An emergency trip to the dentist

There are some things that are not certain in life. Perfect dental record is one of those. I had a pretty sound dental record until after my not so distant medical problems. It is not always fun to admit that some things will come to an end. I actually knew that this day was coming. I just did not want to admit it. Of course, this was something else.

I went to the dentist a couple of years ago. I was told then that I needed a crown on a tooth on the top left side of my mouth. I was floored. I had never had a single cavity in my life. Ever. The most dental work I had had done to that point was four wisdom teeth extractions because they had become impacted and were all unruly. The roots were tapping on my sinus cavities and my nerves on top of the fact that they were not coming in straight. They had to be removed. I was 24 years old at this point. I had birthed two children by the time the last two wisdom teeth were extracted. I was pregnant with the second child, Kyle, when the first two were removed.

I thought this was pretty good. I made it past my 34th birthday and still no cavities. I was doing awesome, right? Sure. Then I had my hysterectomy and then the downward spiral of health problems after that. Needless to say that there are certain things that will leave their mark behind for years to come. Some things we might not even seen for years to come. We don’t know know how long it had been showing its wear in my mouth. Probably for several years, it had just not affected my teeth as of that point.

Fast forward to the past week few weeks. I ended up with a nasty sinus infection. This was not unusual for this time of year. It is Spring and this usually means back to back sinus infections for me. Nothing unusual, except this time it would not clear up. The antibiotics would knock it down for about three days and it then it would get worse again. The pain in my face, however, would not get any better this time. That was probably the most alarming. The pain in my face never improved. Normally it takes about five days to clear up after a bad sinus infection like this, but this time it did not. It was relentless. It just would not stop.

Finally after about a month and two rounds of antibiotics, the infection in my sinuses had cleared up enough for me to tune in on the source of the pain. See, I had been here before. It was not entirely my sinuses. When you get my sinuses so inflamed, they do cause problems other places and so I have ot be careful. Hence, the pain. My entire mouth hurt. My ears hurt. My head hurt. I was pretty miserable. My neck hurt. I was down right miserable and in a lot of pain.

However, once the infection in my sinuses cleared up enough, the pain started to isolate along certain nerves. For that I was grateful and not so grateful at the same time. I had already been to the doctor, my sinuses were clearing up. My ears were full of fluid but not infected. I was still in a lot of pain, however. My face hurt too much to touch. I could not take it anymore.

Finally I ended up just picking up the phone and calling the dentist. I got an appointment 5 minutes later. Yes, I could be there in 7 minutes, but we won’t discuss the finer details of that. The fact is that when I called the dentist, I was on my last leg. I was out of “pain tolerance.” I had been reduced to tears with the pain on multiple occasions in the past 24 hours. I was popping ibuprophen for the pain even though that has consequences for me. I did not care that I was suffering from constant bladder spasms, I was taking 600mg of ibuprophen to take the edge of the pain. I was rotating with 1000mg of acetimetophen every 2 hours. That was just to take the edge off. So when I called the dentist office and I heard on the other end of the phone, “can you be here in 5 minutes?” it was all I needed to hear. It was my emergency release from what I had been suffering the past few days. I did not care that it would take me more than 5 minutes to get there nor that it would take me a couple of minutes to get my clothes on and get out the door. I just said, “yes” and swung into full motion to get out the door that morning.

Of course it was there in that dentist chair that I was reminded of that fateful day a couple of years ago when I was told in that same dentist office, via a second consultation, that I would need a crown on a tooth in the upper right side of my mouth. I still had not done it. He reminded me. I had my reasons. I still had my reasons. It did not matter at that point. I was not there for that tooth, that morning. I was there for the tooth on the other side of the mouth. The tooth would have to wait some longer.

Upon initial examination, they did not find anything wrong with the tooth. The x-rays unfortunately did show the cavities in the tooth that we already knew about the crown on. No surprise there. However, that does not make the pain go away in my head in the area I had pain. He agreed it could be sinus congestion causing the pressure. He got in there with his little camera and the cold air to keep the lens from fogging up so that he could manually/visually look for the problem. That cold air hit that tooth and I was in instant tears. Wow! Amazing! There we found the problem. Now he did not “see” anything out the ordinary. He was pushing on things and it was sensitive, but nothing unusual. He said that there was probably a “hairline fracture” in the tooth and it was probably popped open wit the sinus pressure I had experienced and still experiencing.

Great! Due to the fact that he could not see the severity of the crack, he sent me to an endodontist, Dr. LeChimanant, that specializes in these things. I ended up seeing him the next day. Sure enough there is a crack that ran in my tooth from about the gum line up and over the top of the tooth. The rough spot I had been feeling with my tongue for a couple of months that I thought was tarter build up, was the base of the crack. I was scheduled for an emergency root canal for the following Monday (first available) and put on the “cancellation” list. Funny thing is, they called me with a cancellation before I made it home from their office.

I ended up having my emergency root canal the next day. I was surprised at how well I felt afterward. I went home and ate dinner afterward. Chicken and dumplings. I was so numb from all the anesthetics they had to give me to get me numb and keep me numb, however, that I could not feel anything so I could have probably eaten a steak and not felt a thing. I can honestly say that I was mostly pain free after the root canal. Just some tenderness. The problem was the tenderness ended up turning into some major gum tenderness and irritation. Evidently my gums do not like dental work at all. It could have been a reaction to something in the fillers they used in the root canal process. It could have been something else. The inflammation just kept going.

The kids thought it was pretty funny that mommy could not move one entire side of her face for a while. I really could not. I was so numb that I could not even close my mouth. I think I could blink, but I was tearing a lot out of the eye on that side of my face. Getting me numb is not the problem, it is the fact that I am not numb for very long so you have to do it again very quickly after the first time that I am so doped up on anesthetics that my body does weird things. If it does not make me sick, it is amazing. This time I handled the not getting sick (as in projectile vomiting) just fine, but my face muscles were pretty paralyzed for hours.

Fortunately, it does not last forever. I am pleased to announce that a week after I called the doctor that I can not only smile with both sides of my face but I am also not sad that I did that emergency root canal. I do not miss the pain in my face. I felt better almost immediately. Once he shut the pain contributor off in my face, I started to feel better. I did suffer from a migraine for 3 days afterward, but once I got past the hump of the migraine (probably from the anesthetics and all the pain killers I had been taking beforehand), I was fine.

Now the goal is to get the crown on both teeth. The one that had the root canal and then the other one that has been waiting for two years already. They want me to wait on the root canal tooth until the inflammation in the gums goes down a bit. We will see. I am just glad that I had it done. My face should stop hurting so badly now.

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