Finding the silver lining after traumatic dental experience
August 12th, 2017: I began to feel something going terribly wrong with one of my lower bicuspid teeth, #29. During the course of one weekend, the pain grew from a throb to the kind of head-banging, non-stop pain that would make a preacher cuss.
I soaked the tooth in alcohol, as the pain grew worse over the weekend. I didn’t know of any emergency dental offices, or that I could have gone to the hospital emergency room for a tooth (I later learned that I could have and that they could have started me on antibiotics until I could see a dentist).
By that Monday morning, my jaw was swollen.
I called up a dentist in Seminole, Florida whom I had seen a year or so before we moved to Palmetto, FL because I knew he had all of my records, and I had always received prompt, courteous, and expert care from him. His office was able to get me in the next day, and though it was a 45 minute drive to get there, I went. Somehow, I thought it would be easier to go there instead of starting with a new dentist.
I wanted the tooth pulled. And the dentist didn’t want to pull it. I asked again for it to be pulled and explained my reasons. Keep in mind though that I am a non-confrontational type of person, as well as, emotionally and spiritually sensitive. Call it spineless if you want, but I am an empath who often finds that people do not listen to me–perhaps this explains why I’m a writer?
Anyway, after what I call a ‘dog and pony’ show, I was talked into saving the tooth and having a root canal and crown. The dentist performed the root canal.
He did a fine job, using a specialized instrument that beeped when he reached the very bottom tip of the root, so that he could fill the now empty root space with whatever standard dental filling material they use.
I’d already explained that I didn’t want amalgam materials in my mouth and though this was not a holistic or biologic dentist, he understood and agreed to that for me.
However, during the cleaning of the root, the dental hygienist / assistant spilled the bleach solution (used during the procedure to sanitize the root space) in my mouth! She immediately apologized, seeing what had happened, and began to rinse all of this liquid out of my mouth.
Sept 3rd, 2017: After experiencing the pain (and aggravation) of an abscessed tooth for nearly 3 weeks (including the multiple dental appointments), I know there is more to learn about letting go of pain in the body, so I listened to a free online summit to learn more.
Apparently, I was experiencing a tooth abscess.
To note here: I’d always taken good care of my teeth (or so I’d thought), and had never had an abscess before, so all of this was completely new to me.
Once home, I read that this rinsing procedure is supposed to be done with gentle water pressure, and she had used too much. Therefore, I lived with chemical burns in my mouth for a week or more until it healed.
But, that was not the worst part of this story.
Six weeks from the time that first bicuspid abscessed, the same tooth, on the opposite side of my mouth, #20, began to hurt.
Even though I know about the meridian system of the body, and figured there was an energy component to all of this, I also quickly knew how painful it could become, as it felt similar to the pain I had experienced six weeks prior.
I called a new dentist who’d been referred to me by three friends. This dentist’s office was much closer to where we were living. At least, I wouldn’t have to miss a whole day of work, and I could get there quicker to relive the pain.
Live and learn as they say. What I had failed to ask our friends was if they’d ever been to this dentist (whom they all loved) for an abscessed tooth. My bad.
The first numbing shot went into my jaw hinge; my lip wasn’t even numb. So, the new dentist gave me another shot and asked if I was numb after a few more minutes.
Yes, I was numb. And then the drilling began.
If you don’t already know this, most dentists will remove an old crown before performing a root canal on a tooth. Yet, for whatever reason, since tooth #20 was holding a three unit bridge in my mouth this dentist decided to drill THROUGH the crown!
Even while this man was drilling through the #20 bicuspid crown, I was wincing. He noticed and said, “I’ll do something else to get to it.”
I don’t know what he did, but he was working down in the root and the nerve pain was unbearable for at least 10 seconds.
I began banging my left hand on the arm of the chair, thinking this would make him STOP! He didn’t stop.
I banged my hand on the chair several more times and though he said he was sorry, he informed me that we were half way through and that I needed to “hang on.” He continued, saying, “It won’t hurt anymore in a minute.”
I’ve been through natural childbirth twice in my life. It was equivalent to that pain, but crammed into one tooth for ten seconds.
