Root canal – Part 2

I was both dreading and looking forward to today’s visit to my lovely dentist, Dr. G.

The adventure started about two weeks ago, with a weekend of pain, followed by relief/torture in his office, as he began the root canal procedure, and relieved the pressure of an infected root.  If you missed it, I described that experience in Root Canal, Really?

After that visit, I took a 10-day course of antibiotic.  You may or may not know that I practice Infectious Disease medicine for a living, and therefore, I hand out more than my share of antimicrobial medications.  But, I rarely take them.  I was reminded of how uncomfortable your gut can become as it’s natural microbial population is altered by a drug that tends to wipe out bacteria!  After about 3 days, I felt miserable.  And I learned a valuable anecdotal lesson: probiotics work!  At least, they did for me.

20140114_204122 20140114_204139These photos are of the package I happened to purchase, but this is not meant in any way to be an endorsement of any particular brand.  I just went for the least expensive, and the most number of benign bacterial strains that I actually recognized!

And those little capsules on the right are really tiny!  Very easy to swallow.  As you can see, I only needed six to put my tummy right.

Interestingly, there is at least one meta-analysis that shows an effect of probiotics on prevention of antibiotic-associated diarrhea (Videlock, E. J., & Cremonini, F. F. (2012). Meta-analysis: probiotics in antibiotic-associated diarrhoea. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics35(12), 1355-1369. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2036.2012.05104.x).  This study showed a reduction of about 50%.  I may start recommending probiotics to more of my patients.

Anyway, within about 2 days, my stomach cramps went away, and I began feeling better.  The pain in my mandible (upper jaw) decreased gradually, and I went in today anxious about the treatment, but looking forward to having it finished.

Dr. G greeted me cheerfully, and asked whether I wanted the nitrous oxide (“Yes, please!”).  And then he began drilling away, and tugging at my teeth.    The music in his office is soothing and familiar, most of it right out of the sound-track of my youth, and I was happy to sing along (in my head) to one of my favorites by Joni Mitchell “Both Sides Now”.  It was a song I learned to play on the guitar when I was about twelve.

A short 1/2 hour later, he was satisfied, and said “OK, I’ll see you back for one more visit!” and breezed out of the room.

What, this ordeal isn’t over?  Sadly no.  I have to go back for Part 3 – the final chapter.  I hope.


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