SamK2323 explains: “My case is a bit more standard. It is the usual case of a patient who comes in with a huge facial swelling, and you have to do something about it. The usual case is extracting the offending tooth; however, it isn’t always obvious (if the swelling extends across multiple teeth), or the patient cannot physically get numb. (Due to anesthetic not working as well in a heavily infected environment.) At this point, either antibiotics or an incise and drain are indicated.
As you can probably guess while reading this, we opted for incising and drain; the swelling was deemed so large that antibiotics wouldn’t tackle it, and it could cause danger to his airways. With the help of a senior dentist, we attained surface anesthesia with something called Ethyl chloride (think liquid nitrogen, could spray that freezes) and incised this swelling and sucked the pus out. No sutures and no anesthesia for two main reasons. 1) We don’t want the anesthetic spreading the infection through surrounding soft tissues, and 2) the capsule surrounding the infection is very friable, so likely just to break down.”
Sprinksies92 shares his experience, stating: “He went to dental school in a major metropolitan city in the south. Being in a big city, there were tons of homeless people around that the students practiced on. He got a woman one day who came in with what appeared to be an abscess. He begins working on her only to have a cockroach come running out of it, down her cheek, and onto the floor. She said she slept outside a lot and that it probably crawled in her mouth while she was sleeping.”
He added with another story where he said: “The other story happened fairly recently but isn’t directly related to oral hygiene. A woman came into his office with some sort of beehive hairdo. As he was working on her mouth, he kept seeing movement in her hair out of the corner of his eye. Once again, roaches. Luckily they didn’t spread about the room or office, but he had to fire her as a patient after that.”
Everyone has their own horror dental stories, but what dentists go through each day is next-level gross. A Redditor with the name Smaktat shares his uncle’s story saying: “My uncle is a dentist, and I like to talk to the people he works with a lot when I go in. I’ve asked them to tell me some stories about some of the nastiest situations they’ve been in, and he basically told me that he had one guy come in who’d never brushed his teeth his entire life. He had total disregard for his teeth.
By the time he got to the office, he had stated he had a large amount of pain in his mouth. When the doctor saw it, there was a plaque build-up on his gums thick enough to stick your thumb in. Needless to say, he lost about half his teeth in a single surgery, and the doctor I spoke to said he never smelled anything more horrid in his life. For the second surgery, he had ordered a special mask that properly blocked all the odor.”
A Redditor with the name ArachnesChallenge shared his story stating: “Former dental assistant. We had a patient who we only scheduled for right away in the morning, and he still had to chew tobacco on his drive to the office. He would even brush at the office but never well enough. Before we did anything, I would have to go through his mouth and suction out all that black crap. Decay, plaque, calculus, blood, saliva No issues. Large amounts of crap that you could clean yourself (or avoid putting in your mouth entirely) floating around in there, and I want to puke, and we will talk about how gross you are.”
To which another Redditor stupidperson810 replied, “I was a nurse in an operating theater. We’d get the really bad ones or people that needed heaps of work under anesthesia. Teeth that are crushed into a gross jelly substance when grabbed by extraction forceps. Of all the stuff you see working in an OR, this seemed to gross me out the most.”
7. When You Realize The Importance Of Oral Hygiene
Sweetwill62 shares his experience as a patient at the dentist. “Not a dentist, but I would imagine I wasn’t the best patient to have. When I was 26, currently 27, I had all of my teeth removed. None of them were salvageable besides 5 of my bottom teeth, and they were crooked and slightly overlapping. One of my incisors was nothing but a nub that would have needed to be cut out due to how little of it was left. There was a gap between my front two teeth that was very clearly there because my teeth were not being taken care of. I could only chew on the right side of my mouth as the left side hurt too much. I had chips in most of my teeth, and I don’t think he even checked for cavities.
Ever seen a professional doctor get almost scared to tell you something? I have three times! First was my dentist, who told me about my teeth. I went in, not expecting anything to stay in there. The second and third time was when I was about to be put under, and boy, that surgeon, and anesthesiologist looked real nervous, confirming with me that I wanted all of my teeth taken out. My mouth looked awful, my teeth were really yellow, not straight, and you could clearly see the plaque on them. I wish I would have taken care of them, but by the time I actually had any desire to take care of myself, my teeth were already too far gone to save.”
A Redditor with the name DrRam121 shares his story as a dental student saying: “I am a dental student and I’ll graduate in May, but I was a hygienist before I started dental school. I have seen a couple of things. I’ve had to tell people that I can’t clean a couple of their teeth for fear of pulling that tooth out with my scaler. I’ve also seen NUG or necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, which is a periodontal disease so bad that the gums start dying. The worst I’ve seen though is a woman whose face was swollen from her midline under her chin to her eye on her right side with trismus. We took a panorex on her, and I identified at least five possible culprits (badly decayed teeth) for the swelling. We sent her to the hospital for IV antibiotics.”
