Thursday, February 6, 2014

Welcome to my root canal





                By the time you read this, I should be strapped to a dentist’s chair with my mouth wired open, a couple of burly attendants preventing me from making a dive through the sixth floor window. A pricey drill will be whirring and no doubt the root canal specialist will be asking me questions.  My answers will be muffled as will my screams. Any dignity I once had will have left the building.
                Okay, I’m exaggerating. I no longer fear the dentist. I will go meekly to this appointment because I know it’s the best thing. However, part of me is thinking why didn’t that sore tooth just turn out to be a cavity or a bit of gum recession? Have I been ticking like a time bomb for months?
                “Do you do root canals?” I asked my dentist when he determined that’s what was needed.
                “Oh sure.”
                “Why can’t you do this one?”
                “Well, it’s complicated.”
                Huh. Outside of romantic comedies, those are words you don’t want to hear.
                Never mind. This will make three visits to a dentist in ten days, one course of antibiotics and quite a bit of whining to anyone who’ll listen.  I know I’m lucky I could get it taken care of and that the root canal specialist will be charming and gentle and it’s a first-world problem.
                My hubby said, “Imagine if this had been three hundred years ago.”  I knew I was looking haggard, but seriously. Of course, he’s right. We are fortunate to be living in a time when so much is possible, even if some of it hurts.
                However, when I get back if I have a few soothing comments from my friends and a digital back pat or two, I bet that will help.
                Plus feel free to share your dental and root canal stories. Once I’m finished, I’ll be glad to hear them.
                Muffled hugs to all and please, my friends, be kind to your teeth. They have ways at getting back at you.
             
                MJ

29 comments:

lavendersbluegreen said...

UGH. Ok, here's mine... a few years ago I worked for one of the satan telecom corporations that keeps trying to reform and gets broken back up every so often (think A...) I had a filling pop out and wanted to use my dental coverage. Only to find out that although they had been pulling my payments for insurance from my checks for months, the reason I had not received my insurance card and what not despite multiple inquiries... was that they had not filed my hire paperwork correctly and I was never eligible for insurance based on the clerical error. Not to mention the wrong wage (still waiting). Oh no. So they claim they are fixing it and I can just go to the dentist, but only a dentist that is covered, however they and the insurance company refuse to allow me access to the covered dentists list since I am not covered. What? A couple months and a great deal of pain later and my cavity issue is now a major issue and I can barely do my job (talking on the phone), need antibiotics (but am allergic), and am just going to have to eat the $2500 of cost which I have yet to be reimbursed for (2008) thanks to an ineffectual union that was more interested in electing a president than dealing with all the MANY grievances lodged out of the set of buildings we worked in. I had my root canal and got a crown which looks and feels funny to this day; using a dentist I found out was the only one covered in my area, by going through a co-worker. They never did reimburse me and the union does not even bother pretending they are trying to solve any of the grievances from 2007 or 2008.
Much luck on yours. Since you are seeing a specialist, I am sure it will look and feel spectacular when all is said and done!

Grace Koshida said...

MJ, I have had 4 root canals in 2 years. Less traumatic than getting a cavity filled & believe me I have over 40 fillings, so I know. Only one of the ops was painful because I had a big abcess & infection in the gum. It was funny when my dentist was oooing in wonder afterwards saying I had some "odd, tricky roots" & he wanted to keep the x-rays to show his students!

Hope your op went well and you are smiling again soon, MJ!!

I agree with your advice, MJ.
Take care of your teeth. I didn't in my 20s and am now paying the price in my 40s!!

Susan L. @ Full Happy Muffin and Mama said...

In my third year of teaching, I finally broke down and went to see the dentist about getting my two cracked molars fixed (they were cracked when my wisdom teeth came in). The dentist wanted to send me to an endodontist for a series of root canals that involved shaving back some of the jawbone. I told her that I'd rather have them pulled, thanks. So, when I get to my doctor's office the next day, it turns out that one had abcessed and caused a sinus infection. I broke down in his office and he offered to contact an oral surgeon for me. So, I go see the oral surgeon, explain to him that I don't want the scary shaving down of jawbone and can't I please just have them removed thanks? He mentions a new complication: the nerve on my bottom teeth is way too close to the roots of those teeth and he is afraid that if he removes them he will damage that nerve. So, he sends me to an endodontist in his practice who is leery of the root canal he would have to perform. The upshot is: after three months, I finally get my teeth extracted: the four wisdom teeth and two molars. The oral surgeon made me sign a special waiver (in addition to the anesthetic waiver) about the nerve (because if the nerve were damaged in the surgery I would have been a drooling person unable to chew correctly the rest of my life, according to the surgeon). It turns out it was a good thing that I had insisted on the extraction because one of the molars shattered as he removed it. It would never have survived a root canal.

