I've moved to JennetteFulda.com

Tell me your dental horror stories

Gingerbread dentist
Photo by sethw / CC BY-SA 2.0

I was so distracted by my cold yesterday, that I forgot to mention I also have an intermittent toothache, all in addition to that constant headache I’ve had for almost two years. (Our anniversary is only 6 days away!) Anyway, I’m not dead yet, but the toothache rather annoys me on a philosophical level, which my other aches and pains have failed to do. The toothache only arrived after I had a decaying filling replaced three weeks ago, which I only did because I thought it would prevent a toothache. Irony, I hate you.

The tooth only hurts when cold water or hot coffee gets on it. Then it will ache for 20-60 minutes while I think, “Root canal, root canal, I really want a root canal.” Which just serves as proof that the pain drives me temporarily insane. The rest of the time it’s perfectly fine and I forget it’s even a problem. I’ve been back to the dentist twice now and he hammered on it and blew cold air and cold water on it and x-rayed it and can’t find anything wrong with the filling itself. He said the nerve could still be irritated from the drilling, and that sometimes you have to give fillings time to adjust. He gave me toothpaste for sensitive teeth and told me if the tooth starts aching without any stimulus or wakes me up at night, I should see an endodontist for a root canal.

I did some Googling and it seems like hundreds of other people have had the same problem before, particularly with composite fillings, which are the white fillings shaded to match your teeth, not the metal ones. I’m torn about what to do. I suspect if I wait it out for another month or two, the pain will probably subside because that’s what happened when I got a crown last year. However, when a splash of hot tea or cold soda gets on that molar, OMG, I want to rip out the tooth myself with a pair of needle-nose pliers. I have dental insurance, but it doesn’t cover the full price of a root canal, so…I dunno. I suppose I’ll wait it out for now and keep my fingers crossed.

This experience has made me want to say two things. First, please floss! I know, it’s a pain, but it’s more painful not to. Seriously. You do not know what pain and suffering I could have saved myself simply by flossing and brushing more in my youth. Fillings don’t last a lifetime, and I’ve got over a dozen of them that I’ll be maintaining for the next half century or so. Secondly, what are your dental horror stories? I think the pain I’m in might be lessened if I knew that other people have suffered more than I have. Misery loves company, and I’m throwing a party. Come on in!

Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go Away
Home: Main index

One Trackback

[…] the other dentists must abide by, and they’re high standards.Plus, I’ve heard too many horror stories otherwise.Before we were married, my wife used her insurance, found the office closest to her and […]


tina • February 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm

I had the same experience with my composite filling back in November. It was very sensitive for more than a month and the only reason why I didn’t go back to the dentist–even though he’s hotter than hot and reminds me of Noah Wylie/Dr. Carter–is because I feared a root canal more than I feared the pain. (Yes, I’m a baby.) Now, it’s intermittently sensitive, but not nearly as badly as before. I have since invested in a quality electric toothbrush, floss and *gag* Listerine.

Aside from that: no dental horror stories. In fact, I’m 33 and that was my first cavity.


Linda • February 11, 2010 at 12:28 pm

I wonder if the ache could be a result of the onset of the cold?
I have had a couple of root canals (40 year old fillings fell out & tooth broke – stupid tootsie roll!), and although they are not as bad as people make them out to be, they do take a while to recover from. Mine took about 4 weeks to desensitize. In the meantime, I learned to chew on one side only, and stick my tongue over it when drinking.
Hope you are better soon!


Becky (flybynyght @ wordpress) • February 11, 2010 at 12:30 pm

How’s this for a dentist story:
When I was about 10, I told the dentist that I thought I was going to throw up. He insisted that I was fine. I showed him, I threw up all over him. My mom switched our dental office shortly after that…


Jena • February 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Once my dentist hit a nerve while he was injecting the novocaine or whatever it is they use. It HURT! But that wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was the numbness in my tongue didn’t go away for 7 or 8 months. It sucked. Stuff didn’t taste right and it was hard to talk without mumbling. The dentist seemed so terrified that I was going to try to sue him or something. He just kindof shrugged and said, “sometimes that happens”. He never apologized, I guess because that would have been admitting guilt or something.


PurpleGirl • February 11, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I have five fillings put in over two days about eight years ago. For a year, I had the weirdest flashes of pain. Biting in to bread, for instance, would hurt! Cold liquid didn’t, but room temperature did. I was told the same thing you were, that the nerves were still recovering from the drilling. It eventually went away. I hope yours does too, or that you get your root canal. :)


Amy • February 11, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I am lucky in that I have fantastic teeth, BUT I did have my wisdom teeth pulled when I was 18.

The dentist’s office did not tell me that I couldn’t eat breakfast before coming in. So I ate. So, they couldn’t put me under.

My wisdom teeth had not erupted (since there was no where for them to erupt TO) and thus, it was not just a simple extraction.

I had to rely on a combo of laughing gas & novacaine for the extraction. The dentist forgot to give me novacaine in the 4th quandrant. When he cut into my gums, I nearly killed him. He then had an argument w/ me about whether it hurt or not. I was firmly on the side of “OW” he wasn’t. Finally, he gave up & gave me novacaine, but didn’t wait for it to take effect before getting started. He then didn’t stitch up that hole properly, which was painful and annoying.

All that is probably almost bad enough, but it turns out I’m super allergic to sulfa antibiotics! I found that out, because that’s the antibiotic that they gave me after my oral surgery.

Fun times! I hope I never have to have dental surgery again. GAH!


tessler • February 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I have horrible teeth. Horrible. I have very few teeth left that don’t have either a filling, a root canal, or a crown. When I was a young child, the dentist told my mother that I would have problems all my life because the grooves in the surface of my teeth were too deep to be properly cleaned by brushing and flossing.

My worst dental nightmare story is less about the dentist and more about me being stubborn. I knew I had a bad tooth that needed a new filling. In fact, chunks of the filling were falling out and bits of tooth were breaking off and I was developing some pretty serious toothaches as a result. I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of taking off work and going to the dentist, though, so whenever the pain would get bad I would swish with mouthwash. It would magically numb the exposed nerves and make me feel so much better–albeit temporarily–that I would tell myself I could wait a few weeks before making the dreaded appointment.

And then Hurricane Erin came.

Growing up and living along the Gulf Coast like I do, hurricanes are just a fact of life. Apparently, I’d never had a bad tooth during a hurricane before, though. The more the weather deteriorated, the more my bad tooth screamed at me. I was swishing with mouthwash every few minutes in order to get a minute or two of relief from the agony.

At one point, I remember lying in bed and trying to control the pain using controlled breathing techniques. I suddenly realized that there was an alien squirming around inside my tooth ripping at the nerves. I knew this because I could feel it crawling around in there! At that point, I knew it was either find pain relief or surrender to the insanity. I held a mouthful of mouthwash over the tooth until the low pressure of Erin finally started to move out of the area and the pain started to subside. Ah, sweet relief!

At my earliest opportunity (the next morning), I called and made an urgent dental appointment. When the dentist walked in, I blurted out, “I have a bad tooth; please fix it!” He laughed and said, “Hurricane got you, didn’t it.” Evidently, this is a common occurrence. Who knew??


