Root Canals are Painless . . .

. . . right? At least, that's what a far too cheerful dentistry website told me when I Googled "Are root canals painful?" the other day. Why was I searching such a topic? Because I thought I might need a root canal.

This has not been a fun week. I was excited to return to work after spring break, only to have one of my teeth start throbbing with pain at regular intervals. This particular tooth was the first in a round of cavities I had fixed starting in January, and it was the worst of the lot. A pretty deep cavity, my dentist warned that, although he thought he had fixed the tooth up, it might need a root canal. Ugh.

Like I mentioned, however, that was in January. It is now April. Why should it suddenly start to hurt now? I didn't know, and frankly I did not care. This week I have had difficulty sleeping due to the pain, and of course have found it tough to concentrate at work or to exercise, do yoga, eat, or do much of anything. It has utterly sucked. As I lay awake in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, the toothache stubbornly refusing to be soothed by any amount of Ibuprofen or Tylenol P.M., I decided that enough was enough. I needed a dentist, or I would be gouging the offending tooth out with an ice skate pick (anyone seen Castaway? jeepers, that scene made me cringe).

Unfortunately, the dentist was booked up until this morning. I begrudgingly took a day off of work (which is so frustrating to do mere days after a vacation!) and headed back to the chair. I fully expected him to take a few x-rays and pencil me in for a root canal. Thankfully, that did not happen. At first the dentist thought that there might be some build-up around the filling that was putting pressure on things, and that some newly-fixed cavities' fillings might also be doing the same. Upon a closer examination, however, he discovered that my tooth had a crack in it. This crack led to a second cavity in the same tooth.

The dentist patched the crack, smeared the inside of my tooth with medication, and fixed the cavity. When I went in the the dentist this morning, that tooth was about 1/4 filling. Now it half of it is filled, and there is still the looming possibility of a root canal. Ugh. What's more, if I do need a root canal, he's going to send me to an endodontist to have the procedure done. Double ugh.

Right now I'm relieved that I didn't have to get a root canal today. However, I am also still in quite a bit of pain due to the fact that my already hurting tooth was drilled on, and that my gums received some of the drill's oh-so-loving ministrations as well. The medication that the dentist applied to the interior of my tooth is supposed to irritate the root, spurring it to grow more protective layering, so that can't be helping as well. In a little while I'll take some more Tylenol P.M. and hope that it works this time. And if I do have to have a root canal in the end . . . well, I'll just keep telling myself that root canals are painless.

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