Dental horror stories : LUSENET : like sands : One Thread

Have you had any really bad dental experiences?

And can you recommend a good dentist in San Francisco?

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2000


Once I spent three hours in a dentist chair as the "dentist" unsuccessfully tried to insert a wire underneat one of my molars. I bled for days afterwards and later found out that he had lost his license to practice. Also, once I waited in a waiting room for 3 hours for an emergency wisdom tooth removal. One of the teeth had to be broken up by dental chisel before extraction with dental pliers. Then there was the time The dentist accidentally sucked the little dangly thing in the back of my mouth into the vacuum thing, causing me to gag violently. Same visit, I heard her say this: "Oops, wrong tool. Oh, they all look the same!" My fillings fell out leaving me with huge, rectangular cavities. Then there was the fillings that took so long the novacaine was wearing off... etc etc

Good luck with the recommendations. There are some really great dentists out there, and some awful terrible hideous quacks. Problem is, they look exactly the same. Hope you feel better now.

-- Anonymous, June 13, 2000

Oh Gosh.. I am so paranoid about going to the dentist. I've had several cavities in my lifetime, but I just cannot stand the high-pitched whine of a dental drill and also the new hypersonic cleaning tool for the mustard...uh, tartar that builds up near the gumline.

I know for sure right now that I have at least two cavities that need attention, and I think even a third, and potentially a fourth. I chew on the left side now, at least anything with a hint of sugar in it.

Oh my, I hope it doesn't hurt when I go. I do brush my teeth very well though morning and night. I should probably floss more.

You'd think after all these years there would be an easy way to fix teeth PERMANENTLY! And I'm not talking about dentures. Heck, if the starship Voyager can recrystalize dialithium crystals then we should at least be able to rebuild teeth.

God help us all, Chris

P.S. Hmmm... there's a pair of pliers around here someplace...

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2000


Sounds like you really need a new dentist. So far I haven't found anyone here as good as the dentist that I had back in Ohio.

I went to a place down on Irving maybe ten blocks from where you live. The dentist there was good. I had a couple times when I had to wait ten minutes or so, but nothing as bad as what you describe. There was one slightly evil hygienist, but again, nothing as bad as your experience. I ended up switching to a different dentist because I changed jobs and the dental coverage no longer covered that office. My neighbor still goes there and seems pretty happy with it. Let me know if you'd like the name. (My neighbor could refer you.)

I'm not real pleased with the new dentist. All the procedures have been pretty much painless and the hygienists have been fine, but I don't really trust the guy. He really wants to do a post on one of my molars, but orignally told me that my DMO wouldn't cover it. So I called the DMO people who insisted that they would cover it. Next time in the dentist explained that the DMO would only cover it if the tooth was cracked or there were symptoms of cracking (pressure and cold sensitivity). I have no symptoms like that and no cracking and there didn't seem to me to be any reason to do the crown. I made a visit to my old dentist in Ohio when I was back there for Christmas who didn't believe there was any reason to do a crown. So my dentist doesn't think I respect his professional judgement and he is right.

The last couple visits I've gotten a new dentist who I believe is just starting her practice. So far I think she is pretty good so I've learned what days she works and only make appointments with her now. She hasn't had to do more than exams so far so I can't completely vouch for her yet.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2000

I had to go in for a root canal, which I wasn't looking forward to, mainly because of my fear of dentists and needles. When I tried to explain this to the endodontist, and asked if he could numb the area with topical novocaine, he simply laughed, and said, "Wouldn't help", and JAMMED THE NEEDLE INTO THE ROOF OF MY MOUTH. I actually saw stars.

My sister had an experience similar to Jen's ... and the worst part of it was that after they filled her tooth, they told her that they do not accept her insurance! This was after they had forgotten to order her xrays from their lab, they made her wait for two hours before they actually saw her, and filled her tooth. She has not paid the bill yet ... we'll see what happens.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2000

What I don't understand is why companies are coming up with new composite dental materials that only last 3-5 years. I had some composite fillings replaced seven years ago and my dentist was just shocked they lasted that long before they crumbled. They tell me the new materials are "better" but I think they're just easier for the dentists to use. When fillings break down, they trap food and junk (just like Jennifer's sealant) and cause more of your teeth to rot. When the fillings get replaced, more of your teeth gets drilled away. If I had my fillings replaced every five years, I wouldn't have any teeth left by the time I was 40.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2000

Oh another thing. The turnover rate of dental hygenists is pretty high so odds are in six months the grumpy one will be gone. I kept my teeth super clean for six months to impress a beautiful Polish dental hygenist but when I went to my next appointment and found out she had quit, I let them turn to crud again.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2000

Can anybody tell me who said the line, "Last time I went to the dentist, I lay back in the chair and before he began anything, I grabbed his balls and said, 'Now I know we wouldn't want to hurt each other.'" Reading this thread, I remember some woman telling that story, put I can't place where I saw it. Was she a comedian? Character in some movie or TV show?

