I have continued my little foray into the field of dental work. Today turned out to be another adventure in the ongoing saga of the tooth.
After arriving at Dr. Spitzer’s office and going through the “hello”, “we miss Amanda”, and “we want Amanda to work here next year” I was shown to my lovely seat. For all intents and purposes being led to a reclining chair in any situation is a good experience. I laid there for a little while, watched the flowers and birds outsides, and pondered the giant homemade wire spider’s web on the wall (complete with spider and fly soldered onto it).
The Dr. arrived and after all the usual pleasantries quickly administered the Novocain. Here began the fun. Upon inserting the needle the highly trained dentist went straight for the nerve and hit he did! He kind remarked, very observantly, after I came back in contact with my seat was, “hmmm, looks like we hit the nerve.” It seemed that the two front bottom teeth on my left had exploded. As usual it took several shots to fully deaden the bottom half of my jaw. That was of course after I was able to relax and open my mouth to allow him to administer more numbing juice.
Inward our expedition took us as we removed the temporary filling from the last trip into my mouth. Then the little cotton balls with a strange smell of antiseptic and a week of rotten saliva and dead tooth. He then took to filing and working the chambers large enough to do a proper and thorough filling.
Meanwhile the Dr. spoke with the assistant about the latest adventures of her love life. Amy is currently seeing a man who is completely jealous that Amy’s ex-husband lives four doors down from her current location. Apparently he things she is going to go running back to him. Sounds like she could sneak through the back alley if it was really her intent. Somehow I don’t have much interest in another person’s love life while the insides of a tooth are being filed away. Perhaps it is the wrenching open of the mouth in order to fit the pudgy fist of the dentist in there to begin with.
Finally when I thought the muscles of my jaw were to lock instantly, he finished up. Part of the problem was they had to take the stoppers off the files since my roots are so long. Even then he complained they were not getting far enough down. He borrowed some drilling tool on one sort or another from the other dentist in the office and went to excavating the roots with a drill.
Of course, we should have known it would happen. The little drill, I think he called it a perha or some variation of the name, became so beleaguered it decided to give up and snap. We then spent 20 minutes trying to remove the drill piece stuck down inside the root.
Finally it came time to put the little rubber stop in the bottom of the root with some spring type of drill. He thought it went in just fine and went to work filling everything in. Then if the appointment hadn’t gone well over time yet the Dr. started to complain to Amy to “thin it out”. It was a stern and irritated voice with which he spoke. Finally after another few moments the dentist said that we had screwed it up and would have to try over. Apparently the filling was too thick and he was not convinced the completely filled the roots.
He very generously let me sit there for a few minutes so my jaw could relax while the cement hardened and he could go take care of some other patients. He then returned and went into the process of removing all the filling he had just placed inside the tooth. My cheek muscles were on fire and I was gripping the arm rests not from any form of pain but the struggle from involuntarily locking my mouth shut for the next four hours.
After it was all cleared out again, he watched Amy prepare the filling again. By this point some of the feeling is starting to reappear in my mouth. Last appointment I had near full feeling back at just 3 hours after the appointment. Two hours were now up and I could feel some sensitivity in the cheek from being wedged open and my lip from being so stretched.
The Dr. was kind enough to inform me that after the appointment he would take Amy to the back room and would discipline her for her terrible behavior and my suffering. Apparently he was going to take a cattle prod and shock her a few times. He commented that women expect that kind of treatment by men when they need discipline. I was not aware of that perhaps….
It could not have come to soon. He had finished filling the roots and we were basically done. He informed me we would have to take an x-ray to verify we had completely filled the roots. I warned him of impending danger if they were not full and needed to be redone. He laughed a laugh which showed no fear and left the room. The x-ray turned out to give full evidence saving the life of all in the office. The x-ray was developed improperly though and would go dark in about 20 minutes necessitating another x-ray. We took another x-ray, which I reasoned I could withstand, and it was completed.
The time arrived to make a follow up appointment. Next Wednesday, again at 8 AM, I start the next phase of treatment; the grinding of the tooth, impressions, and the temporary crown. Boy, am I excited!
Yesterday I had my first root canal. It was not any worse than any other dental activity I have experienced before. If anything, I thought it went better than some of my previous dental encounters. After he shot me up with the Lidocain he came back and asked me if I was numb. I told him it was like usual. He asked some more questions and decided I needed another shot. He gave it to me and I don’t think I remember ever having it so numb.
I remember having teeth worked on when I was a kid or teenager and I swear they did not put any of the Lidocain in. This was a cake walk compared to some of the dental experiences I remembered when I was younger. As we approached the end of my appointment I felt feeling coming back into the lips and jaw again. He told me it wasn’t possible and continued working. By the time he finished I felt the ache in my jaw from being wrenched open and I could feel the cold air on what are typically sensitive teeth. I have never had dental work where they did not give me the laughing gas. I think I prefer not having it, although there is certainly an experience in having your motor skills slowed considerably!
My 1.5 hour appointment also included some hiccoughs. One of which is that a drill or some other tool broke off inside one of the chambers. It took him a few minutes trying to get it out of the tooth. If I was not a freak enough before with 25 mm (normal is about 15 mm) I found out my tooth has 4 completely separate chambers. It is not really that rare, but is not the norm. The news from the dentist is, “You are long in the tooth” which I guess could be taken as a compliment or slam.
He filed the inside of the chambers and tooth out, packed it with cotton, and sealed it with a temporary filling. It doesn’t feel like it did before but I can still feel my heart beat with the tooth. I assumed a temporary filling was as useful as a normal filling but I can tell on eating foods the tooth does not like much pressure when chewing. That finished part one of the ongoing saga of a root canal.
The good news with the whole cost, I had been in my job long enough last month that the offer for insurance was given. Amanda and I already have our health insurance but I grabbed hold of the dental insurance. Meaning, I instantly had 50% of the root canal paid.