Root Canals: They Suck

October 9, 2008 at 7:05 pm (Uncategorized)

You know, LabGirl was somehow blessed with perfect teeth. She’s in her late 20’s and has never had a single cavity. About the most uncomfortable thing she’s had to go through at a dentist is having plaque cleaned off of her teeth.

I, on the other hand, seem to be cursed. Part of that is likely, to be fully open, a result of my hatred and distrust of dentists, and my resulting hesitation to go see one unless I have to. Plus for a little while lack of insurance and/or having jobs that were impossible to take time off from for appoints all added up.
Anyway, last year I got two cavities in molars at the bottom-rear of my mouth, one on each side. Both resulted in a break of the tooth’s upper crown.
After this happened, I didn’t have a regular dentist so I just made an appointment with a large dental group not far from work, figuring if it’s a large successful group it was likely they had staff that knew what they were doing.
Yeah, I was wrong. The place is called Dental Dreams. Yes, it should be renamed Dental Nightmares. Holy shit. This was the place I went to, and the dentist was kinda rude, and it was busy so he seemed to be rushing things, and his assistant wasn’t paying attention to what she was doing so I’d lay there choking on debris at the back of my mouth while she stared off somewhere – all while their open layout (no doors) allowed me to listen to a 12-ish year old boy scream and sob while they drilled on him. Oh, and their administrative staff are about as bright as a sack of hammers as well.
It took me over a year to go back to a dentist again to fix the other side, and I really only broke down at that point because it finally started to hurt.
The first side was able to be taken care of using a filling. However, neglecting to fix the other side allowed the damage to compile over time, and it ended up being root canal treatment. Yay.

Monday I went in, they took an x-ray, said something along the lines of “Yup, gonna need some work,” and they gave me a prescription for some antibiotics and had me come back in a few days.
Well, today I went back, and got the work done.

You know, I was reading online that root canal therapy shouldn’t be considered a big deal (pain wise) any more because of advances in anesthesia, and LabGirl had mentioned that a coworker told her that “it doesn’t really hurt once it’s numb.” So I was hopefully it wouldn’t be bad.
But you see, the “once it’s numb” part is the problem. My body is just naturally novacain-resistant or something. When I had the more shallow cavity filled, they had to shoot me up with novocain three times before it really made a difference. Three times.
This time, I had to be shot up twice, directly in the place where it really hurts to get poked by a needle (there’s a thick bundle of nerves near where your upper & lower jaw connect in the back), along with a couple of stabs in the side of the gums by the tooth just for good measure. And I could still feel it. I could feel as he drilled into it. I could smell the burning of the enamel as the friction of the drill bit in. I could feel as he dug into it and scraped out the pulp, scraping along the inner sides of the tooth as he did so. I could feel as he sprayed water and air into it to clean it out. I could feel as he injected a filler material, and I could feel as he pressed the temporary capping material into place. (Yes, it’s not done yet, I get to go back in a couple of weeks to get a new crown for it).
While all this was happening, through most of it I closed my eyes and I tried to meditate, to take my mind away from it. I used the meditation technique of concentrating on my breathing – really paying attention to my breathing, taking full note of when I breathe in, how long it takes, how the air fills my lungs. Made a mental note about how tough it is to meditate while someone is drilling into your skull. Tried to concentrate more. I thought about how I needed to do this. For me. Because I’m actually really fond of my teeth, and when I end up losing the first one it will probably be a bit traumatic. And how it could also be for LabGirl, as I’m sure kisses from a guy without teeth problems is preferred. And oddly, thought about LabGirl in terms that had no naughtiness to them whatsoever – man, my head really must have been clouded.
After being drilled, poked, prodded, and packed for nearly 45 minutes, I was sent on my way, along with a pack of 400mg ibuprofen and a suggestion that I might want to start on taking it before the novacain completely wears off.

Oh, and on top of all that I have homework to do tonight and what looks like it will probably be a bitch of a midterm tomorrow that I have to study for.

Comfort food time – I already had a Guinness, and now I’ve got cookies baking in the oven. My diet can kiss my butt this week.


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