Tears dripped from my eyes.
I held my sh*t together, but stuffed my anger (even knowing that’s not the thing to do).
After he finished, he asked me if I had ever been this hard to “numb up” before (like this was somehow my fault). I thought to myself, no, recalling that I’d just been “numbed up” six weeks prior for the root canal work done on the other side of my mouth–and that part of the former procedure had been fine.
This dentist didn’t use any bleach in the empty root like the previous dentist had. He didn’t even have water to swish my mouth with, though the assistant did use a vacuum I think, because I could hear the air.
He said he would have to research the 100% porcelain 3D printed bridge (which was the only question that I had gone in there with to ask about) because normally he uses crowns made of porcelain over metal. Ugh!
The previous dentist in Seminole only uses the full porcelain and had told me he’d only been using those for several years.
Before I left, this Bradenton dentist asked me what was wrong. My tears continued to flow from my eyes., but I couldn’t put it into words. I only knew that I felt violated. It had hurt like hell. What the !@#$ was I supposed to say? You’re a horrible dentist?!?
He tried to explain to me that some people have a nerve on the inside of the mouth, below the gum and roots, and that it can be hard to get it numb.
My later research would indicate that he was referring to either the Inferior alveolar nerve, Mandibular nerve, or Mental nerve–and since I am not a dentist, I do not know which one would run under tooth #20. But, I guess this was his way of apologizing.
I felt as though I’d been dentally raped. The experience triggered old emotional wounds.
I should have walked out when he first displayed his lack of bedside manner, and the “no personality” front desk women told me she didn’t know what to do (at first), when I told her the name of my new dental insurance. Ugh!
At the end of it all, and after spending literally thousands of dollars on my teeth in my adult life to straighten and crown teeth, it dawned on me. I had just endured the most horrible dental experience of my life!
Within three weeks, that 3 unit bridge fell off while I was snacking on some soft cheese. Thankfully, I didn’t swallow it.
Check out this picture. I still can’t get over the shoddy workmanship of it. And look how large the hole is that the Bradenton dentist drilled through it. No wonder there was nothing left of the real tooth underneath the bridge–nothing left to hold another bridge had I wanted one!
What did I learn?
General dentists should not do root canal.
I need an oral surgeon to safely and painlessly extract (remove) my teeth
I am going to have teeth pulled before ever having another root canal
I am going to keep pulling teeth until it’s time to get dentures
I am only going to see a holistic or biologic dentist in the future; no matter how far I have to drive
It’s pain-free or dentures from here on out.
After the two root canals were done, I’d thought I could forget about going to the dentist for awhile. But, about the time we moved from the west to the east coast of Florida, tooth #28 became very sensitive. It didn’t hurt when I ate, but when I flossed, used a toothpick or dental pick, it would hurt.
I read through ads, used Google, and all sorts of things to find an oral surgeon in Brevard county, Florida. I called the first oral surgeon I found in Merritt Island and made an appointment.
Though I felt confident by this time that I could successfully navigate my way through the whole experience, and trusting that his job was to remove teeth, I thought I could get what I desired. But, noooo. Once again, I met with resistance.
When I scheduled the appointment and arrived at the Merritt Island dental practice, I specifically stated that I was there to have at least three teeth extracted (I actually had wanted more pulled). I wanted the two teeth that had been holding the 3 unit bridge and the sensitive tooth on the other side pulled.
I really did not trust that the Bradenton dentist had performed the root canal on #20 correctly.
However, after a 45 minute consultive dog and pony show with this one, he said, “I’m not an oral surgeon” and referred me to someone in Melbourne, FL!
I was outraged, though proud that I had stood up for what I wanted. Yes, I had remained steadfast in my desire to have these three teeth pulled and firm in wanting dentures.
I said that I had specifically asked for the teeth to be extracted when I made the appointment and that he was listed as an oral surgeon where I’d found his information online. He laughed! He noted that all of these sites online tag him as an oral surgeon and other things (yet, apparently he’s never attempted to have those tags corrected). Grrr.
