Yesterday afternoon I began to notice tenderness when I closed my mouth. A molar was acting up. Over time I’ve learned these are never self healing.
I hoped there was something caught in my gum or under a piece of earlier dental work. I flossed and probed. Nothing.
It was a dull pain. If I didn’t bite I could deal with it. That let me fall asleep. It’s also what woke me up.
I called my dentist, this morning. I’ve been seeing Dr. Ortman 22 years. This was not my first unscheduled call.
“How quickly can you get here?” he asked. Fifteen minutes later I was in the chair.
In a perfect world our story would end here. It didn’t! This wasn’t a cavity. I was off to the periodontist.
Dr. Evans looked at my x-rays (emailed from the dentist), probed a little and decided maybe an endodontist was who I needed to see. He’s down the hall.
It wasn’t long before I was back in the chair. In the name of science my tooth had already been probed and scraped and chilled twice. One more time!
It was becoming a little more difficult to answer, “Does this hurt?” It hurt constantly.
By this time the gas was flowing and I was slowly approaching a 1968 state of mind. My new found relaxed state allowed him to administer the novacaine (I think it’s actually xylocaine nowadays) and deaden the throb.
Dr. Cha is a high tech guy. I asked if I could use a mirror to watch what he was doing (Yes, I like to watch) and he reached for a remote control to turn on an LCD monitor mounted near the ceiling. I could see what he was seeing in his dental microscope.
The angry tooth was one that had been filled decades ago. Dr. Ortman saw it in his records from my first visit in 1987. Now Dr. Cha was opening a hole in the amalgam to expose the root canals.
This part of dentistry is all hand/eye coordination. He found the roots and began clean them with tiny hand tools. You can see three of them in the photo.
A little more dental housekeeping before he resealed the tooth. I’ll be back next week. In the meantime I’ve been given prescriptions for an antibiotic and pain reliever.
My mouth is still tender, but not when I bite on that molar. I’m on the comeback trail.