I also remember the rest of the story as, when the dental appointment was through, the dentist asked her on a date.

Anyway, I don't have a horror story, but I was wondering, Jen, whether you feel like complaining to the dentist, who you seemed to think was alright, about the poor treatment from the hygienist? Y'know, see what results from expressing your frustration to the woman with authority over the situation.

-- Anonymous, June 14, 2000

There were various studies done of the effects on dental cavity formation in towns with flouride added to the water supply. I grew up in Kingston, NY -- we were the control population, we got no flourided, we got lots of cavities. When I was in third grade I swear I had a weekly dental filling appointment. I am always amazed that my fillings don't trigger airport metal detectors.

My worst dental experience came when I was in high school and the dentist suggested that I might not need novacaine since it didn't seem to be a big cavity. With teenage male macho stupidity I agreed. The arms of that dental chair probably bore the imprints of my fingers as I squeezed tight. Oh that hurt so damned bad! Since then nobody drills my teeth without novacaine. I have had my wisdom teeth pulled (at age 19), full mouth gum surgery, lots of fillings (these days usually due to replacing crumbling decades old fillings), root canal work four times, plus half a dozen crowns... but that experience forty years ago was the worst.

Anyway, Jen, you don't have to put up with the kind of treatment you received. A comment a few postings before this one suggested that turnover might cause that hygenist to be gone by your next visit. Yeah, but maybe not. You've got two choices: complain to the dental office (and refuse to allow that hygentist to work on you... assuming the office has more than one) or switch to a different office.

One office I used to use had a marvelous hygenist, very gentle... but she went on maternity leave and didn't return... The hygenist who replaced her left my mouth sore for days after a cleaning and every visit brought a sales pitch for teeth whitening, etc. I changed dentists.

My daughter was always very nervous about dental visits and liked to have me in the room. When she was about ten years old we made an appointment to fill a cavity her orthodontist had noticed. The dentist tended to discourage parents being present during treatment and I encouraged her to "be a big girl." When she came out she told me it hadn't hurt and I was very proud of her. And then we found out that he hadn't filled the simple cavity in a molar, he had applied a high-tech, high-priced sealant on her front teeth, a treatment that had been discussed but never approved by us. That cost him a lot of business: the four of us in our family switched dentist and our complaints caused some friends to change dentists also. We refused to pay the bill and when he mentioned collection agency we mentioned the state dental licensing folk.

Doctors and dentists and car dealers and restaurants, etc... they are all businesses seeking our money. We can vote for those who please us with our money and can refuse to do business with those who displease us.


-- Anonymous, June 14, 2000

As for the comments about complaining to the dentist about the hygienist: well, the dentist was present for all but one of the hygienist's transgressions, and she didn't seem to think there was anything wrong.

I think the way I was treated may have a cultural basis. Everyone who works at this dental office, and about 90% of the patients I've seen there are either Chinese or Filipino, and nearly all of them are foreign-born. I think these cultures may have a different idea of what constitutes adequate customer service.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2000

Had my four wisdom teeth yanked this past friday afternoon. My main concern going in was whether I'd be able to sing at my band's gig this coming friday night. "Sure, no problem," the surgeon said. "All your teeth are erupted, it'll be a simple procedure,"

Against the advice of the dentist and most of my peers, I opted for local anesthesia. Straight lidocaine, nothing else.

He did the top two first. Upper right, yank, pull, crunch, big sucking sound. Out. Ten seconds, that was cool. Upper left, yank, pull, hammer, slight vibration, a hand on my forehead, "slight pressure," a louder sucking sound. Out. About thirty seconds.

He ran into "problems" with the lower teeth. The lower right took a good ten minutes of bone-sawing, hammering, grinding, using my entire upper body against his forearm for leverage, "okay, you might feel some pushing here" -- riiiiiiiiiiiip, crunch -- just fill in the blanks in those little cartoon balloons on that old "Batman" tv show ... and then finally, it was done. Lots of needle and thread going in and out of my mouth afterwards....