The only good takeaway I had from this visit was when his dental hygienist told me that I’d been “dentally traumatized” by the prior two experiences on the west coast of Florida. And I agreed with her on that, though dental trauma is actually defined as accidental injury to teeth, and the trauma I experienced was more emotional–though triggered by the physical nerve pain the Bradenton dentist had caused.
Once again feeling duped, I gave up.
I started brushing my teeth with hydrogen peroxide and within a three or four days the tooth sensitivity on #28 magically went away. UPDATE 9/11/2019: KEY POINT–This was why my natural teeth turned gray!!! (Thank you, Trina Felber for mentioning why NOT to brush teeth for prolonged period with hydrogen peroxide! WOW! Light bulb moment! 💡 Check out my articles here and here!
Eventually, my husband also had three teeth that he wanted pulled. He found an oral surgeon. Went for a consult. And then, a few days later, returned for the extraction. My hubby had no issues at all. None! He was so pleased that he told the oral surgeon, Dr. Gerald W. Bird, that he’d send me in to see him.
Watching Richard get through his oral surgery and heal successfully, was motivation enough for me to try again. And my dear darling husband even offered to go into the consultation with me, to ensure I could get what I had been saying I wanted.
Interestingly, Dr. Bird’s office is in Cocoa Village, much closer to us than Melbourne. Thus, I couldn’t figure out why the Merritt Island dentist (who was supposed to be an oral surgeon but wasn’t) wouldn’t have referred me to Dr. Bird? Was it possible he did not know Dr. Bird? Or was there another motive at play? I’d love someone to comment an answer to me.
In fact, I may send this whole blog article to the dental commission in Florida (along with most of the names I’ve removed) to see if there’s anything they can do about this–and perhaps save other people from experiencing some of the negative experiences I’ve had in less than a year.
Suffice to say, Dr. Bird listened to me. He gave me his advice about trying to save tooth #28, even though he gets paid for extracting teeth. I’d had my consult with him on a Friday and by the next Monday he performed the extraction of teeth #18 and #20 flawlessly. I was sedated for the procedure and sent home (with Richard driving) with a pain prescription that I didn’t even need to use.
The silver lining:
Hold on. Before I get to the best part of this story, there’s one more challenging thing.
Dental deception during the appointment setting process.
I called to schedule an appointment with a lady dentist (who I’d found by Google searching). Somehow when I called, the number rang a different dentist, and the person I spoke with did not confirm the dentist’s name or location.
You see, I’d only had the weekend to research for a holistic type of dentist, between the time I’d met Dr. Bird for a consult, and the time that he would be extracting three teeth on Monday. If tooth #28 was to be saved, as Dr. Bird believed it might only need a filling, I felt that I needed a dentist more aligned with my holistic belief system.
While searching for someone who thought holistically, used ozone, and did not believe in using amalgam fillings, I found the office of Dr. Claire Stagg in Indian Harbor Beach, Florida.
I was overjoyed with Dr. Stagg’s videos and with everything on her website that I read about her practice. But, I must not have entered her office phone number as a contact in my iPhone.
When the time came (after healing from the oral surgery) to call her for an appointment, I must have just done one of those quick lookups and mistakenly called the wrong dental office.
Thus, the day of the appointment I arrived at Dr. Stagg’s office and her abSOULutely wonderful office gal, Vanessa, nicely explained to me that although they were expecting a new patient that morning, it wasn’t me.
I was stunned.
I almost cried. But, I held it together.
I sat down and called the lady I’d just talked with the day before, when she’d called me to confirm my dental insurance. The day before, she had called me to confirm the appointment, but did not mention the name of the dentist, or their location. If she said the name of the office, she said it so fast that I didn’t understand her.
While sitting in Dr. Stagg’s waiting area, I called the number back for the woman I had spoken with and asked where their office was located. I still could not wrap my mind around what had happened. She said they were located in Rockledge, Florida.
I hung up, triggered with emotions. I couldn’t figure out how I had gotten that wrong, especially after I’d spent hours on Dr. Stagg’s website.
