Root Canal Review

Oddly, I started this post in spring of 2008 and it has sat in my drafts folder for a year, but now I feel compelled to complete it. Don’t want to read about teeth? There are two awesome comments under the gentrification post.

Spring 2008 Part

A root canal procedure is not how I’d recommend spending half a day, however, it turns out that it is much less painful than the condition it treats. I went to the dentist 2-3 weeks ago with a cavity, but the filling didn’t fix the pain. After another attempt at desenitization, we finally gave up and did the procedure yesterday. I’d been chewing on the right side of my mouth for weeks. So I’d have to say that in the end I’d recommend it. The procedure has an undeservedly bad reputation. However, there are a couple slightly disturbing parts (stop reading here if you’re squeamish):

1. The point of a root canal is to remove the pulp from your tooth if that pulp becomes infected. When the dentist get to the pulp he used the word “gangrene” as there was no blood. There’s supposed to be blood. At least I know why it hurt.

2. I had no idea how far into my jaw my roots went. The feeling of some small dental instrument rooting around in my jaw was bizarre to say the least.

Spring 2009 Part

So everything was awesome until I got home from my various travels in March. On the way home from work I noticed a crack down the middle of the tooth. I looked at it and it looked disturbing. Carrie looked at it and it looked disturbing. I went to the dentist who didn’t even need to do much of anything to pull half my molar out of my mouth. That looked really disturbing. It turns out that about a year after a root canal, you’re supposed to get a crown. And they’re a little fragile so it’s good to avoid things like almonds and crusty French bread (items I had consumed in the day leading up to the broken tooth) until you have the crown. Oops.

So now it’s unclear what will happen. As it’s my last molar, no bridge is possible. And a visit to the oral surgeon today indicates that there is no way to reconstruct the tooth or give it some kind of elaborate crown. They are suggesting extraction, an implant and crown. I know the extraction will hurt the most. Now I must wait and see what my insurance says. . . .

The Moral of the Story: When you have a root canal done, it’s not really over till there’s a crown on top. Turns out the same thing happened to my mom, and she was similarly unaware. So consider yourself warned.