Loser Girl • February 11, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Crazy, I just went to the dentist yesterday and had to get 4 fillings. My parents never made me go to the dentist, so I’ve been neglecting the problems for quite a while. I had to get a root canal at age 20. And 6 fillings since then. Next they want me to get my impacted wisdom teeth out, ugh. I don’t really have any horror stories though, except the pain before I got the root canal was completely unbearable. I had waited until most of the tooth had disintegrated and omg it was the most awful pain I’ve ever had. I definitely fear having a horror story after the wisdom teeth though… :(


Carol • February 11, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Two dentist horror stories here:

Whilst incarcerated at boarding school for the sake of my education, the school organised our dental “care”, which meant that everyone I lived with went to the same dentist. Rarely would we leave his surgery without some sort of work needing doing; yes, all 35 of us needed huge amounts of work. Suspicious? Over the 8 year period I visited him, he filled more teeth than were left unfilled – some of them twice in one tooth, and organised braces in order to *turn a tooth around*. No way! During one of my visits, I had to bit his hand because he was hurting me so much and wouldn’t stop despite my screams of agony. Anyway, my first visit to a ‘proper’ dentist as a real adult saw me telling him that I would leave and never come back if he hurt me. He was absolutely *amazed* that I had every filling in my head installed without the use of dental anaesthetic (I had no idea such a thing existed).

My second (slightly shorter) experience with a different dentist was when I needed all four unerupted wisdom teeth out. Instead of offering to send me to the local dental hospital where I could have them all out at once under general anaesthetic (and for free), he decided that the best option would be to extract one a week in the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Not fun. It was only years later that I realised that his way was his only way of making money out of my situation.

No surprise that I detest dentists, is it? Actully, my current dentist is lovely.


Dyan • February 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Had the same problem with my composite filling. After about 2 weeks, it settled down and doesn’t hurt at all.
Give it a bit.
I hadn’t visited a dentist for almost 15 years because at my last visit, I had to get my “eye” teeth pulled because I had braces and the new teeth were growing over them.
Long story short, the anesthetic didn’t work (even after 52 shots into the roof of my mouth) so the dentist ended up cracking off both teeth without any numbness.


Abby • February 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm

This post is so timely because I just want to the dentist for the first time in 7 years. It actually was not as bad as I’d thought it was going to be, but my gums are in terrible shape and if I don’t start flossing RIGHT NOW, all my teeth are going to fall out of my head (or something). You’re absolutely right – if I had kept up with the flossing and the regular dental checkups, life would be much better.


Vee • February 11, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I’ve had the exact symptoms as you wrote about. They decided to do a root canal. Didn’t help. Did one on the tooth next to the one we thought needed the root canal the first time. Didn’t help. Had another root canal on the same first tooth. Had oral surgery, still didn’t help. I was told if it’s a fractured tooth I could still have the pain and the only option would be to pull it. (Which we hate to do now that all this work has been done to save toothie.) So I eat my soup cool and wonder what’s freakin wrong. (I do love the laughing gas though. :)


Aline • February 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I have horrible teeth. Much worse teeth than you Pastaqueen. I have invested more than $20 000 in my teeth so far, and that was just the last few years.
My worst experiences: the butcher. Not only did he pretty much tell me I could forget about my teeth because they suck so bad they will probably all fall out soon anyway (I was crying for days after this appointment) he was also so brutal that I had a bruised face for weeks after a few appointments. I stayed with him for two years – why? Because he was the only dentist who actually cared about doing preventive dentistry – all the other dentists I had before where just doing the most necessary stuff which led to problems later in my life.


Carbzilla • February 11, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Only because you asked for it- I had neuralgia two summers ago when I got my first two crowns in my life. They were my back teeth on either side, and the pain was absolutely unbearable – I couldn’t sleep or eat. I lived on Advil and Vicodin for 6 weeks. The pain radiated from the bottom of my jaw up so my brain kept saying “It’s from the Novacaine needles” so when I had the crowns permanently glued, we did it without any Novacaine. Really at that point I could withstand anything. The pain finally dissipated.

I would definitely go discuss it with your dentist. I’m so sorry hon – you must be SO over pain. Big hugs!


Danielle • February 11, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I had to have a root canal due to my previous dentist not taking x-rays and missed a cavity until it got so big it could be filled. Hrrrumph.

When I got to the oral surgeon’s office, he attempted to freeze my mouth. Didn’t work. Tried again. And again. Then he decided that surely it must be frozen by now, even though I was saying “no, I don’t think so.” Once I jerked my head away violently (with the drill in my mouth) I think he realized that I was right – not frozen.

I got up to rinse out my mouth in the middle of this, and went sideways, almost fell down I was shaking so much. (I’m not usually a wimp) Eventually he used “pressure” anesthesia, which meant he put the needle in and pressed really hard. It did work, but not pleasant. I also had to sleep sitting up for almost a week, the pain when I put my head down was unbearable.

Turns out my uncooperative mouth was keeping him from his run at lunch. A*shole. Won’t be going back to him.

I floss everyday now. On the brighter side, my husband had a root canal – different dentist, and was just fine, no pain after. So you could be like that.


Tamara • February 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I sorta have the same thing going on.. I had gotten 2 fillings on the right side of my mouth and 3 on the left. The 3 on the left were sensitive to cold and hot temperatures, but it did go away after a while.. but the 2 on the right STILLhurt w/cold or hot temp. It does last for like 15 or 20 min. Its annoying. I feel the same EVERYONE should floss! its not worth it! when you can do something so easy to prevent it!


Martha M • February 11, 2010 at 2:56 pm

This is off-topic and I looked but maybe I still missed where you addressed this already, but did you continue with the Beck diet solution?


Alison • February 11, 2010 at 3:13 pm

So it’s not exactly a dental horror story – maybe more like a dental mortification story.

I’ve always had good teeth, and I think it’s largely genetic, because my oral hygiene is less than pristine. Lo and behold, at age 19, I got my first cavity. My very sweet, kind, and somewhat young dentist broke the news to me, and I…BURST INTO TEARS!


Alison • February 11, 2010 at 3:17 pm

I wasn’t quite done with my post, but inadvertently it got posted.

Anyways, the poor dentist was bewildered, and held my hand until I finally calmed down. Who knew that one cavity could make me feel like such a failure?

And honestly, now I look back at that and laugh. I’ve had maybe 3 more cavities, but I guess age allows me to take them in stride. And I still see the same dentist – I figure if he put up with me crying over a cavity, he totally deserves my dental-money for the rest of my life! :-D

Hope your tooth sensitivity calms down. I also have problems in general with sensitivity to hot/cold/sugar, but it comes and goes, and I am pretty careful not to eat or drink anything that will trigger it. Hang in there!


cloudy • February 11, 2010 at 3:17 pm

When I was 16, I needed to have a filling in one of my lower front teeth. My dentist had just retired, so I got the guy that took his place. He called me his little butterfly & made me very uncomfortable. I don’t think he knew what he was doing, because when he gave me Novocain, he shot it into the wrong spot or something, because it did not work. I felt the whole procedure and was in a lot of pain. When I left his office I spat a whole mouthful of blood onto his front steps by the entranceway to warn any new patients.

A few months later I became seriously ill when that tooth became abscessed. I had a fever of 104 and my face swelled up and hardened. Remember that movie Mask with Cher & Eric Stolz? Well, I looked just like that kid for about a week. Eventually, I had to have root canal on that tooth and get it capped. They literally shaved down the tooth, put a post into it & then put a fake tooth on top of that. At some point, the fake tooth became loose & I could remove it at will.

One night, while at a bar with a friend, we decided to hit on a guy at the bar. We asked him to sit down with us & just as he was going to, I said something stupid & my tooth flew out of my mouth. In slow motion, it bounced 3 times across the table & dropped to the other side where I could not reach. I screamed as the guy picked it up for me & handed it back. I said: “That’s My Lucky Tooth!” & put it in my pocket.


Karen • February 11, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Oh my! I do feel your pain…
My husband and I hadn’t been out alone in forever…or at least 4 yrs since having kids. SO, we went to see Star Trek. I bit down on some popcorn, and manage to fracture two teeth on a kernel. It was the worst pain I’ve ever had..I broke two teeth, and had to get two crowns. I still have pain from time to time.