I apologized to Vanessa for wasting her time, and asked if she could schedule me with an appointment, knowing full well it probably would NOT happen the same day, and besides, I had an afternoon appointment at 1:00pm with another doctor in Titusville.
Vanessa said she thought they could fit me in at 1:00. Feeling the cloud of emotion overtake me, I told her I had another appointment at that same time and asked if we could set up something for October.
By the time I made it out to my rental car, I was beside myself. I was judging myself and feeling defeated. I was triggered with more emotions–this time involving my mother’s Alzheimer’s. Thoughts were swirling in my mind that this must be the kind of thing my mama had gone through for years.
I looked at my phone and saw a voicemail. I took a few moments to calm myself (using breathing techniques and EFT) before driving.
As I pulled out onto A1A, I listened to the voicemail. It was my doctor’s office receptionist saying that they apologized, but they had somehow wrongly scheduled me for a Thursday appointment, and Thursday’s are the doctor’s surgery days.
I whipped the car around at the next traffic light, and went back in to see Vanessa about getting that 1:00 appointment.
To me, this was divine intervention.
Thankfully, Dr. Claire Stagg’s office more than made up for my appointment scheduling mistake. And I ended up having a wonderful experience with her and her staff instead of wasting a day off work, and the cost of a rental car.
Vanessa gave me my new patient paperwork, which included many questions, and spoke to me in a helpful and calm tone to ensure I understood all that I needed to fill out before returning to their office that afternoon.
Vanessa and Dr. Stagg were the silver lining to my day.
Though the whole appointment thing had totally been my fault and the fault of the other office in Rockledge for not verifying their dentists’ name and location when I had called them, by that afternoon, I found that I was in a good place physically and emotionally.
I had a comprehensive new patient exam at Dr. Claire Stagg’s office, which is aptly named, Health Connections.
Dr. Claire Stagg at Health Connections Dentistry offers an amazing array of testing and non-surgical approaches to find causes and relief for issues such as: TMJ, Craniofacial pain, sleep disorders, snoring, and more to support whole body wellness through dentistry. If you have those issues, she’s the one to see.
Too much sugar and processed foods will only make dental problems worse, while vitamin and mineral rich foods and supplements that are easily digestible, will help build a glassy hard tooth structure. These types of foods and various herbs will also provide a strong antibacterial component, which is helpful in keeping those harmful microbes in your mouth at bay.
Eat plenty of foods rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K. Almonds (soaked), avocado, basil, beef liver, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, butter, cabbage, carrots, coconut oil, cucumbers, eggs, kale, mushrooms, natto, salmon, scallions, spinach, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, or tuna.
For supplementation, take fermented cod liver oil, mineral formulas, and magnesium which, the body can use for the calcium and phosphorus to work correctly. Take mineral drops in water daily and use Ancient Minerals oil to get more magnesium into the body to help rebuild teeth.
Pain relief for abscess tooth:
The first dentist gave me two different kinds of antibiotics (one of the antibiotics was Clindamycin, which later I found out can give people C-diff!!!) and 220mg Aleve. I tried 2 at a time which the dentist recommended, but they made me queasy, thus I stopped those. Oddly, the pain seemed most severe at midnight and noon! Weird.
The first day (this was with the first abscessed tooth), I dogged through the pain after Publix wouldn’t fill my prescription because we were “out of the area” and it’s a controlled substance.
I had only slept one hour Sunday night, so by that Monday any relief made me sleepy. After crying from the pain at midnight Monday night, I slept for 6 hours.
I noticed that when I held the acupressure point (on my hand where thumb and index finger meet) it seemed to help. I was trying to work also, so it was difficult to work/type, and hold my acupressure point. When my husband noticed that, he was bound and determined to make the store fill the pain script.
By noon that Tuesday, Richard took me to Walgreens and we got the pain pills.
I guess the pain forced me to grow a spine by then and was determined to get those pain pills, if I had to physically go over the counter to get them! It sure gave me perspective for those unfortunate souls who live in daily pain.
Funny thing was, when the clerks behind the counter saw me, with my ice bag on my face, they asked about the address but didn’t give us a hard time. By holding ice on my jaw for an hour or so, the severe pain had subsided. I really think the ice has to nearly freeze the jaw before it helps.
