Tuesday, October 27, 2009


The vacation recap has been interrupted by a toothache.

Wednesday I noticed that my teeth were super sensitive to hot and cold, but just went about my business. However, later that night I was reading Her Fearful Symmetry and one of the characters had a toothache and I realized that my teeth kind of hurt. Do I have a toothache? It doesn't feel like just one tooth. For an hour, I had questions running around in my head and a dull ache in my teeth and I couldn't go to sleep. Finally I got up and took some Tylenol and went back to bed.

When I woke up the dull ache was still there, but never having had a toothache before I still wasn't sure this was a toothache. Again, I went about my day but after running errands all day I decided I better call the dentist. Unfortunately, I called the dentist right after they closed for the day and they are not in on Fridays. (Nice schedule. Kids go into dentistry!) I decided I could tough it out for the weekend.

After consulting with my personal pharmaceutical rep, I learned that Tylenol doesn't do crap all for pain and I needed Advil. So Friday morning I was off to Target. The toothache had ramped up over night from a dull ache to Hell-O you have a bonfide toothache ache. In the middle of Target I was ripping open the Advil and taking taking a dose right in the aisle. Yeah, you know where this is going.

Saturday AM - like 3:30am - I am in some kind of seven circle of hell. The Advil dosage goes up, but doesn't last 8 hours. Agony.

Sunday AM - like 5:30am - I have sunk to a deeper level of hell. The Advil dosage goes up again and I spend the entire day with ice on my face. The pain has drained any ounce of energy from my body and I sleep on and off on the couch all day long. During the day I did manage to leave a message for the dentist begging them to call me and get me in on Monday. I am at the end of my rope.

Monday morning 7:15am the dentist calls and asks if I can come in at 10:30am. Uh, yes, I will be there.

I was there at 10:10am. No traffic, weird, but I am thankful. Toothaches cause road rage.

11am - It is confirmed I need a root canal. It is in a tricky molar that may have a fourth canal. I need a specialist. They call the endodontist for me and I am scheduled for 12:30pm

12:15pm I arrive at the endodontist.

First it's the cold & hot test to find the culprit tooth. Ahhh, yeah that's the one! Number 14 on the upper left side. They then drill me open, find the elusive fourth canal, root out the roots, fill them in with what looks like pink pencil erasers, and fill in the hole. Voila! I am done. My first root canal.

Okay it wasn't really that easy breezy but mostly because I really had to pee the entire time. When I say I had to pee I mean in that urgent all you can think about is you have to pee and don't make me laugh kind of way, not that you would have a chance of laughing while small medieval dental instruments are poking around in your wide open, to the point of unhinged, mouth. They take a lot of x-rays during the process so I was able to finally go to the bathroom while they were processing the x-ray. In the bathroom I got to check out the umbrella apparatus they had sticking out of my mouth. In addition to the umbrella sticking out of my mouth I was drooling all over myself. Lovely.

The relief was immediate. The toothache was gone. I could have hugged the endodontist.

Some observations: Dentists smell soap and water good. They smell laundry fresh good. They are like the cleanest smelling people on earth. I have never had a smelly dentist and I sure hope know one else has. In all my years, I now realize, my dentists have all smelled fresh and clean. Maybe all doctors smell this way but since dentists are up in your face you notice it. Or maybe because they are up in your face they do something extra that makes them just out of the shower fresh.

Now my other observation or question is, why do they call it a toothache? It's really a teethache. I could not have told you specifically which tooth hurt. In fact, I had what is called referred pain and it was another tooth that was reacting to hot and cold and not the actual tooth that was the cause. By the time I got to the dentist all my teeth hurt on the upper left as well as my jaw and some of my facial bones. This is the kind of pain I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. It was terrible.

When I got home yesterday, I was exhausted and again just dozed on the couch. Finally I just went to bed early. This morning I am happy to report there is no more toothache. There is some tenderness and I have to chew on the other side of my mouth for a week or so, but other than that I feel 90% better. Pain is exhausting. It makes me grateful for my good health and the willingness to try and maintain my health.

Now it's time to get ready for Halloween, the most wonderful time of the year!

1 comment:

Bruce Bills said...

Toothache… it can really drain the energy out of anyone. Starting from just a dull pain, it just slowly rages on until it makes you run fast to the nearest dentist. Glad that you got a root canal at that instant.

Guess it's better to call it toothache than odontalgia. The latter just sounds scary.