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There Will Be Blood

Spoiler Alert: This post is gross.  Skip it if you're squeamish...

Back in April, I got the worst news ever: I needed a root canal.


I just finished the 3 STEP process today.  It's June.

You know how root canals have this reputation of being a horrible experience?  Well, if you read anything about them recently, everyone says that's a myth.  They say with today's advanced techniques it's really not so bad.  Some might even say it's a breeze!

They lie.

Let me tell you the truth about my toxic tooth...

It all started because a filling cracked off when I was eating guacamole.  How that happened, I'll never know.  Anyway, we're talking about the molar waaaaay in the back of my mouth on the left side (the middle tooth in this pic).

Meet my rotten/robot tooth.

That stubby tooth next door is my deeply impacted wisdom tooth.  See, I have giant horse teeth and a tiny jaw.  I also am lacking the standard amount of choppers a grown adult should have (32) because a bunch of them were yanked out when I was a kid to prevent crowding.

Then I wore braces for 4.5 years.

The net-net is I have a nice smile, 26 visible teeth, and a massive phobia of dentists.  So wisdom and his 3 buddies are staying put.


Anyway, it turns out when you lose a filling in that hard to reach spot, it's not great.  I say this because in all likelihood, the filling cracked a while ago but I didn't know.  And bacteria wormed its way around and killed my tooth from the inside.

Didn't even hurt.  So it wasn't until my guacamole was suddenly extra crunchy that I knew I had a problem.

It was like eating a driveway.

My sweet hometown dentist said, "uh oh," when he looked at the black spot my xray (see above).  Never a good sign.  Once he said the words "root canal" I basically zoned out of the rest of the words coming out of his mouth.

Blah, blah, blabedy, blah blah.

He referred me to an endodontist.  Apparently, that's a guy who does root canals, all day, every day.  And I'll be honest, I didn't look up much about this procedure.  Mainly because there was no sense in freaking myself out about the inevitable.

I'd rather just not know anything and let sheer horror wash over me in the moment.

Really test my fight or flight instincts.

So I'm in the chair for appointment #1 and I'm sitting next to a giant tray of truly medieval shit.  I don't even know what I'm looking at, but I know it's scary AF.

Doc comes in and makes a knock knock joke.  And I instantly know I'm in for a long day.

I brace myself for the actual root canal (which I naively believe is the worst part),  And it was no picnic.  After all, he's about to drill and scoop and stuff my roots with God knows what.  But first, he shows me this giant piece of rubber with 2 bars to keep my jaw open and a clamp to hook on my tooth.

Now, it's a party.

In all, 7 disturbing things were said:
1. Just so you know, your co-pay will be $550.
2. I call this tool Mr. Bumpy!
3. Has anyone ever told you that you have a very high threshold for pain?
4. Would you like to see your nerve?
5. Your roots are REALLY long.
6. Boy, that was kind of hard.
7. You have very beautiful eyes.

That last one made me throw up a little in my mouth.

After 2 hours in the coal mines, he patched me up and sent me on my way.  Before I left, he told me I need to see my regular dentist next for a crown, which is essentially a fancy slipcover for my weak, sad tooth (my words, not his).

He says the filling he used is temporary, but it should last several weeks.  Maybe a month!

Here's what actually happened:


Also, I received no antibiotics or pain meds, as stated on this form.  Granted, I had no infections or pain.  But still...

On appointment #2, it was time to get measured for my temporary crown.  In my mind, the worst was behind me.  This would be easy peasy!  Like going to the tailor to hem a skirt.

I was super effing wrong.

Here I am, back in my hometown that I love. I took the day off, thinking I might go shopping afterwards.  I flick on the TV and kick back for my "fitting."

Oh, and I also ignored it when they told me this appointment would take an hour and a half.

They must be wrong, I thought... and they were!  It actually took TWO and a half.

This time, 5 disturbing things were said:
1. Good news -- you don't need any novocaine today!
2. Your tooth has no nerve so you won't feel anything when I remove some of the root canal filling and screw in a post.
3. Your gums have grown over a bit, they will need to be shaved down.
4. It's perfectly normal to bleed.  Do not be alarmed.
5. That will be $408.80.

I'm not sure how to explain what happened here.  I think I joined Fight Club.

Except I'm not allowed to talk about Fight Club.  So let's just say it was like Game of Thrones combined with Gladiator combined with all the gory bloodfests ever made in the history of cinema.

Kinda like that. 

Turns out "shaving" my gums meant cutting around all the edges of my tooth like a mom trims the crust off a PB&J sandwich.  

So it hurts. And it bleeds more than you can imagine.

Good thing he did the post and re-building of my tooth first, because after the cutting I rinsed at least a dozen times and it was still bright red.  Like the shower scene from Psycho (if it was actual blood and not chocolate syrup).

I think I even made my dentist nervous.  So he put a solution on my gums to try and stop the bleeding.  

It tasted like pure evil.

Eventually the flow slowed, but it was still fresh on the purple oozy mold he took of my mouth.  And also on the temporary crown he put on my tooth (while dental elves were busy making the real one off my bloody mold).  

Afterwards, my gums felt like raw chopmeat.  I left completely sick to my stomach.  Needless to say, I did not spend the afternoon shopping.

Fast forward to today, appointment #3.  My temporary crown was still firmly in place when I sat down in the chair.

There was NO WAY they were going to pry it loose.  I assumed there would be another solution.

I was wrong.  Again.

On this final visit, 2 disturbing things were said:
1. Let me do it, you're too weak. (said the hygienist to the dentist as she muscled my temp off -- they're married, btw)
2. Let's watch Valerie Bertinelli make a salad.

To be fair, we had Food Network on while we were waiting for the permanent bonding agent to set so my new crown wouldn't fall off.  Or down.  Whatever.  Still, I'll never look at old Val the same again.

So FINALLY, it's over.  Aaaannnd I have a robot tooth.

For anyone who's still reading this (and keeping score), that's:
- 2 days off work
- 5 HOURS and 15 minutes in the dentist's chair
- 6 shots of novocaine (maybe more, I lost track)
- 2 crowns -- one acrylic, one porcelain, zero fit for a queen
- And $958.80 out of pocket -- and I have insurance!

There you have it.  My cautionary tale on why you never, ever, ever, EVER want a root canal.

Now, be safe out there -- make good choices!

tags: gross, health, rants


Jessica said...

OMG! How is this horrifying & hilarious? It is cute that you watch Food Network with your dentist mine only plays News12 NJ. 😬

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R.C. said...

what a nightmare!!!!!!!

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