It’s a good thing I haven’t named my teeth. Over the years I would have cried for some of them. They have been poked and prodded. Some have survived, some have died, others have gotten a makeover.
As it turns out, my teeth are numbered. I didn’t know that, but when the periodontist sent me to the endodontist, good old number five was getting the work. Number five is on the upper right (from my perspective) side of my mouth.
This all began when a pea sized bubble mysteriously appeared on my gum. I’ve had no pain, but I did have an infection. Within five seconds of seeing the x-ray, Barry the periodontist said root canal was in order. Different specialty – go down the hall to that other office.
My appointment was this morning at 10:00. A few days ago they called to ask me to be there fifteen minutes early to fill out the paperwork.
I am Geoff. However, when it comes to insurance, my drivers license, and my mom when she’s angry, it’s Geoffrey. So, Geoffrey filled out the forms.
I had met Bruce the endodontist before. He had previously renovated another sick tooth. I have no idea what he was doing in my mouth, but I had 100% confidence in him. This is the kind of thing, I suppose, you can sense in someone.
Originally from Korea, where he first became a dentist, he came to the United States and had to train again. He is bright, focused and unbelievably gentle. This is no small feat. Not every dentist is gentle – and it makes a huge difference.
I also like Bruce because he’s a techno guy. He might not admit to that, but it’s true. The last time he worked on me he took pictures of the result with a digital camera. Now his office had a digital x-ray machine with the results displayed on an LCD screen that also hosts the office’s business system.
Up high, where a patient lounging in the chair could see is a flat screen TV. Only in a dentist’s office is the remote control wrapped in clear plastic.
Much of this was wasted on me because the first thing I did was put on the mask and start breathing nitrous oxide. I don’t drink, so I can’t be sure, but this has to be a little bit of what being tipsy is all about.
As soon as the gas took hold, he gave me two injections on the upper gum. I hardly felt them. Certainly, I have never felt any injection less.
The entire root canal took a little over an hour – and that’s it. Two hours of no eating for the filling to set and I’m good to go. Well, not exactly. A root canal is always followed by a crown, so there’s more fun ahead, I suppose.
I drove home, still a little woozy from the gas. A few hours of rest and time for the anesthetic to wear off, and now there’s hardly any discomfort at all.
I am truly amazed.