To which another Redditor, ScoliOsys, who is actually a patient, replied: “I’ve always had weird teeth. Adult teeth stained yellow bc I was always sick and had to have antibiotics a lot. When I did have braces, they had to use headgear brackets (I didn’t have to wear headgear) because, for some reason, my teeth wouldn’t hold the glue. I got really good at taking the rubber bands off because of this. I also have TMJ, which sucks, and a very small mouth. They use the kids’ bitewings on me.”
Another Reddit user, queenc92, who is not a dentist, shares a story saying: “I am not a dentist, but I am a dental hygiene student. I recently had a WTF moment. Just a little background. I work in a low-income clinic. Most people that come in have little to no oral health care knowledge and have never been to the dentist, so they have something called Periodontal disease (Perio) and cavities. The worse period gets, the worse your breath gets. So fast forward to the moment. A new patient came in, and usually, I am immune to the smelly breath (my mask will cover most of it, but sometimes I do smell something), but this patient opened their mouth, and I just about threw up in my mouth.
It was absolutely disgusting. I had to excuse myself. Luckily, I have some essential oil that I put in my mask for that exact reason, so I put some on, and then I had the patient rinse with Listerine, and the smell got 10x worse. I began the cleaning, and even with all the water and rinsing, I felt the smell was just getting worse (usually, it gets better). So I excused myself again and sat in the back for a minute, and I just did not know what to do. I can’t just excuse the patient for bad breath, but I did not want to finish the cleaning. Not a huge story, but it definitely left me dumbfounded. TL;DR: Pt had monster bad breath, and after all the remedies I could think of, nothing worked, and I just about vomited.”
4. Things Went From Bad To Worse At This Dental Office
A Redditor, drdrillaz, shares his horrible encounter stating: “Two things almost made me puke. The first was when I volunteered at a homeless shelter. The guy’s teeth were green. And I stuck an instrument straight through his front teeth. I almost vomited on him. The second was a lady who previously had a root canal. The temporary filling had fallen out, leaving a hole in her tooth. She said it had been out for a year. I picked decomposing chicken out of this hole. The stench made me dry heave right in front of her. It was the most disgusting thing imaginable. I will never forget those two situations.”
Then, osodeoz adds: “I had the periodontics clinic awhile ago, and you could not believe the smell and the things these people had in their mouths, basically have you ever seen the green calcifications that starts building up in the sprinkler of old showers? Imagine a tooth COVERED completely by that crap. Also, I saw a temporary tooth during my internship that started coming out sideways like the permanent tooth was pushing in the wrong way so you would see the root and the crown of the tooth in a horizontal way but still attached to the gums and bone.”
If you aren’t grossed out to the max, you have made it this far. A RedditorLyingFor-Karma describes his weird encounter with a patient, saying: “One day a regular patient of ours came in, all seemed normal, pleasantries were exchanged, but later on in the day I was going to a life-altering amount of poor hygiene.
As soon as they sat in the chair and uttered an ahh at my request, I saw that since their last visit, most of their teeth had been nearly rotten all the way through. I’m not even kidding. I swear one of the back molars was hollow. Long story short, they now need dentures.”
An anonymous Reddit user who is a patient shared his story, saying: “Growing up, I didn’t take care of my teeth properly, and when I got older, I didn’t have insurance or the money to go to the dentist. Now I’m 28, and I have at least three teeth that probably should be pulled and two others that I’m pretty sure that bad cavities. At this point, I know I need to go to the dentist because it will only get worse, but I am so afraid of them judging me.
To add to matters, I now live in another country–I am American and now live in the Netherlands. I’m learning Dutch, but almost all of my ‘outside’ interactions are high stress for me as it is. I’m not afraid of pain from the dentist; it’s more the shame I feel for letting it get this bad. I know that if I had just flossed/brushed my teeth more, it wouldn’t be this bad.”
1. When Someone Really Needs a Hygiene Lesson: Chewing Tobacco Is Gross And Unhealthy
Redditor Tinyfishy shares his view on this topic, saying: “Food is up there for gross. Hard calculus is kinda ‘fun’ in a ‘can’t wait to clean that up way’ and not as gag-worthy somehow. Weeks-old gunk under dentures is awful. Soft plaque spreads on like cake icing, and where the upper layers are bright colors is a bit gross but also fun to clean away. Bits of chewing tobacco and pre-cancerous lesions around it are chilling. So why do you ask? If it is for a friend with a ‘gross’ mouth, we have seen it all pretty much before and just wanna help.
In turn, another Redditor, goldeeen, added: “The only thing that’s made me physically gag was a patient with dentures who didn’t know she was supposed to take them out and brush them. The amount of calculus that was built upon the bottom was profound” Another Redditor tdoggins replied to this saying: smoker’s teeth can be really bad, and infections won’t be pretty as you might expect. Tons of people would find watching procedures like extractions quite gross, though I’ve heard that in dentistry, the smells are generally much worse than the things you’ll see.”