The Root Canal Chronicles

Medieval dentist removing tooth

Image via Wikipedia

It’s becoming a Dickensian serial novel with today’s installment to detail, among other things, the fact that my back molar is freakishly designed with “extra” nerve roots. Or whatever the dental terms for the root canals are.

The appointment was at nine, and so confident was I of getting in and out in the allotted hour and a half that I had a list of errands I planned to run before heading back home to meet up with a yoga friend I’m working with this fall.

But it was for naught.

Three hours I sat, or rather reclined, in the dentist’s chair with my mouth open most of the time to prevent the sharp pokey thing (another technical dental term) from stabbing my exposed tooth innards (today’s episode will swim in medical labels, so bear with me).

On a positive note, I am no longer a walking pus factory. The infection, between draining and a short eternity on antibiotics, is “cured”. Which is  no small thing, as I can recall only a handful of times in my entire life that I have felt that ill.

On the other hand, I have concrete proof that I am some sort of mutant. Well, okay, more proof.

I knew that I had just three wisdom teeth. Humanity is slowly giving rise to beings who lack all the quaint reminders of our early evolution – like wisdom teeth and the appendix. Eventually, in theory, humans will stop being born with these useless things at all.

In her excavations, the dentist discovered that my molar has four root canals instead of the normal three and that the fourth one is in the wrong place.

My friend was surprised to find me upright, having lunch (no great feat as it was soup) and eager to visit. The impression I get of root canals from others leads me to wonder why the Bush administration didn’t employ their widespread use at Gitmo.

While it was uncomfortable, and there were ouchy moments (forgive me for getting technical again), I haven’t been incapacitated with pain and really wasn’t dreading today’s appointment.

The key to good root canal is a dentist who isn’t stingy with Novocaine but is also not ham-fisted in the application. When ears and eyeballs go numb, the dentist clearly graduated in the bottom half of his/her class. Since that is not the norm, but certainly worth scouring a person’s portion of the earth for in my opinion, I have to wonder what happens to those who graduate dental college with honors. Alien abduction?

Unless lamenting the time suck and the fact that my only distraction was television count as horrors for anyone else, I have fared quite well.

No one should really be forced to watch The View.

But, barring anything unforeseen – and isn’t everything really? – I won’t have to go back until the beginning of October when the only awful thing that awaits is fitting for a crown.

So, it was not the best or the worst of times comparatively speaking though I hope to live a long time without revisiting anything of its like again.

3 responses to “The Root Canal Chronicles

  1. Glad to hear the dentist finally got to the “root” of the problem. I only had three wisdom teeth. I didn’t have mine out as a teen-ager – big no no because they caused problems later. May your healing continue ~

  2. I had my first root canal last year, and while it was quite an unpleasant experience, overall it was less painful than the toothache that sent me to the dentist in the first place. Good luck with your crown, and if you’ve got a temporary, don’t worry too much about damaging it – I spent three weeks in terror of mine breaking or falling out, and then when I went to get the permanent one done, it turned out to be cemented on so firmly that the dentist had to drill it off.

    Also, I am one of those people with no wisdom teeth at all. Every time I go to a new dentist, they look at my X-rays and say “Oh good, you’ve had your wisdom teeth out,” and I say, “Nope, never had them in the first place.” My daughter’s dentist thinks she hasn’t got any either – we can hope!

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