Root canal, really?

I hate going to the dentist. HATE it!

I don’t typically go every six months, like I’m supposed to. I’ve been blessed with strong teeth (thanks mom and dad!) and I do brush regularly (not so great with the flossing) and i’ve been lucky for several decades. Usually the hygienist shakes her head at my admission that I don’t floss, and, yes, it’s been more than a year since my last visit, but my teeth are fine. And I leave with a personal fist – pump and a determination to do better and not push my luck anymore.

Well, my downfall is a tooth that got knocked out years ago – actually, the same tooth has been knocked out the times in my life! The first time may not count, as it was a baby tooth, knocked out on a spring – mounted horse in the playground when I was 3, I think. But the second time was in my teen years, at family camp in the mountains, when we were sliding down natural water slides on a rock face of the mountain, and I knocked out my right upper incisor. From then on, I have lived with a cap or crown, and tended to obsess just a bit about that tooth.

Last summer, my dentist, Dr G, suggested that my damaged /replaced front incisor would be more stable, and match it’s left-hand pair better if he did a veneer, so that the two front teeth would be anchored together.  I trust Dr G, and we went for it.  Ugh!  After two visits, and more drilling than I would have liked, I ended up with two front teeth that matched beautifully, and, after getting used to the way the teeth felt from the “inside” (the veneer is a little “thicker” on the internal side, and my tongue felt like it didn’t have enough room).

Here’s the before:


See how the front right tooth is whiter than my native teeth, and is more squared off?

And here’s after:

Sorry the exposure is so different, but the two front teeth match so much better!

Sorry the exposure is so different, but the two front teeth match so much better!

And, over the next several months, I got used to how the new teeth felt, and got more and more confident about biting into sandwiches, or an apple.

And, then, about two weeks ago, I started feeling pain in the front upper left tooth – the one with the veneer.  Remember, that has my real tooth under it, and a live root, and everything.  The only reason it got worked on was to stabilize its neighbor.  The pain started on Friday (of course, all medical and health problems have to start on the most inconvenient day), and it got more severe over the weekend.  I started dosing Ibuprofen regularly, which worked to control the pain.

I made it through to Monday, and got in to see Dr G that afternoon.   After chastising me for waiting to call him (“Why didn’t I call on Saturday, when I was in tears from the pain?”), he poked around a bit, and the verdict – root canal!

And the drilling commenced (after a hefty dose of novocaine, and administration of the lovely nitrous oxide gas, which helps so tremendously to calm the nerves frayed by dreadful imaginings of the drill to come).  And I left Dr G’s office with a very droopy left upper lip:

This is my best attempt at a smile, with my left lip loaded with novocaine

This is my best attempt at a smile, with my left lip loaded with novocaine

And, I was given a 10-day course of amoxicillin.

And, I have to go back for part two of the root canal next week.

Thank goodness for nitrous oxide!

3 thoughts on “Root canal, really?

  1. Sarah says:

    Janaki, you are a great writer!

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