The last one, the lower left, was the worst. About two minutes into the extraction, the surgeon said "oh shit." (I had already told him to be perfectly honest with me during the procedure). "Looks like your roots are growing in a million different directions" (an exaggeration, I hoped) "I didn't see this on the x-ray" -- I grunted. What else could I do with my lips spread wider than a manhole (or at least it felt like that). I saw a giant saw disappear into my mouth. Then a hammer. My head felt like a 2X4 in a vise on a carpenter's workbench. Lots of vibration. Lots of blood splattering all over the place, and rather artfully speckling the little windshield that dentists seem to like to wear these days. I almost laughed, but there was no nitrous in site. "OK, big push here," he said, and finally it was over. The first thing the surgeon said was "Um, we ran into some problems, and you're probably gonna be a hurtin' puppy for the next few days, and I wouldn't count on singing next week."

The dental assistant drizzled grape juice infused with bitter crumbled tylenol into my numb oral cavity for the next hour or so, and then I was sent on my way. When the lidocaine wore off, I was in the worst pain of my life. I popped two percocet pills, and fell asleep.

Three days later, I showed up at rehearsal and sang. Two of my stitches fell out afterwards.

Tonight, five days later, I ate solid food, and the last of my stitches fell out. I'm almost feeling normal again.

I'm beginning to think this guy was a pretty cool dentist. Unfortunately, he's in Santa Monica, not San Francisco.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2000

Years ago I endured a molar extraction that took, literally, hours. I remember the dentist exclaiming how the tooth just didn't want to come out (as if it had anything to say on the matter). Finally, the dentist quartered the tooth (imaging *lots* of drilling) and yanked each piece separately. (Too graphic? Sorry.)

I was scared away from dentists for a long time after.

Now, having moved to a new city, I am lucky to have found a great dentist. Actually, the dentist, the hygenist, and even the receptionist are all great!

I recently had a filling done. I felt no discomfort: not from the needle (first, they used two kinds of topical anesthetic to numb the injection site), not from the drilling, nor after the freezing wore off. That experience allows me to *almost* look forward to my dental appointments now.

Anyway, Jen, don't endure a bad dentist/hygenist. There are good ones out there. If you are lucky and/or persistent you will find them. Good luck.

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2000

I have a great dentist with an office near Union Square. Her name is Dr. Ysaac. She's been my dentist for several years and she's the best I've ever had. She's very gentle, friendly, and communicates very well.

450 Sutter Street, #1225
San Francisco CA 94108

r a n d o m l i f e

-- Anonymous, June 15, 2000

Here's what works for me -- find out if your local university has a teaching clinic. Of course, the person working on your mouth might not have much (any) experience, but he/she will most likely try to be extra gentle, and will seek out someone with more knowledge if the need arises. If you don't have dental insurance, you'll save a lot of money this way, too.

-- Anonymous, June 16, 2000

I was 22 years old. I had a job with dental insurance. I was visiting the dentist for the first time in five years (no money in college). I was having teething pains in my jaws, and all my expensive orthodontistry felt like it was shifting around. I asked if I should get my wisdom teeth out. All my friends were doing it.

"Don't give in to peer pressure," said the dentist. "There is no reason to extract healthy wisdom teeth."

I was 27 years old. My orthodontistry was now shot to hell and would have to be done over - my left front tooth was nearly horizontal. (One way and another, I have spent almost a third of my life in braces. Some women get plastic surgery, I just keep getting my teeth fixed.) My job did not have dental insurance. The dentist, same dentist, looked into my mouth.

"Why haven't you have your wisdom teeth out yet? That should have been done years ago!"


That dentist was fine for everything else, though - good cleanings, painless fillings. I can't imagine life without Novocaine and I am awed when I meet people from parts of the world without dental anaesthetic (including, from what I hear, the British public health system) and reflect what they must go through.

-- Anonymous, June 20, 2000

I can heartily recommend Dr. Dan Linder, D.D.S. 3641 Sacramento Street (x Locust) Suite C, SF 94118 415.563.4250

He's a very good, observant, and careful dentist. And his hygenist is very gentle, and thorough.

-- Anonymous, June 21, 2000

Inexplicably, on my last trip to the dentist, my regular hygienist and regular dentist both turned into bumbling idiots. Stabbing me with instruments, bumping me in the head, and somehow managing to catch my lip in the suction thingie several times, and later my cheek, too.

They've always been good in the past and have recommended them to several people (wouldn't help you much,anyway, they're in Massachusetts) but now I'm not sure.

