The Root Canal Wasn’t as Bad as I Thought it Would Be

Ten a.m. this past Sunday found me in the dentist chair, getting a very large needle stuck in my gum.

For so long, years honestly, I’ve put off taking care of this tooth that has gone from a small cavity to a large hole in the side. The hole only grew when I was pregnant and got worse over time.

I finally reached a point where I couldn’t stand enduring the pain any more, so I went to a dentist. You can read how that went here. That particular dentist was not in full practice, however, so I went to a very modern dental clinic for a second evaluation. From the beginning I was much more comfortable with them than with the previous dentist.

I had brought the kids with me (no way I couldn’t), and they kept the assistants busy – touching everything, asking what everything was, Logan showing off his loose tooth, etc. – while the doctor checked my mouth and I had a x-ray done in another room. These dentists were very helpful, reassuring me that nowadays the root canal is the better option, and that they prefer to save the tooth if it is savable, rather than pull it. They took time to explain why the root canal was better and they answered all my questions.

I took some time deciding though, because pain is something I just can’t stand. I couldn’t make up my mind whether enduring the pain of a root canal was preferable to the daily ache I felt in the tooth. I’ve heard so much about how painful a root canal can be. I think one thing that helped me decide was the very friendly customer service I got from the clinic – from the next day check-in call asking how the service was, to having the dentist call me personally with answers to some more questions I had.

After some hemming and hawing, I decided to go for it and set a date to get it done. I chose Sunday so that Glad would be home with the kids. I was so nervous going in, and getting a needle in my jaw first thing didn’t help. I had to wait while half my mouth went numb. The whole left side – cheek, gums, tongue and lips. (If you want to feel something weird, half a mouth is the way to go.)

I tried to lie still and not shake or tense my body. I had to force myself to relax, hard to do when you have to keep your mouth open as wide as possible while it is so numb you can’t feel it. My neck kept tensing up and hurting but I finally figured out how to relax it. At the end of 45 minutes, it was over. They took a mold of my mouth and are making a ceramic cap for the tooth that will be put on in a few days.

And the expected pain? I don’t know if it is the painkillers I’m taking or if it really just doesn’t hurt. I’ve not had any pain. Actually, the thing that has bothered me the most in the past 24 hours is the cut on the side of my tongue that I must have gotten from one of the dental tools.

I feel so much better now that it is done. No more throb or ache in my tooth. No more trying to dig out whatever particle of food happened to be stuck there at the moment. No more avoiding chewing on that side. It’s over.

Now I just have about six other fillings to look forward to.  😦

I Finally Forced Myself To Go To the Dentist and This is What Happened

I hate pain of any sort. I’ve always had a very low pain tolerance level. Even a light headache will send me scrambling for a painkiller because otherwise I will be tossing and turning in bed unable to do anything.

About 12 years ago I got a small cavity in the furthest molar on the bottom left side of my mouth. When I went in to have it filled, the experience was so painful that I never had it refilled when that filling eventually fell out.

Then I got pregnant with Logan and the tooth went from small cavity to gaping hole on one side. And it got worse with each subsequent pregnancy. Most of the time it didn’t hurt. Other times it ached so badly I would cry. I used the excuse that I was pregnant or breastfeeding to not go, but the reality was that I was reluctant to get it fixed because of my earlier painful experience.

A few months ago, the molar directly above it began hurting. Since the pain was off and on, I figured it was a cavity and I slowly worked up the courage I needed to go to a dentist. I kept putting it off, until a few days ago when the pain was so severe that I couldn’t sleep.

I finally went to a local dentist and showed him the two teeth that were hurting. I had a full dental x-ray done (the machine that goes around your head and you have to bite this plastic thing and close your eyes, very weird), and the dentist showed me two things.

First, the huge cavity may or may not be salvageable. A specialist will come and check it out and decide whether a root canal, filling and capping the tooth, would be best, or pulling it out. I still don’t know which I’d prefer, though I’m leaning towards pulling.

Second, the tooth that I thought was a new cavity is not one. The pain I’ve been feeling that extends through my whole jaw and even to my ear is caused by an extra tooth that is up in the gum trying to push its way down on top of the tooth that is already there. There is one on the other side of my mouth as well.

The only solution to end the pain? Surgery to remove the tooth! I’m freaking out at the prospect, but with a pain that doesn’t let me sleep unless I have a hot water bottle, I am ready to do it. The thought of having my mouth sliced open and having to endure days of swelling and pain afterwards is not fun. But being pain-free afterwards is worth it.

Besides, I may just lose some more weight from this, being stuck on a liquid diet until I can eat without pain. I’ll probably be inhaling painkillers like candy for a while.

I’ll keep you posted about how it goes.

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