My only recommendations are: try a good mouth rinse and sensodyne toothpaste. I think we use Crest procare rinse. I have noticed a huge difference in sensitivity since starting the rinsing. I agree flossing is required!
I am in the same boat as you with regards to fillings. I hate to think how much I will spend to keep them….I guess it is worth it…I sometimes think dentures would be cheaper!


PastaQueen • February 11, 2010 at 3:21 pm

@Martha M – Hey Martha, I’m still doing it, but between my illness and my freelance work I haven’t had time to write about it this week. Probably Monday?


Rebecca • February 11, 2010 at 3:29 pm

I am smack in the middle of exactly what you described. Except, I have had a the pain on and off for two years. It has now come to critical mass and we are involving endodontists and talking about things like hairline fractures in the tooth below the gumline (and not visible on xrays!) and a .01% chance that I have a weird body anomaly whereby I have an extra canal touching the root and irritating it. Kill me now. $700 spent so far. Making another appointment for next week.

Yes, please floss!


Rahim Samuel • February 11, 2010 at 3:58 pm

I was kind of gonna imply what Linda did. My friend said he had a headache so bad he went to the doctor because he thought something was seriously wrong. After head tests, x-rays and a MRI, the doctor finally told him to go to the dentist and BINGO. He needed a route canal.


Suzanne • February 11, 2010 at 4:36 pm

I had the exact same thing. Intense sensitivity to temperature and pressure with my composite filling. It has been six months, and I can floss again. It’s just a matter of waiting for the nerve to “shy away” (as my dentist put it) from the filling. I already have really sensitive teeth, so Sensodyne is a way of life now, but it does get better. Just wait.


Tracy • February 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Oooh, dental horror stories… not so much a horror story as a, “WOW, YOU DEFIED THE RULES OF DENTISTRY!” story…

I temporarily lived in Oregon (we were living in Ireland at the time; Dad worked with Intel, and was sent to Oregon for training on new machines or whatever) and we had pretty good insurance care of Intel, so we decided to go along to the dentist and get as much work done as we could possibly A) afford and B) live through.

After being x-rayed and whatnot, the dentist decided that I needed THREE root canals. Joy, said I. With every tooth he opened up and dug into, there were three roots. Even in a tooth that was only supposed to have one root, there were three!

When I moved back to Scotland, I had to find a dentist – again – and, again, I got x-rayed and checked up, and one tooth was either “ROOT CANAL OR EXTRACTION,” to which I opted for extraction, because, yet again, there were three roots in a tooth meant to have only one! ARGH!

On the plus side, the dentist in Oregon sang, “Dentist!” from Little Shop Of Hororrs while he drilled into my tooth, and gave me Vicodin when I was done that knocked me out for the duration of the pain. So that was awesome. :)

TL;DR: I feel your pain. Root canals are the work of the devil, and I really hope that your new toothpaste helps with the sensitivity.

Man, sometimes I wish we didn’t NEED teeth.


Caro • February 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Okay, I read some of the dental horror stories but I need to stop because this is a really hard topic for me. But I will share with you my experience with hot/cold sensitivity. First time it happened I suffered with it for the better part of a year. Then I switched dentists, told him about it and he re-did the fillings. magic. Freaking magic. sensitivity almost entirely gone. (I’m sensitive anyway, but no more extreme pain.) Then a year and a half ago I had to have a filling replaced. Same sensitive to temp pain again. (different side of my mouth.) I gave it a month and then went back and had them re-do the filling. No pain.

I wish I remembered exactly what the dentist said, but same experience, different teeth, different dentists, same solution.

But I must say that I REALLY love my current dentist. I clench/grind my teeth in my sleep and instead of giving me a standard bite guard, he sets you up with a special guard and a machine that helps him calibrate it so your bite is perfect when he is done. no more headaches and face pain! So there are some good ones out there!


Amy • February 11, 2010 at 5:56 pm

As you probably know, I’ve had more dental work done than most folks, what with 20 crowns (plus about six of those have been done twice), 6 veneers, and just two untouched teeth left. The wisdom teeth have been long gone, too, of course. Also four root canals so far, two of which were on the same tooth, years apart. I have cadaver bone in there and I’ve had electrodentistry and gum surgery (euphemized as crown lengthening).

My dental wisdom is now:
1. If you grind your teeth, use a guard or save up about $35k to replace all your teeth.
2. Root canals are EASY compared to a lot of other dental work, namely gum surgery and having ALL YOUR TEETH CROWNED. Except for two, of course.
3. Root canals do not solve everything. I have cold and sweet-sensitive pain now on two teeth, one of which has had two root canals done on it. The nerve may be dead, but that doesn’t stop dentin pain! My dentist told me to floss more and stop drinking soda (again) and it’s actually helping, along with Listerine.

But I can recommend really good endo and prosthodontists nearby if you need them!


Sarah • February 11, 2010 at 6:55 pm

So about a year ago I had two silver fillings replaced with composite. The dentist was new as I had just moved. I loved my old dentist but alas, one must move on. He started drilling, mumbled something about being deeper than he thought, filled it, no problem. I went back the next week to do the other side, and complained of that point to sensitivity to pressure, and he said it’s normal, it will go away. He also said I needed FOUR ROOT CANALS. I said hell no. Fast forward to 6 months later. I vowed never to go back, as my sensitivity had developed in to full blown sensitivity to EVERYTHING, including pressure. I asked a friend for a referral and found my current dentist. (Dr. Alan Robbins in Cleveland, OH!) He’s FABULOUS. Anyway, he took a few x-rays and decided to redo the composite fillings. He got into the tooth and found that the previous dentist had left decay under the new filling. It was the same on the other side. He replaced both fillings, and I did NOT need any root canals. I just last week finished the last of my dental work with him and am pleased as punch, no sensitivity or pain. Overall I had 8 fillings redone – all silver, from my youth – and a deep descaling. What I will say that I really like about this dentist though, is that he uses a mouth camera to SHOW you the decay, and the state of the fillings. I appreciated that soooo much, because I knew I wasn’t getting screwed.

And just another short story, I had all my wisdom teeth out when I was 18, and couldn’t feel my chin for 5 years. My dentist says that can sometimes happen, if they accidentally hit a nerve. No biggie! Anyway, if you’re really concerned about your new filling (I would be, given my experience) I would try to find a doc with a camera and take a look. You know he may not be telling you he left debris and decay, but you should be able to see it under the composite material.

Good luck!


Sarah • February 11, 2010 at 6:59 pm

Oh that reminds me, for tooth sensitivity, Sensodyne, yes, but also ACT mouthwash. Extra fluoride coverage!


Aline • February 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm

I also agree with Amy. I don’t understand why anybody would want to have a root canal. It’s really painful (it hurt for 4 days after the root canal was done for me. A lot.) and it cost me $700 despite having dental insurance.

Oh I have another horror story – it’s not me though, thank god. So I was at my oral surgeon for a check up today and I overheard a phone conversation in which the dental assistant tried to convince a patient to do an autopsy on a gum issue. The patient insisted on canceling his appointment because he thought it wasn’t necessary. Autopsies are only done when the surgeon thinks you might have oral cancer but I think she was not allowed to say that on the phone because otherwise, why would you want to cancel an appointment that could save your life?

With all my tooth problems I am so glad that this is the one thing I never had to do. After reading about Grant Achatzs (Chef from Chicago restaurant Alinea) battle with tongue cancer I was briefly absolutely certain I had mouth cancer. But turns out I am just a hypochondriac.


michele • February 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Do not get on a plane! I had the exact same thing and the pesky “irritated” nerve literally exploded in my jaw. I spent the ascent and descent in horrific pain both going and coming. By the time I got home it was infected and I would have gladly done a root canal myself had I been able to see straight. Be an advocate for your sanity and healthy…get a root canal! Especially if it’s the first of the year and you have oodles of dental insurance to spend (if applicable). Your headache is already enough to handle..take control of this so you can stop suffering!