-- Anonymous, June 24, 2000

my daughter had an experience like that only they filled a cavity and told her she could not eat for 3 days and they gave her aboudt 6 shots to numbe her and the first shot numbed her. then they told me thy wont take out insurance, they billed us a bill for 500 dollars when the cavity filling was only 65.

-- Anonymous, December 01, 2000

my last visit to the dentist they told me they were going to clean my teeth. they ended up giving my 3 shots snd telling me they changed their minds they were going to fill a cavity. well 2 weeks earlier i didnt have a cavity. so i knew something was wrong. well i asked and they said it would form in 2 weeks or so. well my cavity never formed.i got the bill for about 300 dollars and i never paid it .i mean why pay for wmoething i did not need. well now i swithched dentists and my teeth are perfect.

-- Anonymous, December 05, 2000

The last time I went to the dentist, I had a whole in one of my front teeth(I mean all the way through). I saw the dentist and he said he could fill it without a root canal, I thought,great! Everything was fine while I was at the office, that was until I got home and the novicaine wore off. I was in the worst pain of my life. The pain was so bad my whole body throbbed. This went on for two weeks. Finally, I called and made another appointment. When I went in, the dentist told me that he thought had happened. Apparently when he was working on me some bacteria must have gotten down in there. He gave me antibiotics and after two months, the pain was gone. That was six months ago and now I have decided to go to school to be a hygenist. I figure, if I can teach people to clean their teeth like they are supposed to. They won't have to go through these awful experiences. Atleast not as often.

-- Anonymous, January 12, 2001

Don't go to "Family Dentists" in Oakland (1510 Franklin St.). I was referred to this clinic by my dental insurance provider (PMI). I just had an appointment today and the dentist quoted me 670 dollars, only for the co-payment, for scaling, irrigation and root planing.

After contacting PMI they told me that the maximum charge for this type of service was 200 dollars, and that the remaining 500$ were for "irrigation", an optional procedure, not covered by PMI, but that "Family Dentists" nevertheless insisted on doing.

Now I have to seek a cnsultaion from someone else, because I could never trust these people. Unfortunately we are completely at the mercy of this type of "professionals": dentists, mechanics, lawyers...

You have to be very careful and ask for other peopole's referrals and advise otherwise they'll skin you.

-- Anonymous, April 06, 2001

i had 13 cavities filled today and it took 5 hours it was AWSOME

-- Anonymous, June 26, 2001

For four years, I've been seeing the same dentists. I had one to two routine checkups every year. And everytime, he found one to two cavities. Fine. I knew that it was the price I had to pay for my deathly obsession for chocolate. During my latest visit to this dentist, he informed me of nine, newly evolved neccesary fillings, each at a grand value of $90 to $130. Since I didn't have any insurance, the near one thousand dollar amount would likely be burning a hole in my wallet. So I decided to get a second opinion. That second opinion said I had ONE cavity! Now I don't know who to believe. That second opinion didn't seem too entact either. The world is a tough place.... and that's all I have to say about that.

-- Anonymous, July 21, 2001

The early 1950's were bad times to have cavities and I ate all the candy I wanted back then. My mother took me every six months. I was faced with a long flight of stairs leading up to the waiting room. Remember in the movie the lady walking up the stairs to see how her Devil obsessed daughter was doing in The Exorcist? That is how I felt. Why? The novacaine was lousy and/or the dentist didn't know how to use it. Every time I went except for once he'd hit the nerve so hard I'd almost jump out of the chair.Then he'd tell me to "spit" into this little sink next to the chair and it was always pink spit. He was very heavy w/the nitrous oxide, thank God. Funny thing is: I still have all those original molars only now they all have crowns on them.

-- Anonymous, September 13, 2001

Does anyone know of a GOOD, Sentitive dentist in Houston who is not always over the customary and usual fees. I have good dental insurance but this new DDS is expensive. My former DDS retired now and not once was he over the customary and usual fees.

Can anyone also tell me what kind of crowns are the best for durability. This DDS did a crown (he said he is the best for crown work) and the crown is chipped after only a year. Also, what is a reasonable price for various crowns in Houston. I need 4 crowns.

-- Anonymous, November 10, 2001

A bit off topic, but if anybody needs a good dentist in Eastern Massachusetts, I ***HIGHLY*** recommend Dr. Tom Orent in Framingham. I'm 36 and did not go to the dentist for 12 years until last month. Naturally, there were some "problems" (my own fault I admit for staying away so long), but after going for 3 visits, I can say they are the BEST dental practice I have ever dealt with. Virtually no pain, very understanding and careful, answer all your questions in simple, easy-to-understand language. Their office is completely state-of-the-art, and the staff is super-friendly.