Of course a slice of raw ginger was the best thing to relieve the pain naturally, along with the ice and acupressure.
Dental tooth essential oils
First off, essential oils are antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral. Thus, we’re all in pretty good hands when we keep a few of these in our medicine cabinets. Note: Who named that bathroom cabinet a “medicine cabinet” anyway? Hmm.
In alphabetical order you can try:
Cinnamon Bark oil
Clove oil (My favorite, and it helps topically numb your gum since its an analgesic.)
Mastic oil (Reduces plaque and helps heal gums.)
Myrrh oil (Similar effects to Clove oil)
Oil of Oregano (My favorite is Oreganol P73.)
Tea Tree oil or Melaleuca (Best for reducing plaque, which can cause gum disease.)
Some people, even dentists, like to promote Xylitol also for cavity prevention and more, however I point to Dr. Axe regarding the use of Xylitol as I have tried it a year or two ago to help with breaking the snack habit, and it caused me excess bloating and more. You can read about that on Dr. Axe’s website:
Any person or company I’ve ever represented has a product I love & use myself. Should you choose to purchase anything I recommend, thank you in advance for your trust. 😊 And naturally, if it’s not for you, I completely understand.
An Amazon bestselling author of two co-authored books: “Transform Your Life Book 2 Inspirational Stories and Expert Advice” and “Energy of Receiving”, both available now.
I can come to your bookstore, crystal shop, acupuncture / chiropractor office, or other holistic / natural healthy lifestyle business for books signings and lectures. For information on both of my books, visit my Amazon author’s page — Click here.
If you’ve beat a chronic health challenge by alternative, integrative, or other natural remedy I’d love to hear about it.
I'm the author of the book, "Take It Upon Yourself to Live a Wholly Vibrant Life”, as well as two blogs. I write about holistic health and wellness, and spiritual topics. My intention is to share what I have learned and integrated into my daily life to help uplift and lighten others. Everyone can live a balanced, soul-aligned, and wholly vibrant life!
I am all about Holism (think wholesome and holistic health). I'm into Breathwork (having naturally healed the body in inhabit of asthma in 2005 and healed various other ailments with Pranayama). I am into Meditation and Personal Awakening & Transformation. I believe Social Change will come about the more we embrace the mantra, We Are All Connected, and work actively to Connect with others one-by-one.
I am a vibrant spiritual being living a Soul-connected earthly experience.
Align with Spirit in ALL ways.
Go with your "God bumps" flow to FEEL your Soul-alignment ALL the time.
We Are All Connected.
Everything Resolves to Gratitude.
Life's an Art. So, I do the following and encourage others to:
Study at your Passion.
When upset, breathe from heart-center and embrace Balance.
Always balancing. Always integrating.
Then, Take It Upon Yourself to walk your talk, practice what you preach, and integrate all you learn into your day-to-day, so you joyfully express Omni-everything!
Life's an ADVENTURE! Now, go have FUN!
Disclaimer: I'm an Information Technology professional (of 30+ years). Most of my work deals with data and documentation management on large-scale relational database application software and systems. I've been working remote, from home, for nearly 5 years.
I am NOT a doctor or health practitioner, though I confer with natural and holistic health professionals as a writer and emcee at health festivals and events.
I encourage folks to FIRST seek natural and holistic health remedies when they begin to notice any irregularity in their mind or body. I believe multiple opinions offer us the most hope and support when challenged with any health issue.
I support you in your quest to find holistic, alternative, licensed, professional health and wellness providers.
I am a meditator, eat (and fast) on a mostly plant-based diet, more tree hugger than consumer, advocate of simple and minimalist living, and grandmother of three fantastic granddaughters (who live far from me, but with whom I video chat with weekly and visit in person whenever possible). Prior to 8/2021 my husband and I lived in an RV full-time for 11 years, the last 17 months of which, were Off-Grid.
To our better health! Amen. Namaste. OM
View all posts by Sheila “Spiral Sister” Murrey