February 08, 2006

Dental Advice? Horror Stories? Successes?

Now I know you are no DDS, most of my readers, because you are busy on blogs. If you were all DDSes, you would either be at some dental conference with your temp hygienist-of-the-week behind your wife's back, studying up on the history of sadomasochism, or off drug shopping online due to your out-of-control vicodin habit.

OKAY, now that we don't have any real dentists left on allied, let me ask you real, first-hand root-canal survivors some questions.

I think I need one. The reason I think I need one is that I have this tooth, one of the back-quadrant, right-lower-side molars, that broke about a year ago. big break, old filling, not much tooth left. SO, I go to my so-so dentist and get the wife who has a twitch, and she tries to very nicely (since i was broke) build my tooth back up into some semblance of a tooth with all that bonding stuff they have now adays.

TWO HOURS LATER it was sort of okay. She admitted that she should have just prepped it for a crown. In the end it would have been better than what she came up with. This sort-of tooth.

So the sort-of tooth lasted about six months before it broke again, and more, and more, as I tried to pretend nothing was happening.

About a month ago it started hurting on and off--really bad with hot or cold. I've gotten good at covering it up with my tongue while drinking anything other than room-temperature beverages. This trick, I'm hoping, will come in handy later in life while I'm in the nursing home trying to figure out how to chew peas.

Anyway, I took my sort-of tooth back to my so-so dentist last week and said well, you better x-ray this because I'm thinking I may need a root canal. At this point, I have a buldge on the outside of my lower jaw. It's red, and hot. I'm also ON an antibiotic already for a sinus infection, so whatever was going on was at least under control if there actually was an infection.

So the nice dental assistant took the x-ray. When she came back in with it I said, "Well, what's it look like to you." She hemmed and hawed and said, "I got what I needed witht he x-ray. it's not all that bad." I said, "Oh good--so I'll live through the weekend?" she laughed and said, "Yah--it's not going to kill you or anything."

So I'm thinking okay. A root canal. That's what I thought.

But then Mr. Happy Dentist comes in and looks at my jaw and says he thinks that's just a lymph node, and that it could just be from chewing differently, and that he sees the little gap at the gumline where everything basically has a straight shot past the gum, and that's why it's hurting. He said he likes to avoid root canals, so let's just do a crown.

But look, the tooth hurts. I can't chew on it. Can't get it hot or cold. And my jaw still hurts, though the swelling has gone down as I finish my 10th day of Levaquin for my other ailment.

SO, do I get a second opinion and go for the root canal here? Or do I let him start on the crown? I've never had a crown on a tooth with live roots. Only after a root canal. So I don't know.

My mother always said, Don't ever get a crown on a tooth without a root canal, because if you need one--and you probably will because sometimes the crown process alone disturbs the nerves--then they have to go through the crown to do it.

THOUGHTS? OPINIONS? Advice for pain drugs and facial swellings?

Okay, thank you. You can let the dentists back in the room now.


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