Lainey • February 11, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Hmmm, well, okay. I had a root canal a couple of years ago, and I FELT IT when the dentist was drilling out the nerve. And he was an ass, too–he actually yelled at me because I was scared of the pain. I won’t be going back to him.

Then after it was done, it…still hurt. I didn’t understand this because the nerve was supposed to be gone, so how could it still hurt? But I also did some looking on the internet, and I wasn’t the only one with that problem. So even a root canal might not solve your problem! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

It did gradually go away, now. It might occasionally still hurt a bit if my sinuses are plugged, but not too bad, and otherwise it doesn’t hurt.

I still have to get a cap for that stupid tooth, too. Our free healthcare in Canada doesn’t cover dental stuff.


Carole • February 11, 2010 at 7:42 pm

I can see from the other comments that some people have had it even worse than I have. Oh, harsh world.

I have very bad teeth, and one year had a record thirteen fillings. I have now had so many root canals I can’t remember how many of them I’ve had. Less than ten, but probably more than five.

Once, I had a gumline filling that was too close to the gum, so they had to do this nasty gum surgery that I am sure you do not want to think about at all.

The worst part was the two years I didn’t have dental insurance. I spent thousands and thousands of dollars out of pocket that year on my teeth.

Don’t forget the braces I had as a child. I’m sure my teeth have bought several orthodontists and dentists some new cars and boats.

I floss every single day, very well. I use a Sonic toothbrush. I am very good. None of this trumps poor genetics and bad luck.

Almost all my teeth have a lot of cold sensitivity. I really don’t enjoy eating ice cream. Brrrrr. OW. I’ve given up complaining about this — and you’re right, it’s probably due to the multiple white composite fillings.

Best wishes in your dental adventures.


kathy • February 11, 2010 at 7:56 pm

The best thing for cleaning your teeth and gums is a Waterpic,


ChrissyS • February 11, 2010 at 8:01 pm

AAaaaaaaaaaa Jennette, I am such a rule follower!! But this time I really dislike the rule of reading the other posts before posting! hahahaha. Ickkkk…I read them ALL..about such a nahhhsty topic..all just so I could say –

Give it some time, the sensitivity will be gone sometime soon, and then you kind of even forget you were keepin’ a watch on it.

Also, your cold may be aggravating it a bit too.

Hang in there.


Erin • February 11, 2010 at 8:39 pm

It took almost 6 months for the heat and cold sensitivity to dissipate after my composite fillings, but now they are fine. I was terrified I was going to have to have a root canal! I hope it improves for you soon.


Jean • February 11, 2010 at 8:56 pm

You can hunt me down & smack me, but I don’t have a dentist horror story. Except for the time that I was laid off, I have gone to the dentist faithfully every 6 months since I was 4 or 5. Got my 1st cavity when I was 16, the last when I was 21 – and that one was filled w/o any drugs b/c it was so small. Had the dentist drilled any farther, I would have come out of the chair & stopped him, though. I am very blessed & thankful for my good dental health – not sure I would be able to handle all of the root canals & crowns.


The Witch • February 11, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Here’s a horror story for you…I was a dental assistant for 22 years! I’m retired now, so I don’t have anymore empathetic pain, but I do have some advice.

I want to caveat this by saying, I am not a dentist, and I an not diagnosing. Yes, it can take a couple of weeks for a “nerve” to calm down following a filling. However, tooth colored fillings aren’t usually as sensitive to hot and cold as a silver filling. If you also notice more sensitivity when you bite down it could very well be “cracked tooth syndrome” which is not uncommon following a filling, especially a large one.

There are ways to detect a cracked tooth, if your dentist hasn’t already tried them you may want to suggest it. If they aren’t willing to do the test go see another dentist.

No one should have to suffer for long after dental treatment.


Andrea • February 11, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Hey there, here’s my similar experience. I had a filling done…the white composite kind…and I experienced awful pain, and severe sensitivity…. I endured this for over a year, even though my new dentist (the one who did this filling went on maternity leave) said that if it was still causing me problems, I should have it redone. Finally they talked me into it, and I had it redone…and the pain instantly stopped!! That was about 4 months ago and it has not caused an ounce of pain since. Not sure why the first composite filling was so bad while the replacement (also composite) was fine… My new dentist won’t say this to my face, but I can tell she thinks my old dentist screwed up somehow!


Erin • February 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I will share this story with anyone who is patient enough to hear me talk about my teeth. And since you asked…

A few years ago, I went to the dentist for a cleaning. I was told I needed to get a filling redone, so a new dentist did it that day. It was fairly sensitive afterwards, but that’s been fairly typical for me, so I didn’t worry too much. Kind of like you situation, it eventually got very sensitive to hot and cold, and then it got worse, to the point where anything solid and not room temperature was impossible to eat/drink. It got to the point where I was taking 4 advil every 4 hours (I know, I know) and that wasn’t helping. The breaking point was where I stayed up literally all night sitting up (laying down was too painful) just crying. The entire left side of my face was in agony.

I was at school, which is why I waited so long to do anything about it. I finally went to another dentist, who said the filling wasn’t filed down properly, and caused all the tendons around it to become inflamed. He filed it down, and then he told me to only eat yogurt at room temperature (or similar) for two weeks.

And then, it got better. Until right before Christmas. The familiar pain returned, and I immediately told my mom. She eventually agreed to let me go to the dentist. When I got there, they told me they’d try filing the filling again, but if it wasn’t instantly better, I would need a root canal. Sure enough, it wasn’t any better.

Seeing as it was Christmas Eve, they sent me home with some pain killers, and some antibiotics (the tooth was abscessed at this point) and said they’d see me after the holiday. By the time I got home, my mom was in the drive way, and told me to go back. The head dentist (the dentist who owned the practice) decided this needed to be done now, and came down from the mountains to do it right then. She told me to bring some music, and I went back.

I was terrified, but honestly that root canal was the best part of the whole experience. I felt instantly better, and I had got a bunch of pain killers to boot. Not to mention I was able to eat Christmas dinner. A few months later I got a crown put on, and it’s never caused me a problem again.

On top of all that my parents got the cost of the procedure waived since the other dentist who had done the original filling had messed up. So, win win win.

Glad to hear you’re getting this taken care of early! Hope your teeth (and head, and your whole self really) are feeling better!


Susan • February 11, 2010 at 11:13 pm

At the risk of sounding like an utter nut job for believing my health issues are directly related to a dental procedure: after never having a health problem in my entire life I had my amalgam fillings removed and within 2 weeks my entire immune system went beserk and subsequently I’ve been diagnosed with both Crohn’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.


Elle, XL • February 11, 2010 at 11:35 pm

I’ve had that happen too. I had to have it replaced with a medicated filling first and then a metal (or non-composite, maybe it was almalgam?) filling afterwards.


Rebecca Hoover • February 12, 2010 at 12:08 am

Spent 1000 dollars on a root canal several weeks ago, best money I ever spent. Or best money that I let my boyfriend spend on me :) But my tooth ache was keeping me up all night moaning and writhing, I supposed if I just had to eat lukewarm food I might have lived with it for a bit. Good luck, hope it settles down.


Lyn • February 12, 2010 at 12:29 am

I had a HORRIBILY sensitive tooth after a filling, too. Just like what you describe. Thinking, omg, I am going to rip this tooth out with my bare hards. Tried the special toothpastes, etc. But the good news is, after about two MONTHS the sensitivity did go completely away, and I stopped using the special toothpaste and the sensitivity and pain never came back. The dentist said the same thing about irritated nerve. Guess he was right. I’d vote for waiting.


