Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I hate my dentist...not really!

In my continuing quest to be the person with the absolute worst luck in history, I spent the day having an emergency root canal. This is after being informed by my medical doctor a couple of months ago that I had elevated levels of mercury and tin in my system due to the breakdown of old "silver" amalgam fillings in my mouth. Her recommendation? Have them all removed. Every one of them. "No metal!" was her mantra. Since the mercury was causing numerous health problems, this has become a crucial issue. Of course, it requires me to have several thousand dollars worth of work done to replace the fillings (which are not silver, but instead consist of mercury bonded with tin. Did you know that? I sure didn't. Mercury is a bio hazard and must be properly disposed of in specialized waste sites rated for accepting such hazards--but they can put it in your mouth and your children's mouth and call it "silver." Imagine that.).

Okay, no problem. Except this is the work of several months, and since silver fillings tend to expand and crack after some years, many of my fillings have to be replaced with crowns. Very expensive and laborious process. So far, I've had five done, and I have several fillings still to go.

Did I mention I'm a dental phobic? No, I'm not kidding. My hands shake so bad, I have to sit on them during the shots, let alone the dental procedure. So anyway, I've had several crowns put in so far, and one wasn't sitting too well--I was having pain on the right when I chewed. So, I started chewing on the left until I could get back to the dentist (in my day job, things are hopping right now, and I absolutely did not have time to go to the dentist. Granted, I never have time to go to the dentist--I can always find something else to do--which is how I got myself into this situation in the first place--but I digress...).

Where was I? Right, chewing on the left. Unfortunately, my temporary crowns (yes, that's plural) dislodged on the left side, so as a result, I wasn't able to eat on EITHER side at all yesterday. The good news is, I've lost two pounds in two days.

So, a very hungry me took myself to the dentist again this morning, and she informed me that apparently the tooth with the permanent crown had cracked all the way down to the root at some point, and she needed to do a root canal THROUGH the permanent crown. I didn't know they could do that, either. So, the chick who has no time for dentists spent the last four hours at the dentist's office getting the root canal from Hell. I have three roots on that tooth, and one of them was cagey about being numbed. Wasn't going down without a fight. After a half-dozen shots and lots of prodding (with me vigorously nodding when the dentist asked "Does that STILL hurt?"), they brought in the senior dentist and he shot me up a few more times. No effect. After a last-minute creative maneuver involving a cotton pad soaked with anaesthetic placed on the biting surface, they numbed that baby up and got on with the job, then patched up my temporary crowns on the other side, too. My dentist, I want to tell you, is a very nice and skilled woman, but my teeth are just in that kind of shape.

Wahh. Everything hurts. Well, the parts that aren't dead numb and immobilized, that is. And now I'm trying to grade 50 essays for my students while hopped up on Tylenol with Codeine (weee).

Why am I telling you this? Well, primarily because I haven't blogged in two weeks and it is on my mind, but also to warn you about getting regular dental care. I avoided it because, you know, I'm phobic, and now I'm paying for it (literally and figuratively--ouch!). Also, remember the mantra: "No metal!" Ask for a porcelain crown or filling, with no metal base, when you have a choice. It's worth the extra money to save your health and mouth years down the line.

Lessons learned the hard way are best shared, and never forgotten. IMHO.



Colleen Thompson said...

Such is the stuff of nightmares, TJ!
Hope you're feeling much, much better soon!

Kate Willoughby said...

I feel for you, TJ. I've had root canals and many crowns myself. My sister got the good teeth gene. I got the crappy one. Hope you feel better soon. :)

TJ Bennett said...

Thanks, Colleen and Kate. I wish I could say the party is over, but I'm still having "issues." Still, I try to focus on the end result, and what I hope to achieve. Good health, good teeth, and getting my life back. May it be so.


Anonymous said...

Interesting article, you make some interesting points.

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