pain-a-thooth-a-thon day 178: endodontics (if you want to get a secret out of someone, torture them with tooth pain)

Um, yeah. I was like a 97.

Two days ago I woke up with a toothache. I took some Advil and waited. It persisted. I took some Aleve and I waited. Then I called my dentist, but he couldn’t see me until yesterday at 3:45. I have had a bad back since I was in my early 20’s, I have had multiple surgeries for infertility. I have had two babies. But this pain, this pain was an Olympic Gold medal winner.

So, I go see Mark, my dentist of 20 years, who says he thinks I may have cracked the root of a molar which has a very old cap and root canal. The solution: you pull the tooth. And while that news freaked me out, I was sort of like, “Well, can you pull it now, this minute?” That’s how much pain I was in. But Mark’s not sure, not 100% positive. So, he calls an edodontics guy and asks if he might be able to see me. It’s 4:30. Yes, he will slip me in. I head for Wellesley during rush hour with my tooth throbbing, willing to have all my teeth pulled if it will abolish the pain.

The receptionist is exceptionally nice and calls me Miss Toni. The dental assistant is also sweet. And the endodontist is calm and patient and immediately tells me that I have an infection in the bottom of the root of my tooth, because the root canal wasn’t done properly and bacteria has collected. At 5:15, it’s decided I will have to have another root canal. I feel terrible that everybody will have to stay late because of me, and I start thanking them profusely, while I cry. Yes, it was pain so severe that I was actually HAPPY to have a root canal. The minute the novocaine goes in, I’m free and the pain is a distant memory. It takes an hour and 15 minutes of having my mouth open, while my body is so stiff, I could have been mistaken for a corpse. Dr. Miller is happy because he is actually able to reach the very bottom of the root, which he wasn’t sure he would be able to accomplish. This is good news. The bad news is that the pain is not going to go away for at least two more days. He will give me pain medication, in addition to an antibiotic for the infection.

I hate drugs. They usually make me nauseas, but in this case, I am thinking I need to at least have them on hand. I go home and eat some soup, because I can’t chew. I take my Advil dose and my antibiotic. I’m sore, but ok. And then, like a flash flood, it hits. The pain is back. I take one of the Hydrocodone. It lessens within 10 minutes to a bearable level. I go to bed woozy and watch tv with Ally. But the pain is getting worse again, so I take another Hydrocodone. I fall asleep. I wake up at 3:30 with the most searing pain, I am sobbing and writhing like I have had a limb amputated. I take two more Hydrocodone and three Advil. I finally fall asleep.

And here I am, having already ingested my Advil and antibiotic. Getting ready for next round of pain meds, and hoping against hope that I wont’ need them, but at least I have them and they work. Good God, I am grateful for Dr. Les Miller of Wellesley and his very nice team, and office with exceptionally nice floors (they were a light wood I’d never seen before and while the pain was brutal, these things don’t get by me). Gratitude doesn’t even begin to touch it (and speaking of touching it, even my tongue couldn’t touch this tooth without intense pain). Anyway, my deepest thanks to the good Doctor. And oh yeah, a shout out to Hydrocodone, too.

2 thoughts on “pain-a-thooth-a-thon day 178: endodontics (if you want to get a secret out of someone, torture them with tooth pain)

  1. Toni — you kill me (but in a non-painful way) — you poor thing. I’m with you re: dentists and pain — even having my teeth cleaned makes my hands sweaty with fear!

    And regarding all the pain meds you are taking – be prepared for the um, side effect that they might not have mentioned — constipation. Just sayin. Had to deal with that with the broken ankle — start taking your fiber pills now

  2. A tooth throb ain’t nothing like a heart throb, that’s for sure :(.
    Get well Toni, it does get better! Try to enjoy TV and the movies as painfree as possible 🙂
    M xo
    (Hysterical not missing the floor detail – I totally got your number!)

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