about that trip and I will, soon as I can.

Yesterday, after 2 telephone consultations with my dentist in Kelowna and with 2 Mazatlan dentists, I was referred to an endodontist who was willing to do a root canal three hours later.  Yikes!!  I was very nervous.  It’s bad enough dealing with a root canal with a dentist you know, never mind a Mexican who speaks limited Spanish.

It was lay there and "open". He never told me what he was going to do when I opened my mouth so I never knew if I was being prodded, poked or having ice applied to my teeth or having them banged on.

I guess this is pretty modern for Mazatlan but it does not soothe me.

Many many people come to Mexico to get their dental work done.  Many just go to US border towns such as Algodones to have dental work done at much lower prices that what we normally pay in Canada or the USA.  Many people have great results and again there are just as many who have many problems.  Colin and I do not have any dental plan and at home we pay the full price of whatever we are having done, from check ups, to cleaning, to fillings to root canals and crowns.  It costs a great deal more but we have peace of mind.  We personally know several people who have endured problem after problem due to dental work in Mexico.  We have chosen to have our dentistry done back home in Canada.

Strangely, as soon as we walked into the dentists office, my pain disappeared.  The appointment was for an hour, he only does one hour appointments and your root canal needs to be completed within that time frame. So I was poked and prodded and on and on.

He does do digital x-rays which is very good.

The good dentist believes that my problem lies in the very back upper left molar.  I have no problem with that tooth.  I believe that my pain comes from the second tooth from the right or possibly the fourth.  The third one already had a root canal.

He used a different camera, which hurt a bit, it was long and pointy.

According to the dentist my pain is coming from the back molar because I have a problem just above the existing crown.  Something is black at the shoulder of the crown and has caused the root to die and hence I need a root canal.  First off he does not like to do a root canal through the crown but wants to take my crown off, clean up the ‘black area’ and do a root canal.  I told him I had no pain in that area and perhaps I did not need a root canal after all.  He said that once the crown was off I needed to have a root canal.  So that leaves me with doing both.  The cost of the root canal and the new crown would still be less than the cost of just the crown at home. I insisted, against his advice, on having just a temporary crown and would get the final one done in Kelowna.

By now we were almost at an hour and he had another patient waiting so we decided on Tuesday as my root canal day.  Meanwhile any pain I have had since my dental visit has most definitely not been in that back upper molar.  There are dentists on almost every street here and this particular specialist has actually done root canals in other RVers in the park with no problems.  One then needs to go to another dentist for the final crown.

S0 we decided, Colin was with me, that I would have the root canal and a temporary crown on Tuesday morning.  Cost about $330.00 Canadian.  The last root canal I had at home cost me $1350.00CAD but money is not the issue.  I also have a problem with anesthetic.  It just doesn’t numb me and I often need 5 times what most folks get and even though I am a nurse I strongly dislike needles.

There is no way I will go through all of this for the wrong tooth.  Right now I am strongly considering cancelling my Tuesday appointment.

I received this email from a fellow RVer this morning….

So no root canal yesterday?  I had the same thing happen to me.  When my tooth started hurting, I got into my regular dentist within a couple days, and by the time of the appt, it had stopped hurting.  He said the root was probably dying or dead so no longer a rush to get the root canal, but something I would want to attend to within a few months (or years) before it abcessed.  I decided to go back to the endodontist who had done a root canal for me a few years ago rather than have the regular dentist do it– root canals are tricky business! But you might be able to just wait until you get back to Kelowna too as long as the tooth isn’t hurting.

From another person here…
The fellow that did my root canal appeared to be competent but having said that my dentist at home questioned a pocket at my root base being a bit of left over root or a touch of infection. Anyhow….no problems there that I am aware of three plus years later. But my crown was not made to the standards of our dentistry at home by the first Dr. X. The problem I am told was the shaping of the crown plus the fit.
So I had it redone at home…..$1600 and much aggrevation with a tooth lengthening procedure….removing gum at the sides of the crown for a better fitting crown. The temporaries came off throughout the course of all this and the final crown, which had also to be remade was finally installed and completed some two plus months later.
Plus the fact that my dentist at home had told us horror stories of crowns not fitting properly with infection setting in.  Once person left it too long and ended up with infection of the bones.
What to do?
If I can control the pain with Ibuprofen, I might just wait a few weeks before I decide.  Unless I can pinpoint which tooth it is on my own.
By the way, I am not knocking dentistry in Mexico.  It just isn’t for me unless it is an emergency which it was  yesterday.  Today, I just don’t know what to do.

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13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Not happy with the decision”

  1. Sandy says:

    So sorry to hear of the problem with your teeth. A few years ago I was having major pain in my teeth that was caused as it turned out by a new vitamin I was taking and could not tolerate. My dentist of many years removed several very old fillings that were 40+ years old and replaced with the new stuff that is now used just to be on the safe side and in case there was a very small fracture in the old filling that did not show in the ex ray. The pain would move around so was quite a problem to decide what to do as the ex rays showed nothing. He also explained, too, about fantom pain in teeth – when you think it is one tooth but actually one beside or near it. Truly a big problem. Stopped the vitamin as that was the only change in by diet/habits and things went back to normal. I wish you well as you make your decision on what to do.