I'm sure yours will go wonderfully, though. Take care! :)

Denise Z. said...

Wow, my story is nothing compared to the other posters. I had a root canal a few years ago and it was not that bad. The worst part was the mouth pain that woke me up before the surgery ... I also had some discomfort afterward for quite some time. Still do, actually, but it's more of a case of being "aware" of that particular tooth when I brush my teeth - I can feel the vibrations from the electric toothbrush in that tooth in a way I don't in my others.

The procedure itself was no problem. The dentist had the most up-to-date equipment and he was blazingly fast. I brought my Kindle to occupy myself while the anesthesia was settling in (as I do for regular fillings) and he said, oh, no, no waiting with what I'm going to give you. And he was right.

So I'd have to classify this experience as not nearly as hideous as anyone else's! (And this is coming from someone who would rather have a Pap than go to the dentist.) Wish you only good things from this experience.

Maggie Sefton said...

MJ----It must be the horrid cold weather, because I just got email from daughter Melissa that she needs one just learned she needs one and is scheduled for tomorrow. Thinking good thoughts for you.

Leann Sweeney said...

You do not want to know how many root canals I have had (very "soft" teeth). I've even had two done twice! A few were a breeze--okay, two were a breeze--and the rest were horror stories I won't talk about them here. My mouth is worth a small fortune. Oh, and I hope you do get a kind-talking endodontist. I once had Eva Braun's clone do one of mine. A year later it had to be redone. Yeah. I've got stories.

mary kennedy said...

I had an "emergency" root canal done while staying with friends in England. Even though I'm not a British citizen, he only charged me the National Health Care fee, which was equal to $2.00 in our currency. Pretty amazing and when I got back home, my US dentist said that his British colleague had done "a terrific job."

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

I had to have a root canal a few years ago.. My dentist tried to do it but said the canal was crooked. Then then I had to see the other dentist in the office.. He couldn't do it either. So I was sent to a root canal specialist. I think it took about 3 or 4 visits to him to get it done. I must say, he was much better for my discomfort level. Finally it was done. Just last month, I had a problem and thought I might need to have it done again, but they decided to pull the tooth. That was a lot easier. Thank goodness it doesn't show. They keep saying at at age 77 I am lucky to have all but 2 of my teeth. I count 3 missing but what do I know.
Now I am off to the eye Dr's this morning to see how my eye is doing from cataract surgery last week...At least I am seeing much better.. Still have the other eye to do later this year. Sigh, the joys of getting old, but it beats the alternative...

Sally R said...

I'm up to 3 dental implants, 2root canal retreats, and countless root canals. The last one was about 2 months ago. I had bypasses my dentist and gone straight to the endodontist. After the procedure, the dental assistant commented on how calm and still I was. My doctor commented wryly, unfortunately Sally is a veteran at this. I recommend ibuprofen for pain over the prescription pain pills. I sympathize with you and hope the procedure goes well.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Oh boy! That is so unfair. If you are a mystery writer you can kill them on the page, or if not, perhaps someone will do it for you.

I sure hope things get better with your coverage.

Hugs.

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Oh Grace, 'odd tricky roots!" Words you don't want to hear. I hope all your teeth are doing better now.

Hugs.

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Susan, what a story. I am glad you got through it.

XOXO

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks for the good news story! I guess we never know. As it turned out, I had a good experience today. However, I have been spoiling myself since and angling for sympathy.

Hugs.

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I hope Melissa's procedure goes well, Maggie. Also hope you are having fun in the sun.

XO

MJ

mary kennedy said...

Eva Braun, good one, Leann!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Sorry about your experiences, my friend. No one needs to experience horror stories. My endodontist was very pleasant although it all lasted longer than they thought.

XOXO

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

You have the luck of the Irish, Mary! Pretty amazing indeed.

Hugs,

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I figure you should know how many teeth!
I think that cataract surgery is wonderful. You will probably be very happy at the end.

You are right, growing old does beat the alternative.

Hugs

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

You're a trooper, Sally! I see you do know your way around the system. Hope things go well from now on.

Hugs.

MJ

Rachelle21 said...

I remember when my dentist gave me my first root canal, he thought I had already had one somewhere else because of all the work I had done before. I had not. He was very surprised as was I.

Anonymous said...

