I had a root canal this morning.
It wasn’t planned. I didn’t get up this morning thinking, “This is the day I get my root canal.”
For one reason or another, I haven’t been to a dentist in a really, really long time. I’m embarrassed to say how long. The longer I didn’t go to a dentist, the more I didn’t want to go because I didn’t want the dentist to scold for not going. And the last time I went to a dentist, before JJ was diagnosed with cancer, on my second appointment I thought he was going to do some dental work, but instead he just talked, telling me the same information he had given me on my first visit–and then he charged me for it. I was sort of disgusted about that because it wasn’t easy to get there–I think I had to drop EJ off at work that day so I’d have the car. And on EJ’s first visit with him, the guy wanted to totally reconstruct his jaw–when EJ has never had a problem with his jaw before. So, nuts to that.
I’ve had a problem with a tooth for quite a while. Sometimes the tooth would hurt and I’d think, “Ouch! I really need to go to the dentist!” But then it would stop hurting and, hey, out of sight, out of mind. But a few weeks ago–maybe a month or two–my gum near the tooth became swollen, so I knew it was infected and I really needed to find a dentist. But I kept putting it off: “I’ll do it after we get the new floor in,” I told myself, “or when we get the gravel for the driveway done, or in September. Maybe I’ll do it in October–after my birthday, of course.” But the swelling didn’t go away and became a bit annoying and worrisome so this morning I took a deep breath and finally called a dentist that EJ had gone to. They said they could get me in to look at my tooth today. So, yeah, ok.
The dentist and all his staff were actually very caring and kind. The dentist didn’t scold me, he was very empathetic, and he understood that people get anxious going to dentists. He said my tooth was abscessed and that he couldn’t remove it because then there would be nothing there, which would cause problems because it was a tooth that was heavily used for chewing. So the only real solution was a root canal. Option 1 was that he could arrange for complete anesthesia so I would be totally out and not feel or remember anything. I would, of course, need someone to drive me home afterwards. Option 2 was that I could have a gas. I would be awake and aware but feel no pain, and I could drive myself home. Besides being less expensive, the dentist said he had time to do it today. Although I tend to get nervous about medical procedures of any kind, I thought, “Let’s just get this over with,” and I chose Option 2. It would give me less time to get nervous, EJ wouldn’t have to take a day off to drive me home, and it’s less expensive.
Once I made my choice, they all jumped into action. I really was aware all through it, but I felt absolutely no pain. The dentist told me what to expect all through the procedure with statements like “Now I’m going to use a drill which will make a rather loud noise…Now I will be pushing into your teeth…How are you doing?” and so on. It wasn’t bad at all. Although I must say that I’m a Doctor Who fan, and with all the drilling and everything, I couldn’t help imagining myself being upgraded into a cyberman.
The dentist said I’d have a toothache when the local anesthesia wore off so he told me to take Motrin when I got home. He also gave me a prescription for an antibiotic to knock out the infection. I stopped at the pharmacy on the way home to get it fill.
I still have to get a crown on the tooth, but that’s for later.