Monday
Aug172009

« Into The Frying Pan »

I must have been having too good a time after my wisdom teeth were pulled a few weeks back. There had to be a villain in there to put me right. I fully thought my weekend after the surgery was going to be one with much Vicodin and icepack action. But I was out and about on my bike, walking the dog, having lunch with church folks. A bit later on there was pain, and I was wondering if it was the dreaded dry socket, but a couple calls to the surgeon's office said it wasn't that. I had been told by my general dentist weeks before that the tooth that chipped off (neighbor to one of the wisdom molars) would probably need a root canal before it would be crowned properly. So he built up the surface with some anesthetic goop and some composite material in mid July.

Not really having any experience with extractions, I wasn't really sure what the pain would be like. Of course I am equally inexperienced (by some amazing grace considering my dental history) with a genuine tooth ache like I have had for the last week and a half. But, once I was sure that it was not extraction pain (because three of the four sites never hurt at all, really), I had to admit that it would be root canal time. That was made clear for me when Vicodin effectively did nothing, and the number of OTC pain pills almost numbered the hours of daylight.

The handwritten referral looked a bit hard to read. I waited the next week to see how the pain was. It ebbed and flowed, and for a day or two seemed gone on its own. But a couple nights now it was enough to keep me up. About a week ago I called the office that my dentist referred me to but got no response after leaving a message. I guess the practice changed hands or something because the referral and outgoing phone message had different names, and doing a web search was as confusing. Finally I just biked to the office this morning to get someone in person and to my good luck they saw me on the spot and did the whole thing in one visit.

I guess I didn't even know enough about root canal work to dread it. I certainly didn't have the years to build up a root canal phobia like I did with extractions and deep scaling. I was waiting for some agony but didn't experience it. I mean, I thought the whole thing was going to be torture, but I felt just a handful of stabs as the procedure got to its deepest points. More awkward was the business of having my jaw spread for an hour, but even that was more bearable by the jig they put in and the dental dam which kept my tongue from doing its usual job as jealous security dog, fending off all intruders. Two hundred bucks and a couple hours later, I was enjoying some delightful cold treats with joyous abandon, no longer sent into the fetal position from cold sensitivity that I have had since the gum surgery in late 2007, but more so since the back area of that tooth was exposed to the world a few weeks back. In a couple weeks I get the crown work under way. Let's hope there aren't any surprises along the way. Brave as I've become now that I am a revolving door guest at dentists and periodontists and such, I don't think the stuff becomes enjoyable. Except that of course, I am finally tacking my demons.

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