Monday, June 28, 2010

The Saga of My Root Canal

On the night of June 12th, I could not sleep because my whole head seemed to be throbbing because of pain in my tooth. Unfortunately, it was a Saturday, so no dentist was open. Luckily, I go to church with a dentist, and he fit me into his schedule on Monday. I went in and found out that one of the roots on my tooth was infected and I would need a root canal. He didn't want to do it because he hates doing root canals on big molars. Another dentist in the office said he would take a whack at it and see if he could save me the hassle and added expense of seeing an endodontist. So, I left with a prescription for penicillin and vicoden and an appointment for the following Monday. Then I went to the pharmacy and found out that the FDA has not approved vicoden for nursing mothers, so I set up a schedule to take ibuprofen and tylenol alternating every three hours. I was in exquisite pain.

Monday, the 21st, I went back to the dentist's office. He tried valiantly to do the root canal. He found two of the three canals, but could not numb my tooth and I wanted to cry out in pain everytime he stuck that tiny file into my canal. So, he gave up and sent me to an endodontist. This was at 5pm. I had a friend in town watching Scott (Thanks, Tammy!) and she picked me up from the dentist and brought me to the endodontist, who was awesome. He talked to me for about 20 minutes about what was going on inside my tooth, and even drew me a little picture. The most important thing I learned was that now that I have all of my teeth, the pulp is worthless. So, since my tooth was infected, the next day, he was going to take out all of my pulp and fill it in with something else. I got another babysitter for Tuesday, the 22nd, who is the wife of my second dentist, who also goes to church with me.

I arrived at the endodontist filled with great fear, which was realized later in my appointment. He numbed my jawbone. He started drilling. I was still in pain. He gave me more anesthetic all around my tooth. He continued drilling. He got to my third canal. He poked it with a file. I was still in pain in two of my canals. He gave me anesthetic IN THE PULP OF MY TOOTH!!!! I yelped and cried. It was the worst pain I have ever felt, and I feel confident it is the worst pain I will ever feel. But, after that I didn't feel anything while he was filing away at my canals. Then, he took an x-ray and decided we better give my tooth a week to get clean. He poured in a tiny amount of alkaline solution to "kill the bugs" and sent me on my "merry" way. I was in less pain, but I couldn't open my mouth very wide for several days. :(

Today, the 28th, I went back to the endodontist. He finished it all up. Not too much pain, but my mouth is still sore. This time, I made jell-o before I left for the appointment so it would be ready for me when I got home. I took pictures for posterity.

This is me looking darling in my rubber dam. I had never had one before, but I have decided it is brilliant! I didn't have to feel flecks of my tooth around my mouth and I didn't have to have an assistant smashing my tongue down to keep it away from my tooth. I loved it.I don't know how well you can see this, but there are three things in my tooth--red, yellow, and green--sitting in my three canals.
Here is the tree I stared at while I was writhing in pain.
Here is the awesome endodontist. He may have inflicted a lot of pain, but he was understanding and told lots of funny stories, and even wiped my tears away when I cried. He has been doing nothing but root canals for the past 56 years and let me tell you, he's a pro.
And there's the filling. You might not be able to tell in this picture, but it's BLUE! He said I could have white or silver, but he thought that the blue would match my shoes :) so I went for it.


Brett and Amanda said...

i worked as a dental assistant last summer, so this post made me cringe due to my knowledge (though not personal) of how painful root canals can be! i'm glad you survived!

Cami said...

This sounds horrible! I had a toothache a couple months ago and had to take penicillin and wait 3 WEEKS for my dental insurance to kick in before I could get my root canal. The procedure wasn't as painful as yours though. ...and I'm surprised that you're not supposed to take Vicodin when you're nursing because that's what I was taking after I delivered Kenzie. It made me loopy and sick so I stopped taking it though. Do you have to get a crown on that tooth now? My temporary crown bothered me more than the root canal.

maurine said...

i remember my first tooth dam thing. i was twelve. it was awesome. and dr. bottaro calling dad over to show him the roots, and then warning me not to be alarmed if i saw smoke coming out of my mouth. aren't root canals the best?!

Jacob, Amber, and Baby Kyla said...

Bummer. I had some crowns done and they were not the funnest, but definitely not as bad as this!