Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dental Hijinks

Tuesday night I could not sleep. The pain was intense. My jaw was swollen. I never had a toothache but it was obvious this was one.

Called my dental clinic as soon as they opened and went in to find about twenty others ahead of me. After a one hour wait the xrays and visual examination made it clear, this was an infected tooth. He sent me home with a prescription for antibiotics and pain killers. I would return the next day for a root canal.

Some dentists will perform this procedure but most will send you to an endodontist, a specialist in root canal work.

My local dental clinic is large, five dentists, one endodontist and too many hygenists and assistants to count. One partner dentist was a friend and neighbor of mine until he built a mansion.

The lady endo is Chinese and less than five feet tall. She was very nice and explained everything that would happen. The pain was so intense I did not care what I had to go through to get rid of it.

It turns out a tooth (that they had filled about four years ago) had been drilled so close to the root nerve that eventually a gap occurred allowing the infection to eventually happen. She would remove the filling, expose the root and remove all root nerve tissue. After that she filled the root canal with antibiotics, sealed it and placed a temporary cap on top of it.

It took 1 ½ hours in the chair with my jaw spread wide as possible with a spreading device. They covered my mouth with stretched latex isolating the tooth. I do not know what was worse, the tooth pain or the jaw pain afterwards. The jaw is still swollen.

In three weeks I go back and she will do the same thing all over again but instead of antibiotics she will plug the root canal with a permanent filling. They will then make an impression of my lower jaw so a crown can be made.

Three months and $1500 later the jaw will be back to normal. That cost is after my insurance picked up 45%. After experiencing the procedure it’s hard to argue with the cost.

One benefit of this ordeal is I have not been able to eat for over three days and woke up today with a sour gut again. It is somewhat painful to chew but my belly wants nothing to do with food but I managed to eat two pieces of toast yesterday afternoon. I can’t even look at food. I think this is caused by the antibiotics and pain killers. This morning I will call when the office opens to find out if this is normal, they said nothing about it when I departed.

The downside is missing an annual wild game dinner held this afternoon in Whiting. My contribution was to be a pheasant, andouille sausage (which I made myself) and shrimp gumbo. I will miss the dinner but more than that I will miss the characters who show up each year for what is a great hunter’s party at a cool old private club/bar.



Carl from Chicago said...

Gerry sorry about your tooth! But glad you got it out.

Gerry from Valpo said...

Thanks. The tooth was saved. Can't believe how the pain slammed me for so long.

Dan from Madison said...

man, bummer on missing that dinner, it is legendary