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QUESTION: Thank you for your recent reply.  The numbness on my lip was slightly numb but it didn't feel big or go as far to the center as it has in past appts.  If it doesn't work the next time I guess I will have to go to someone else.  He is trying to do the prep for a cap so pathos is by frustrating for me and him.  If the next appt. has the same results I guess I'll have to go somewhere else.  Thank you again for your thorough prompt response.  It is greatly appreciated.

ANSWER: Hi Lynn,

You are welcome! Getting you lip tick & fat is CRITICAL If that doesn't happen, you will not be numb. In the future, don't let any dentist drill on you unless you have that thick, fat feeling.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

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QUESTION: This is my third post to you.  I went back to my dentist for the third time and was given 10 more shots.  He was trying different medicines and was unable to numb that tooth.  At one point my face felt paralyzed and I couldn't close my eye but I could still feel the drill.  He was unable to do the work for the temporary crown.  He told me to go to a dentist that could give me IV sedation.  I have to say that this has been the worst dental experience I've ever had.  Do you think this will happen all the time or is each toothe different?  Thank you,  Lynn Evans65

ANSWER: Hi again Lynn, have really been through it! I can certainly understand why this has become a horror story for you.

The critical thing is to make sure your lip feels thick and fat like I have said before. Having your face paralyzed and not able to close your eyes means that the dentist got the facial nerve numb, but not the nerve that serves your lower teeth. If your lip was thick & fat and you could still feel the drill, then supplemental anesthesia would be needed, not just more shots.

I really think this is a one time situation because you told me you have never had this happen before. As to where to go from here, IV sedation is one option or you could try a different dentist, but if you do, make sure you explain what you have been through to the dentist and make sure they can use more than just the technique of giving more & more shots.....perhaps a dental school if you have one in your area.

Best of luck...let me know what you do and how you make out.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD

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QUESTION: Hi Dr. Backlund,  I went to the dentist for the iv sedation today and she told me I have to go to a periodontist because that tooth that wouldn't numb has an 8mm pocket and I could lose it.  She said to see the periodontist b/c there is no point in putting on the crown if I am going to lose this tooth.  I am devastated, I floss my teeth 3 times a day I never miss a check up.  I am 62 but my teeth look great and they are very tight.  I am also furious because another tooth has been bleeding when I floss.  I told the dentist and dental hygienist and she said it looked fine.   I have had all the appropriate X-rays.  How could this be missed?  Of course I'm switching dentist but it may be too late.

Hi Lynn,

WOW...the bad news just keeps pilling up! I an SO sorry to hear this. If this is what is really going on, there isn't s good explanation as to how it was missed. A pocket that deep should be diagnosed. Typically, dentists will measure the depth of the pockets in your mouth every couple of years, or more frequently if there are gum problems. Just really no good answer for you.

There is one possible situation that might be happening, but without being able to exam you or see x-rays, it is just a "possible". If there is a crack in the tooth and it extends below the gum line, the gum will not be able to attach to the tooth along the crack. That would ultimately create a pocket, the depth of the crack. Unfortunately, we see this often. Even crowning the tooth at this point will not save the tooth and it would need to be extracted. However, cracks like this usually have biting pain, hot & cold sensitivity and often an ache. I don't remember you saying you had these types of symptoms, but if you did, then a crack could be the real source of all these problems, including how difficult it is to numb this tooth.

Let me know what the periodontist says as I'm curious as to what is going on with you.

Hang in least you're getting answers and it could save you a lot of time, money and frustration in the long run.

Gary Backlund DMD, MSD


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Gary Backlund, DMD, MSD


I am an Endodontist ( root canal specialist ) and can answer questions about root canals and their treatment. I cannot diagnose or treat online, but can answer general questions. I have been a specialist for 25 years and am Past President of the Washington State Association of Endodontists.


25 years practicing as a specialist

American Association of Endodonists, Past President Washington State Association of Endodontists.

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