I've had at least 4 root canals and the first was the WORST. It was botched from the get go. I was in agony for weeks. (PonySwingGirl can attest to that.) The crown to cover had too short a post. The thing is: this thing caused me pain for over 20 years. The crown would come off a couple of times a year. Then, finally, my new dentist said I had to have a bridge. Okay, he went to yank out what was left of the tooth and it came out in splinters. He gouged my mouth for over 20 minutes but never did manage to find it. He said my mouth would heal in a few weeks and I could get a bridge. But my mouth didn't heal for more than THREE MONTHS and I had to go around looking like a hillbilly. But finally the bridge went in, but it was never right either. In fact, I knew it wasn't right and I mentioned it to my new dentist. She said it would be okay. But she didn't reckon with her hygienist who wrenched the dental floss past it like she was wrestling a bull. And when did it break? Why, three days later, the morning of the night when I had to talk to a couple hundred people at Malice Domestic, where I had been nominated for an Agatha award. Can you say EMBARRASED by the GIGANTIC hole in my mouth? Well, it could NOT be fixed. So, then I had to go through implant surgery. But first I needed a bone transplant. This right after the local scandal where tissue and bone had been harvested illegally from cadavers--people who had died of horrific diseases like CANCER. And it took yet another three months for my mouth to heal before the implants could be put in. (And we won't even mention the receptionist at my implant dentist who was MURDERED not long after.) The thing is ... I don't like having implants. Contrary to all the hype, they are NOT like real teeth, and you know that the second they are implanted. Would I do it over again? I'm thinking not. (Forget the expense--which was more than I got as an advance for each of my first five books.) So believe me when I say I feel your pain.

Oh, and my dentist tells me that I need a NEW root canal on a tooth that already had a root canal. Why? Because digital xrays have shown what traditional xrays didn't. There's a whole nother root up there. I'm holding out for as long as I can.

SueAnn said...

Man! Teeth!! everybody's got them!!! Nice to know I do not suffer alone....
Lorraine! MERCY! GIRL! You must be related to me...talk about NO luck! If "bad" can happen....!!!! I had a root canal a week before Thanksgiving, and then another one on Christmas Eve day...what I HATE about root canals...you have yo keep your mouth open so long...they put that little wedge in one side to help keep the jaw open...and I HATE that "thing" they use to block the tooth off..it does a good job, what it is suppose to do..but not at all comfortable.....and it takes soooooo long! One tooth was 45 minutes...the other was an hour....talk about a sore jaw!
I went the antibiotics gamit too...both teeth were abcessed....went to several different tooth doctors...trying to decide what to do..pull them, leave them...the expense....Seems tooth roots just choose to die..when they feel like it..no matter how well you care for your teeth....The visits are not over for you yet, MJ...there is the re-forming of the tooth...a temp crown, then the crown....and the follow up in a few months for the root canal...I have seen my dentist and his crew more in the last 2 months than I have in all the years we've been going there!!!
I still can't tell you..if I am glad I "saved" the 2 molars, or wish I had them pulled....between the pain, and the money.....there are good and bad days for those opinions!!! LOL!!! I will say, the older I get..IF..something like this happens again...OUT, OUT, I say~~~! I don't need all these teeth when I die! even if I go toothless..I will ALWAYS be able to eat a candy bar!!!!!
Speaking of 300 yrs ago.....when I was having the 2nd tooth done, the endodontist was telling me about her fascination with Ancient egypt....and said when the Pharohs died and were missing teeth, they yanked teeth from whoever was around..to put in the dead rulers mouth..so he went to Nirvana with a full set!!! I would not want to be the one standing around when the king kicked the can!!!!

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Mary Jane Maffini said...

Wow, Lorraine. Truth is stranger than fiction. I hope those pearly whites are behaving now. XOXO

Mary Jane Maffini said...

We don't always want surprises at the dentist, Rachelle. But at least this one spared you that non-existent root canal.

Hugs,

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Better to be a dead Pharoah that a life passer-by!

Hugs,

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks! Glad you liked it.

Hugs,

MJ

ladyvyvian said...

I have had 10 root canals all of them abscessed first so I had to have a round or 2 of antibiotics first. As I was unable to pay for permanent crowns, the teeth have crumbled over the years and now I am missing almost half my teeth. It makes for interesting chewing sometimes. The worst was when 2 teeth right next to each other abscessed at the same time and one of them would not deaden. I had to endure the probe with no pain medicine. I think the dentist was more traumatized than I was. he hated hurting his patients. I am glad your procedure when well. Love you posts.

lavendersbluegreen said...

Oh, that was a couple years ago, and I luckily no longer work for that satan corp... Thanks though!!