Weight Loss and Diet • February 12, 2010 at 1:06 am

I got my wisdom teeth out when I was 17. I was already made aware of the situation the my bottom two were growing perpendicular and pressing up against the rest of the teeth and that they’d be a little more difficult to remove. Anyway, the procedure started with a bunch of injections – all local anesthetic, and that was fine until the injections in the roof of the mouth – weird crunching sound – eww! Anyway, he banged the top two out with a mallet and some sort of tool – seemed more like carpentry, or marble sculpting. They each came out with just one whack – it was going good – but the best was yet to come – the bottom teeth. For these, he used the mallet again, but warned me because of the way the teeth were going, he had to break them up to remove them – uh, okay. So he started banging away on my teeth – each time my jaw would shake – come on – this isn’t dentistry – this is demolition work. So anyway, he ended up having to shatter both teeth and pick out the shards. After about an hour on the chair, he was done. It was clean up time – lots of blood. I mean a lot of blood – nice of the oral surgeon to make the comment that he’d never seen that much blood. Once they had me cleaned up (Yay!) I stood up and promptly fainted back into the chair.

Thank goodness those damn things don’t grow back!


Josie • February 12, 2010 at 2:35 am

Had the exact same thing happen about two years ago. Although stuff didn’t even have to be cold or hot to cause pain. Even room temperature foods and liquids did it. Went back to the dentist three times, they treated me like I was crazy so I finally gave up. I think I chewed only on the left side of my mouth for months and started using straws in an effort to get liquids to hopefully go down without touching my teeth. Very gradually, things started to improve. But I’d say it was a good six months before my teeth felt normal again. No root canal needed. So, unfortunately, you might have to suffer a while longer, but things *will* get better.


Annalisa • February 12, 2010 at 5:26 am

Like you and everyone else, I have experienced the same thing. 3 fillings on October – they still ache with some foods.

I do floss every morning, and I avoid the long list of tooth decay factors but, I still manage to get 1-3 cavities annually :-)

I just started taking a prescription mouthwash – it costs $8 w/insurance and is used once a week. I think it basically is a 10% solution of fluoride? Basically, it strengthens teeth. OTC is like $5 and needs to be used twice daily (I think that contained .010%).

Maybe look into mouthwash to prevent future cavities?

Good luck! I think tooth pain is the hardest pain of all…


hopefulloser • February 12, 2010 at 9:56 am

Yup, same thing happened to me when I replaced metal fillings with composite fillings. They were on my lower back teeth and I did it for vanity, man was I pissed because they hurt for a YEAR! It did all go away though and now they’re fine. I didn’t replace my top metal ones though (you can’t see them much anyway) because I thought the pain and sensitivity wasn’t worth it.

Sensitive toothpaste helps. I would wait on that root canal if you can.

Good luck, wishing you the best either way.


Alisha • February 12, 2010 at 10:15 am

I have a dental horror story for the ages. When I was a child, I had to have a procedure on my teeth because they didn’t have enamel when they came in (genetic defect). Essentially, they had no protection and were rotting away.

The dentist used no anesthetic on me. I remember 3 people holding me down in his chair and one lady told me to just think of Disneyland. And he was smiling while he did the damn procedure. My mother told me in tears many years later she could hear me screaming outside the building. And yes, I still hate the dentist. (He later lost his license after a boy died in his chair.)


Sheryl • February 12, 2010 at 11:14 am

Definitely wait it out. I am doing that with a replaced crown — EVERY one of my teeth is a porcelain crown, and the sensitivity thing often happens for up to a month.

I was pretty much born with my teeth rotting, but due to flossing, my dentist says I have the gums of a 25 year old (I’m 51), and as long as I can deal with replacing the crowns as they get really old, I should not ever lose my teeth or need root canals. So, yeah, hang in there and I bet it will subside.


CannedAm • February 12, 2010 at 11:24 am

A dental professional friend of mine told me about the site: dentalminds.com which includes a forum. The forum is moderated by a dentist who will personally answer your questions if you post them. It helped me a lot a year ago when I had some serious problems with dental care gone wrong.

My problems started with a root canal. The doc was was numbing me when I felt a painful jolt of lightning bolt through my tongue. “AGGGGGGGG” I said, since that’s all you can say when someone has three fingers and a 40-inch needle in your mouth. He said, “oops, sorry about that” and continued poking me with the needle. My tongue went immediately numb but I could remember from other dental work that that’s a good thing, it means the dentist deposited the numbing agent right along the nerve so that you should be properly numb while he digs out bits and bobs with barbarian like implements of destruction from your inner dental workings. The work went fine, though the dentist had to repeatedly numb me because I kept having pain while he worked. (Not good.)

The next day my tongue was still numb. And the day after that. And the day after that one. I’d talked to the dentist and he said that happens sometimes. “Give it a couple more days,” he said. In a couple more days my tongue was still numb. As it turns out that jolt of lightning I felt running through my tongue was what it feels like when a needle jabs THROUGH the nerve the doctor is supposed to be depositing the numbing agent NEXT TO. Doing some research I found that some people never recover and live their lives with a partially numbed tongue. (Exactly one half of my tongue was numb.) At the end of eight weeks (the general recovery time for a nicked tongue nerve) the tip of my tongue was still numb. Popular thought was at the end of eight weeks whatever is still numb, will be numb forever. It took perhaps another eight weeks, perhaps longer, but eventually I did regain feeling in the tip of my tongue. The dentist at dental minds did a lot to ease my mind during that time and also when I had questions about every single other thing that particular tongue nerve nicking dentist wanted to do to my mouth. (I’ve gotten a new dentist. I just don’t feel comfortable with him anymore.)

So if you’d like an expert’s opinion (without having to see another dentist in an office) head over to that forum and post your dilemma. You’ll get a response in about 24 hours.

Good luck!


Liz • February 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm

apparently you didn’t see my post… my dental was so bad I ended up going to Mexico instead.



Catherine • February 12, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Conventional dentistry is not the only way to go. I use Tooth Soap from Perfect Prescription. Fluoride, silica, and glycerine are common ingredients in toothpaste that actually damage your teeth and prevent them from re-mineralizing. You could try reading Ramiel Nagel’s book, “Cure Tooth Decay.” He has s website by the same name, and just did a podcast on cheeseslave.com on his books: http://www.cheeseslave.com/2010/01/27/how-to-cure-tooth-decay-with-rami-nagel/ I know some friends who used his method–one healed her four cavities, another reversed his receding gums. Worth checking out.


Shea • February 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm

Oh, ouch. I hope the pain goes away quickly. I have a chronic headache, too (3 years and counting) and I know anything on top of it just gets elevated to crazy levels.

On to the story… Several years ago, I went to the dentist and they decided that the pain I was having was due to my wisdom teeth. They were so impacted that they were growing into my jaw. I had dental insurance, but being a young, 20-something artist, it’s wasn’t the most robust. So, it covered the removal, but only local anesthetic. Right. A LOCAL. Into my life comes Dr. Ja (pronounced “jaw”, I kid you not).

Since I couldn’t be put under, they would only do one side at a time. And two on my right side were different procedures, so that meant three trips for my wisdom teeth, one of them being full-on jaw surgery. I don’t think anyone has really lived until hearing a bone saw cutting into one’s skull, regardless of whether or not you feel any pain (though there was plenty of tugging and scary noises). Oh, and the icing on the cake was that he accidentally left some gauze in there that got infected. Good times, good times…


Deanna - The Unnatural Mother • February 12, 2010 at 2:23 pm

My dental woes are way way way too long to list, I’m suffering right now, and NEED to make a appointment, feel better PQ!


donna • February 12, 2010 at 5:34 pm

Quick reminder that these are your good teeth years! I had great teeth, no problems until I turned 50! The myriad of endontists and dentists I’ve seen since say that our teeth wear out earlier than our other parts, no matter the brushing and flossing religiously. I’m happy you have dental insurance, I pray to never have another root canal again, and I still think its all worth it whenever I use my choppers to bite into something delicious.