    • contessa says:

      Sandy you have truly endured a lot. I know of many people who have had the old amalgam ( with mercury ) fillings removed. I had no idea that something as simple as a vitamin could cause so much tooth pain. Wish my problem was something like that.

  2. Connie in PA says:

    In October, at my dentist appointment, the digital x-rays showed that one tooth needed a root canal. I wasn’t even aware of anything being wrong with THAT tooth. I had gone because while spending time at our summer place, two back molars, on either side, had broken off and/or lost fillings. I thought the molars were all I had to worry about.

    My dentist fixed one tooth that had broken off near the front side that was noticable – that one broke off while eating a salad with croutons! So that was a simple fix.

    The two molars were taken care of by my oral surgeon. I’m a chicken! I decided to be put to sleep and have them pulled. That was well worth the money, didn’t remember a thing. Had to watch what I ate for a few days but all healed up nicely. Nothing to it!

    Root canal – handled by my endodontist – I don’t like needles either but the way they do it now, something was put on my gum that numbed it – didn’t feel anything after the first little pinch. He filled me up with plenty of novacaine and the root canal was done in two hours. Nothing to that either – went shopping at Walmart afterwards!

    We don’t have dental insurance either. Before I retired, we had great insurance.

    Wishing you good luck in your decision, Contessa – hope everything works out for you!!!

    • contessa says:

      Oh Connie, you also have stories to share. But if you had no problems with that tooth why did you go ahead with a root canal?? I don’t have much fatih in the pre numbing here. However I just received an email that this was ‘the root canal guy in Maz’!

      Right now I have had only 15% pain today. I will wait and see what tomorrow brings.

  3. Connie in PA says:

    Both digital x-rays from my dentist and endodontist showed there was an abscess/infection in the tooth that needed a root canal. It looked black on the x-ray. I did have minor problems at the time but didn’t think it was from that tooth. I was focused on getting those dang molars out!!!

  4. Suzanne says:

    Hello, my dancing friend!

    Is that black ridge on the crown, or on the gum? I too have a black ridge along one of my crowns. I asked my dentist about it a while back, because I thought something was wrong. He said no, it was just a part of the crown base, or something like that….in other words, “no cause for alarm.”

    When I was in San Miguel de Allende, I too was diagnosed as needing a root canal (in my eye tooth, no less!) I called my dentist back in Atlanta to see if he thought I could postpone, as the pain was coming and going. His advice was to hold off until the pain started waking me up at night. It never got that bad, thankfully, and I was able to wait for my return back to my dentist stateside.

    Hopefully your pain has subsided now, and by Tuesday, your decision will be clear.

    Miss the C’s and the Isla!

    • contessa says:

      Suzanne….love you advice. The black is along the crown as far as I can tell and I have no pain there at all. As to the other tooth, the pain is no longer constant. I do hope is just goes away.

      Longdog….I don’t know anyone who likes to go to the dentist. It is easier when it is a dentist you have some history with.

      Don…He did use the tap witht he metl object and it made no difference at all, not did the ice application. I think he was really trying to dind a tooth to do a root canal on but he did not find ‘the one’. I never knew that the cold liquid was okay versus the hot.

      Deb…..are they not the same dentist? Oh I see, I think you are using the full name and the other. It was Dr. Ernesto Bertrand Morales I saw. I just want to make sure it is the right tooth that gets done. Welcome to the blog and thanks for the comment.

      George….exactly! Pain is so debilitating.

  5. longdog2 says:

    Ooh, I hate going to the dentist. Most of our generation wasn’t blessed with great teeth but thank heavens my kids were.

  6. Don says:

    The test I have had done to find out which tooth is the one hurting is the dentist giving the top of the tooth a light tap with a small metal object, like the handle end of a dentist’s pick. The problem tooth will hurt 100x more then a normal tooth. The other thing I was told is that cold liquid hurting a tooth is ok, but hot liquid hurting a tooth is not good.

  7. Deb says:

    Hi Contessa … sorry to hear about your tooth hope it doesn’t give you to much more grief… Is that Dr Ernesto Bertrand Morales or Dr Bertrand that you saw? Dr Ibarra is my dentist but I cracked a old filling in Dec and he sent me to Dr Bertrand, he did an awesome job on my root canal.
    Have a great winter hope to see you on the isla next year.

  8. Whatever you decide for your teeth, hope the pain goes away.

  9. Alison Herzberg says:

    I had a great experience with Dr Bertrand. He took x-rays before he even did the root canal so I am not sure where your problem is. As for not being soothed, his office is clean, modern, and he has years of experience. Not sure what else you are looking for.

    • contessa says:

      I am happy that you were pleased with Dr. Bertrand. However I could not trust a Dr. who did not even know which tooth needed the root canal. As it turned out the tooth he thought needed it was the WRONG tooth. So glad that I went with my gut instinct and left his office.

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