-- Anonymous, December 06, 2001

A little off subject here, but since other people have mentioned crowns...Does anyone else here hate the way their crowns look? Does anyone have any in front? Thanks.

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2001

I thought dentistry used natural looking caps/crowns now. Looks just like the enamel.

-- Anonymous, December 18, 2001

i'm almost 19 now...when i was a toddler, i slept with bottle of apple juice which caused my teeth to rot. i went to the dentist practically every 2 weeks until my permanent teeth started coming in. i think that's why i'm so afraid of the dentist now. i was going to a great dentist before but he stopped accepting our insurance. since he was very up to date with his procedures and equipment, he was also very expensive. i have had a root canal which was abcessed and infected, very painful experience. i got a porcelain crown which cost about $800 but it's totally natural looking. they're a good investment because they'll last for the rest of your life. i'm having my wisdom teeth out this tuesday and i am absolutely terrified...i am being put under by way of i.v. i'm scared that the anesthesia is going to make me sick...i know it can cause nausea and vomiting and i can't imagine that on top of 4 stitched up holes in my mouth...does anyone have any advice on how not to get sick? or advice on how to calm myself down? i'm worrying myself to death about this.

-- Anonymous, May 31, 2002

i just had my molars removed 2 days ago... was put under an IV anesthetic so i was asleep during the whole procedure. had stitches and all.. bleeding stopped after about 6 hours (as it had stated on the "After surgery care" sheet that they gave me). but the next day it started bleeding again and wouldnt stop... kept stuffing gauge onto the wound but it wouldnt stop.... tried emergency paging the dentist but he wouldnt answer!! got another dentist on the emergency line and he told me to use a tea bag... that didnt do anything (I think it made it worse). finally fearing bleeding after to death, having frantically trying to reach the oral surgeon for 2 hours (blood was coming out in preposterous amounts), had to call 911 and go to the hospital. there nurses in training didnt know what to do so they kept stuffing my mouth full of gauge... tried contacting my oral surgeon yet again he couldnt be reached... after 5 more hours they finally called their oral surgeon on call and he stitched up the wound. im also noticing the right side of my lower chin and lower lip are still numb, 2 days after the surgery. the dentist said this might happen and permanent nerve damage is very rare... but has anyone had any similiar experiences? I HATE DENTISTS!!!!

-- Anonymous, August 25, 2002

Do not ever go to Newport Dental in Pasadena, CA. The dentist only wants your money(recommend unnecessary service). The receptionist is rude & bad. You have to wait for hours for bad service!

-- Anonymous, September 10, 2002

Im not from your area, but I have a story for you. I went to a dental surgeon to have all four of my wisdom teeth extracted. He told me that I would be under and wouldn't know or feel the operation. He lied, I woke up half way through and could feel his hands both of them mind you were in my mouth. I slowly was getting feeling in my face and tongue but couldn't do anything but moan and he supposed it was the medicine or something by the time he had finished I had indured the greatest pain I have ever had in my life. He no longer has a practice. Dentists should be more aware. There weren't any draw backs from the surgery, but I still have pain in my mouth at the thought of what I had gone through. I go to my regular dentist but I haven't had a cavity or anything wrong with my teeth since then. Now I only have them cleaned once a year, Thank God.

-- Anonymous, October 05, 2002

i hae some advise never ever got to the local er with a infected tooth after 3 days of walking the floor and calling every dentist in a 100 mile radious only to be told id have to be on antibiotics and it would be at least 2 weeks till i could be seen i went to the emergency room when the pain got to the point i wanted to die now im not a baby when it comes to pain ive given birth 5 times had numerous medical procedures etc so when i had this pain and it was n relenting to even percocett i finally went when i arrived the doctor who was a jerk from the get go didnt even bother to ask medical history he then said well ican try a nerve block he proceeded to leave the room for 30 min then return with a huge needle {at this point id excepted a chainsaw) he said ive never donre this before and said open up he then proceeded to inject the hinge of my mouth numerous times i tried to crawl outta the chair in between sobs but true to his word i was numb this lasted 8 hours in the mean time i took massive doses of antibiotics turns out i had a bone infection being type 1 diabetic {which he didnt even bother to consider } this couldve been deadly to me . i now have perment nerve damage from his shots the lower side of my jaw is numb . why is it dentist do not come out for emergencys why are we left to the mercy of others who dont know thier butts from a hole in the ground?

-- Anonymous, October 29, 2002

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