So I went to see the Oral Surgeon.
Her assistant was much nicer than the endodontist's assistant. She broke the ice by telling me I look like Sandra Bullock. Yeah, I've heard that once or twice before. (I wonder if Sandra has had a root canal?)
But then she asked the strangest question: "So, you want to have number 19 removed?"
"Want" might be phrasing that a little badly. No, what I "want" is for my tooth to be fine and not need any more dental work. What I "want" is to travel back in time, to whenever it was that I did whatever thing I did that cracked the tooth, and to not do that thing.
But since that's not possible, and since the endodontist seemed to be recommending removal, then I'm willing to do it.
So I said, "Well... want? No, not really. But if it's what's recommended...."
She asked a few other questions. I asked a few questions - like, how do they get that tooth out? It has so many curved roots. Do they have to cut the bone?
"Oh, no," she said, "usually they just pull them right out."
The Oral Surgeon came in and shook my hand and told me all about the complications you can get with tooth extractions.
Then she explained the general procedure which, she said, in a tooth that has had a root canal, usually requires cutting into the bone because they tend to just fracture and fall apart.
(What is it with these dental assistants? At least this one was pleasant - and she told me I looked like a movie star! - but her information was all wrong... )
So I asked the oral surgeon whether she thought extraction was the best option for that tooth. I guess that's like asking a hammer if we should use a nail instead of a screw. Predictably, she said yes.
So now I am wondering if I should get a second opinion before having the tooth removed.