Michelle • February 12, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I have a deep filling in a tooth that regularly gives me pressure pain – it drives me nuts and went to the dentist over and over with a tooth ache. The filling was replaced twice (once at no charge by the same dentist in order to confirm that there was not a problem with the filling itself). Finally a dental xray taken at just the right time showed the problem – the tooth has very deep roots/nerves and when my sinuses are inflamed (a regular occurance since I am allergic to dust, mould, trees and grass – pretty much the world lol) the nerves are irritated by the sinus pressure.
I would quite often take an allergy pill prior to going to the dentist so I could hopefully breathe through my nose while in the chair, alleviating the problem enough that it didn’t show up.
My dentist examines that tooth carefully each checkup to confirm there is not any visable damage but as there is no temperature sensitivity we leave it alone.


Steve | Weight Loss Weapons • February 12, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I just found out this week that my kids are both going to need braces and plates to adjust their teeth. $10,000 each over their teen years……That’s horror :(

I’ve got one of those sensitive composite fillings on one of my molars. The pain comes and goes but all you can do is live with it I guess. That sensodine tooth paste did nothing.



Katie Johnson • February 12, 2010 at 6:59 pm

When that happened to me there was a teeny, tiny little crack or hole in the filling that let all that horribly pain inducing liquid in when I took a drink of anything. Dentist patched it and it was fine. I know your pain! I hope it subsides soon.


Quix • February 12, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I strayed from regular dental cleanings for 3 years and found that I now need a crown and a filling. Boo.

The worst though was my last root canal. They shot me up with 21 shots of novicane and I could still feel air. They sent me home, mouth numb, and I had to go in again to a specialist with the super strong stuff. That was horrid. Oh, and when I was little once I was stubborn and hated needles so badly I made my dentist drill without novicane. I do not suggest it.


Caroline • February 13, 2010 at 9:11 am

I really don’t want this to scare you, but I had a root canal done a couple of years ago. It wasn’t that bad. People told me that the procedure itself does not hurt at all, and so far they were right. However, my tooth was in pretty bad shape and took a bit longer than anticipated. Well, the numbness wore off while the procedure was continuing. I honestly felt like someone was taking a rod and shoving it through my tooth and stabbing my soul. Tears started rolling down my face and I was grunting because I could not speak. The doctor was, well, horrified and immediately shot me with more medication and the rest of the procedure went fine.
This was by far my worst dental horror story. It had a happy ending though – after the root canal, my tooth felt SOOOOOOO much better. So it was totally worth it, even with the few seconds of pain.


coraspartan • February 13, 2010 at 11:51 am

I recently had a composite filling after one of my old metal fillings fell out. I hadn’t even noticed the filling fell out–my dentist asked me about it when I was in for a checkup and I was like, “Oh, I’m missing a filling?” The tooth never gave me any problem when there was no filling in it. Fast forward to after the composite filling–major sensitivity, especially to hot and cold. For the first week especially, I could barely eat. I drank using a straw to try to direct liquids away from that side of my mouth.

My advice: Give it time. I noticed a substantial improvement in sensitivity after about a month. I still have a bit of sensitivity (4 months later) but nothing I can’t live with.


Natalie • February 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm

I’m sorry to hear about your dental pain! I don’t have a lot of dental horror stories, other than this one time I had 4 cavities taken care of in one visit. I’m a bit younger than you, and I think I will certainly take more care to floss after reading your blog!


K • February 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Why did I read any of this? I have horrible dentist phobia (and regular nightmares about things happening to my teeth). Fortunately my teeth are actually pretty good.

I have two composite fillings – the only ones I’ve got – and aside from my hating the experience of having them put in, they haven’t caused me any trouble whatsoever in the ten or so years I’ve had them. One fell out, but even then it could be replaced without any further drilling (I was very happy when I heard that).

They definitely seem to need replacing less often than the metal type, if friends’ experiences are anything to go by.


Vicki • February 13, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Good grief! What country do you people live in? (Sorry this was the first time I’ve ever read this blog. Got to it in a round-about way.) I’ve been in dentistry for 44 years–dental assistant, expanded functions assistant, receptionist, office manager. These things should NEVER happen. Find a new dentist NOW. There are kind, compassionate, dedicated individuals who should and will make your dental experience better. I should know. When I was a kid you went to the dentist when you had a toothache and he pulled your teeth. At 18 I had 22 decayed teeth, and eventually over my life had a bridge, 8 crowns, 1 root canal, a sinus lift and 2 dental implants. From age 18, I’ve never had a painful or bad experience at the dentist–in spite of all that was done. I did learn to take care of my mouth and most of the work was a result of really bad dental education (none at all) in my youth and having to maintain compromised (already filled) teeth. I wish you lived in my town because I’d steer you to the right dentist. Bad dentists should not be encouraged and a bad dentist is one who won’t listen, won’t believe you, and won’t make sure you experience no pain. It doesn’t have to be this way. Really.


Amy • February 13, 2010 at 7:07 pm

This is not so much a horror story as an embarassing “under the influence of good dental drugs” story, but when my very cute oral surgeon got me hopped up on drugs to take out my wisdom teeth, the last thing I remember was putting my hand on his leg. Yep. Turns out I get a little feisty when drugged. When I woke up and remembered it, I was so embarassed, but it makes me laugh!


Suz • February 13, 2010 at 11:39 pm

I had a horrible toothache on a holiday weekend and went to the Union recommended dentist who was called in because it was “emergency”. I get to the large factory dental office and all the lights are off, only one room has it’s lights on. I see a guy in a white jacket so I go in. I sit in the chair. He turns, a scary old man, with grizzled whiskers and looked exactly like the pharmacist in “IT’S WONDERFUL LIFE”…except it was the BAD life when he was a drunk. He had SHAKING HANDS and proceeded to give me painful shots, He didn’t wait for them to kick in and just started with the shaky drill…he had terrible breath and leaned over me and I was crying in pain and I felt…yes…to put this delicately, a “friction chubby” growing on him, leaning against my upper arm, I freaked…don’t they teach them about this in dental school? I finally reached the limit and pushed him away and ran out, mouth bleeding, half a root canal…crying…and got a referral from friends at work to “the rich people celebrity” pain free dentist in Toluca Lake and never went back.


Kim • February 14, 2010 at 3:25 am

Urg, I have lots of dental horror stories, the most relevant of which is a root canal 2 years ago that was followed by tooth pain for about 10 months. I still try to avoid chewing on that side.

2 weeks ago, the crown on that tooth broke so I forced myself to go to a new dentist, who has had me in again since then and now informs me I will have to come back at least 3 times.

Why the hell do dental visits always travel in groups? Why can’t it just be “patch you up and off you go”?


anji • February 14, 2010 at 6:35 am

Just an idea, from when I wore braces….

Would you consider trying on some dental wax? Over the sensitive tooth? Maybe give it an extra coating of protection? Some of my teeth were crazy sensitive when I had braces and because I wore the wax over the big ol’ bracey things, I found this also helped. You can wedge the wax around the entire tooth and protect it. It’ll help with liquids… food? not so much but if you chew on the opposite side, you could probably get away with wearing it… and not getting too much guck on it.

Good luck!


