Thursday, October 15, 2015

Thursday News

So file this under things I didn't expect to have happen today . . .

My very first root canal!

Back story, way back, is that in October of 2013 the left side of my lower jaw began to hurt. It was so painful, I'd started chewing only on the right side. About the same time, I developed tinnitus.  I went to the dentist and he said everything looked fine. I went to my doctor, she said everything seemed fine. But I was headed out for a long weekend in Albuquerque with Marci for the Balloon Fiesta, so she prescribed me some pain killers and said if it got worse, come back. 

It never seemed to get worse. It settled into a sometimes tenderness that I mostly got used to. And I still largely chew things on my right side. 

Backstory more recent: About a month ago, brushing one night, I noticed a little white bump on my gum. Since I'd been hitting the tomatoes pretty heavily and was prone to getting mouth sores when I ate too much acidic food, I chalked it up to nothing much. 

But it never went away. It seemed to get a bit bigger. Just a bit tender, but not really painful.


Google those symptoms and you're either 1) dying or 2) perfectly fine. 

I do not advise trying a Google Image Search. People's mouths are NASTY.

I also knew I had my cleaning scheduled for October 15 and decided, if it hadn't disappeared, to just ask at my appointment. 

So, at 8:00 this morning, I did just that. 

And, at 1:00 this afternoon I was at the Endodontist (4 doors down) getting a root canal.

It turns out, this little bump was nature's way of keeping me out of excruciating pain. Of course, that meant the infection in the abscessed tooth had gone so far as to work its way from the bone out to the gums where, and here's definitely TMI, it had probably been draining and refilling. 


If it hadn't done that, the pressure inside from the build up of infected pus would have made me get to the dentist far more quickly. 

It didn't really help that my dentist is saying things like, "I don't usually prescribe antibiotics but with this much tissue damage, I think you should start right away. We can't mess around with that much of an infection in your head."


In fact, according to Dr. Patel, whom I now love, that experience two years ago was very likely the start of the infection. He said it would take that long for me to have developed as much of an abscess as I presented with today. 

All that black area is where the infection has eaten through bone. Pretty!

Basically, he was going to drill down to those light lines you see running through the tooth, clean it all out, including all the necrotic tissue and nerves, thus ending all ability for the tooth to ever feel pain. 

We chatted for a good while in between the numbing shots before getting down to business.

For future reference, always bring your ipod, because I didn't, and had to choose from the available CDs on hand for the 45 minute procedure today, which was the first half of the operation. I have to do a two week round of antibiotics and then go back for the rest. And then go back to my dentist for the permanent crown. 

So, for Schroeder, I chose the Beethoven disc. Naturally, it started with the Fifth, which, I can now say, was not the most relaxing choice to get going on.  

They put you in sunglasses, with headphones, and prop your jaw open with a little block on the non-surgical side, then lay in a little surgical drape, that isolates the infected tooth. Very weird, kind of like how they drape your abdomen for an appendectomy, except this little sheet is poofed up and out of your mouth across part of your face. I am seriously asking the nurse to use my phone and get a photo when I go back for part 2, because I know how bizarre all that felt, but I really need to see it from above. 

It's now 4 hours later and I am still numbed up. It can stay that way for as long as it likes!

edited to add . . .  surprise root canal surgery can also net you new Snoopy longjohns if you look pitiful enough. And, please to appreciate not only the cute little Peanuts people all over the pants, but also the insane length of my fingernails.They're usually not past my fingertips, so I'm just waiting for the first one to break before cutting them all back. But I've been waiting for weeks, so now I can't cut them until one of them breaks just to see how long they can go. (I think just by posting a photo of them, one is likely to break before the night is out.)



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