BB • February 14, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I have had dental pain for a few months now. I hate to go to the dentist more then any kind of doctor. So…after years of nothing but cleanings-I ended up needed two crowns. My new dentist did a great job, but about a month later I had the same problem as you with the hot/cold. I thought I needed another crown, but found out the spot bothering me is one of the new crowns. The dentist thought it was a sinus infection. (I’ve had plenty of those with no tooth pain like this) He gave me strong antibiotics that made my heart race so I didn’t take many. Then this past week I got an actual sinus infection along with bronchitis and then allergies. My doctor thought my tooth pain was sinus related also. The pain has almost gone away but then will flare up at odd times. I don’t want a root canal!!!! How do you know when you actually need one? My dentist did x-rays and the tooth tapping thing but said if it kept hurting I should come back. I don’t wanna. I hope your pain goes away soon.


BB • February 14, 2010 at 9:29 pm

PS My worse dental story is from when I was a child. The dentist gave me a shot to numb the area and then left to work on another patient. When he returned the shot had worn off some so when he drilled AAAAUUUGGHHHH! Maybe that’s why I don’t like the dentist.


BB • February 14, 2010 at 9:46 pm

@Katie Johnson – I wonder if that can happen with a crown too.


Natalie • February 15, 2010 at 12:25 am

My dental “horror story” is a bit different to everyone else’s. I think all my various dentists have been nice and reasonably competant, but I have a VERY strong gag reflex. I don’t actually throw up, but my whole head jerks like I’m sneezing as I violently gag whenever anything goes too close to the back of my mouth (except food – odd that). Throughout my life I have had four teeth extracted, 18 months of braces, lots of fillings, my wisdom teeth removed (that was under general, so no gagging) and recently a root canal. I don’t know why people are so scared of them, except for the cost, they give you pain killers … well ok after reading all the posts I can see why people are scared of dentists even if they don’t have my problem! When I had my root canal, my dentist told me she wasn’t even going to try to put a crown on because you need a dental dam to keep the tooth dry and with me … no way. Rubber in my mouth? Involuntary gagging every couple of seconds.
Anyone wondering about my sex life yet?
In short, I hate going to the dentist just as much as everyone else, I even tremble violently every time I am in the chair, but for a different reason to everyone else.


Jils • February 15, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Pastaqueen, Hi – I’ve been following your site for quite sometime now & I truly admired your determination & overall joi de vivre attitude when you lost all that weight. However offlate I notice that you sound bitter, serious & your posts are less frequent now. I think the headache has taken it’s toll – but it wud be gr8 to have the old pastaqueen back – full of boundless energy !


Esmeralda M Rupp-Spangle • February 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I’ve got a good one.

I’ve never had any problem going to the dentist. I have this condition of overly-acidic-saliva, and so have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 40+ fillings or replacements of fillings. It’s a good thing I don’t have a fear of needles!

Anyway, a year or so ago, my insurance finally kicked in- it was the first time in a long time I’d had dental coverage, so I went to a place near my house that I had not had any experience with, but it was close as hell and they seemed pleasant enough.
The staff was entirely Vietnamese, and I loved listening to them talk in the background in their musical language.
Anyway, the first checkup and cleaning was fine, except for the child I could hear a few seats down screaming in agony. “wimp” I thought to myself.

My first filling was performed by a nice doctor who managed to hit the nerve in my face that controls bells palsy with a novocaine needle. For the next 12 hours it looked like half my face was melting off, which I took in good spirits, although I should have seen it for the omen it was.

Next time around I had a different dentist, who gave me a novocaine shot rather brutishly, and when I told him after a few minutes that I “couldn’t feel any numbness at ALL” he scoffed hatefully at me and pulled out the drill.
No, really.
He said something to the effect of “well we’ll just start working and you tell me if it starts to hurt.”

Have you ever had nightmares about being worked on with no pain releivers? Well, I’ve been there for real.
I was whimpering horribly and gesticulating wildly to the sadistic dentist, who continued to drill despite my protestations. Finally, he paused after I grabbed his arm-
“What???!!” He asked angrily. (this guy was a real tool!)
“It hurts terribly,” I said “Like I said before, I don’t feel ANY numbness!” He became agitated and stomped away for several minutes. I was at a loss, totally distressed, with tears of pain streaming down my face. But here I was in the hands of a medical “professional”. Who am I to question his know how? His position of authority and demeanor made it very difficult to try and voice my complaints. I felt like a stupid little baby who just couldn’t hack it.
Finally he came back, and gave me a few more novocaine shots (again, quite brutally) and finally finished the filling- however- he filled THE WRONG TOOTH. That’s right, after all that- he ended up filling a tiny cavity that was causing me no grief, though I had SPECIFICALLY asked them to fill the large, aggrivating cavity next to it. When I realized this and pointed it out to him (The courage THAT took was something else) he just dismissed me with a wave of his hand and claimed he had not had time, though I had specifically discussed this with the dentist I had seen previously, and we had scheduled a whole HOUR for this particular one.

Since then, though I have many, many more cavities, I have not returned to the dentist. I’m just too damn gun shy.

Good luck with yours.


Esmeralda M Rupp-Spangle • February 15, 2010 at 2:08 pm

well, you topped mine


The Merry • February 15, 2010 at 9:16 pm

@Jils – LOL!
Srsly, PQ, if your posts are going to be bitter & serious, then please don’t make them less frequent as well!


Jennifer • February 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I have awesome teeth-haven’t had a real cavity and I’m 37. I did have two surface ones that didn’t require numbing when I was in 5th grade…but nothing since. And I’m not the most religious flosser. :)

However. My Dad had a dentist accidentally drill his lip (!!!!), and my sil had someone leave a freaking drill bit INSIDE her tooth. Good times.

Also, my husband has another dental issues for the both of us. But I’ll spare you that. I think it evens out.


Julie • February 15, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Your pain may be relatated to 2 things. First, the new filling may not be completed sealed to the tooth. Yes, the tooth-colored fillings look much nicer, but they are more technically sensitive so the risk of open margins is greater.
Second, the pain you feel may be related to your cold! The roots of the upper teeth lie very close to the sinuses in many cases, so the cold in the sinus may have made the teeth hyper-sensitive.
I am (was) a dentist. I had a root canal about a year ago and it really was not bad, but I do truly hate having dental work done.


Mary Sun • February 16, 2010 at 2:11 am

@Vicki – Nice to hear, although it seems sometimes like the good ones are hard to find!

I’m 40 and was not afraid of the dentist until a couple of years ago. I had one of my wisdom teeth removed and did not get enough local anesthetic, so it hurt a lot when he removed it. I returned a year later to have the other two removed and when he poked around after giving me the local, I told him it still hurt. He gave me more, but it still hurt and I told him so. He said that I was feeling pressure, not pain. I was so upset (and terrified) at that point that I told him if he thought that I couldn’t tell the difference between pressure and pain, then there was no way I’d let him work on me.

He left the office and I began crying and wasn’t sure what to do. I was afraid to get it done, but was also afraid that if I left I’d never come back. The office staff called another partner in the practice and he came in to do it for me – and he didn’t do it until I told him it didn’t hurt and it ended up being quick and pain free.

Still, it was so frightening that I’m afraid to go back…


Janice P. • February 16, 2010 at 8:52 am

I had the same problem – I kept flossing (even though it hurt), moved to an extra-soft toothbrush and use sensitive teeth toothpaste and it took care of the problem.

As for dental horror stories – my baby teeth wouldn’t come out on their own so nearly all of them had to be pulled. I had about 15 visits to the dentist (all of them painful) before I turned 9. I wouldn’t recommend it. I am always nauseated when I go to the dentist (even though my current dentist is wonderful) and can even tell when I’m in a building with a dentist due to the distinct smell (my stomach drops).

Best of luck PastaQueen! – don’t rush into a root canal, try the extra-soft toothbrush and toothpaste. It makes a huge difference!


Shannon • February 16, 2010 at 8:28 pm

I don’t have a good track record with the Dentist, and it’s reassuring to see I’m not the only one…

My wisdom teeth became infected (which resulted in a swollen face and sinus cavities filled with fluid) when I was a junior in college and required immediate removal. However, the dentist was booked for two weeks, so I got a lovely bottle of Vicodin to hold me over for a week. To this day, that week was the most messed up I’ve ever been through my four years of college…

I got the teeth out and neither one of my parents could come to help me out for their removal. Thankfully, my roommate and friend helped me and also took blackmail pictures of my chubby, drool covered face. Before this surgery, I had never had any type of surgery before and had never been under anesthesia before. Needless to say, because I couldn’t eat and the medicine made me sick, I threw up quite a bit and was a drooling mess. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I also am pretty much immune to Novicane. After I mentioned this to the nurse, she shot me up with an amount that could probably tranquilize a rabid, hungry tiger. My mouth was numb for a whole day and immediately upon returning to my dorm, someone set off the fire alarm by burning popcorn. I had to be helped down eight flights of stairs. Thankfully, I remember very little.

If you decide to get the root canal, I hope it goes better than my wisdom teeth removal did! I have other dental horror stories, but I’ll spare you for another day…


s • February 25, 2010 at 12:28 am

haven’t been to the dentist lately. it’s too expensive without insurance as a broke grad student. that’s my horror story i guess.


s • February 25, 2010 at 12:31 am

@Jils – srsly?


Katie • February 25, 2010 at 12:50 pm

I’ve got one – a good one! When I was 20, I got this little bump on the roof of my mouth – being a self-diagnosedy hypo, my mind immediately went to, “OMG, it’s a tumor!” So…off to the dentist I went. Not a tumor…a tooth. Apparently, I had not lost all of my baby teeth…still had 9 of them to be exact.

Well, being 20, I ignored it…until the tooth broke through and put so much pressure on my other teeth, I dreamed about pulling them out every time I slept. So, off to the orthodontist I went.

First – ex-rays showed two of my permanent teeth were fused to the jaw bone, so those suckers needed to be pulled in to place and then there was the strange middle-of-the-mouth tooth to contend with.

Second – orthodontist puts brackets on my teeth and sends me off to an oral surgeon. The surgeon pulls all of the baby teeth, cuts the gum where the permanent teeth are and puts a “button” on them with a wire attached that will now come out of the gum and attach to my brackets – they will lovingly be cranked for THREE years to pull those little bastards into submission.

Three – the tooth in the roof of my mouth has an intruder in it’s rightful place – another tooth that is misplaced. So, a spring is inserted that over time forces that tooth into is corret location. Then a “button” is put on the confused tooth and it is also cranked every week for three years to swing down into it’s proper throne.

Four – one of the impacted teeth – fused to the jaw bone, three years of twisting and pulling and crying and that sucker’s not budged, only pulled my once straight teeth down into the pit a little. Oral surgeon again – cuts out the impacted tooth and puts in synthetic jawbone material to drill in a fake tooth – that costs $2000.

This is when I broke – I couldn’t pay $2000 – it’s one small tooth – and I can live without it.

So…$10,000 later – a beautiful top row of teeth later – I have no more baby teeth, everyone is where they are supposed to be – and I thank the Lord for the shape of my mouth that covers the shame of that missing tooth!


Hopeful • April 1, 2010 at 6:00 am

I am a 33 year old mother and had nice teeth to begin with. They have become smaller, shorter sort of melting away and some even transparent. The gums were starting to become more prominent between the teeth. My dentist advised me that he will crown them with 360 degree ceramic veneers. They look so natural no-one can notice and the colour not too white as in baby white. However, I have suffered severe depression then because I cannot get used to the new feeling of glass in my mouth and keep asking why did I do it? He was so convincing and told me if i dont do this I will have worse problesm, need root canals etc in the future and this way my teeth would look nicer and be protected for life. I can eat almost e/in and no pain or sensitivity. I am currently seeing a psychiatrist and want so much to laugh again and go back to my old self but it seems like my life is ruined I suffer tremendous guilt and self-blame. Has anyone ever experienced something so horrific? Please help. THANKS


Jean1957 • June 24, 2010 at 6:47 pm

In my experience with the white fillings. They will be more sensitive longer then the amalgam ones. If you do need a root canal make sure you go to an endodontist. No matter what the dentist says that they can do it. Just say. Thank you but I will be seeing my endodontist.
I have a nightmare story that is ongoing. I had my first root canal 6 yrs. ago that was done by an endodontist and it all went well and is fine today. No problems. Last year I required a root canal in a top back molar and stupidly let the dentist do it. It all went smooth but now a year later it is hurting. And let me tell you a redo of a bad root canal costs a fortune and are not as successful as a first time one. It wasn’t hurting until I went back this year with another tooth that needed a root canal and let her do that back molar on the other side. I had swelling bad after and pain and drainage. It is a mess. I could kick myself for not going to endodontist. I have no insurance so this is a total nightmare. I want to keep my teeth. I went back to the endontist that did me the good job 6 yrs. ago so he told me the one the dentist did a year ago is bad and also the ones just done he is going to let settle. I am not going to get final crowns until I see the endodontist again just in case he needs to redo these two. What a mess and so much anxiety for nothing.
Anyway….just stressing. Always go to an endodontist for root canals. That is what they do all day and specialise in. That is my horror story. It’s going to totally bankrupt me but I want to keep my teeth if the dentist didn’t screw it up so bad I can’t. All I do is cry now. Not worth the extra savings to have a dentist do root canals.


Rosalie Smith • February 24, 2011 at 9:59 pm

My dentist told me she was going to separate two teeth that were glued together and put a filling in one of the teeth. She worked for an hour and a half, then showed me a mirror and when I looked at my mouth, both teeth were gone!!! I am so upset. She did not tell me that was a possibility. Now I can’t get in to get the teeth pulled for three weeks. She took impressions to make me a new lower partial and a new upper partial. I am now wondering if I chose the dentist wisely.


Shelby Bee • August 21, 2014 at 6:29 am

I hasn’t gone to the dentist in years, and my tooth was getting really bad. It was so painful and unbearable I finally mustered up the courage to finally go in, and face the bill $

The first trip to the dentist- checkup and cleaning.
Second- he extracted a molar. So far so good.
Next several visits were for root canals fillings and so on.
Then another molar extraction. So far so good.
One wisdom tooth than popped in where the previous tooth was pulled, no pain at all (aside from the extraction site and mild itching.)
He wanted to have one of my wisdom teeth removed as it was cramping my teeth. So I went in for the rest of my procedures before doing so.

On the last trip to the dentist however- halfway through a procedure- he dropped the drill into my mouth, with drill still spinning. It grabbed my throat and tore a hole in it.
I seen the look on the assistants face and than blood.
The dentist proceded to clean up, and sit me up. He than walked me out of the buisness- practically blaming the fact that I had to swallow and thats why it happened. HE failed to put a dam in my mouth- and me nonethewiser- as I am not familiar with dentistry.
I am now traumatized to go to the dentist. And have not been back to one since. One of my molars needs extraction surgery because the tooth is completely broken- and I am just too afraid to go back in. Terrified, actually.

Because of my swallow reflex- it is ‘my fault’ this happened.
Since then they have issued cards to me asking me to come in for my routine visit.
I trash the cards.
Thinking about filing a lawsuit.


Comments are now closed on all PastaQueen entries. The blog is an archive only so I don't have to deal with spammers. For fresh discussions please visit my new blog at JennetteFulda.com.

Man looking into telescope

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

Lick the Produce: Odd things I've put in my mouth
Half-Marathon: Less fun than it looks
European Vacation

"What distinguishes us one from another is our dreams and what we do to make them come about." - Joseph Epstein

Learn to run...online! Up & Running online running courses