I told you all before about my first root canal, the one that took me totally by surprise, given my prior perfect-teeth condition.
The second time it happened, last year, I nipped it in the bud early. I recognized that particular sensitivity to heat, cold, pressure... I knew right away that I had cracked another tooth. I regretted all the ice I had chewed for years and years before that first root canal.
This time, I engaged in no denial. I went straight to the dentist and said, "I think I have another cracked tooth." He took X-rays but said that there was no clear crack visible, maybe just a little shadow that could be a problem, and referred me to the endodontist for a second opinion.
I walked across the parking lot to the endodontist's office, referral slip in hand. Could they get me in today? Yes!? Thank heavens!
The endodontist took more X-rays and poked around a bit and declared that, indeed, I had another cracked tooth. Did I want a root canal today, or just remove the tooth? She recommended trying the root canal
I said ok.
The root canal didn't work. The tooth split. It had to be removed.
After the removal, I asked for a prescription for a couple of days' worth of pain meds. They said no(!) They don't prescribe pain meds. They recommend that you just take OTC Advil plus Tylenol. I explained that the last time I'd had a root canal and tooth extraction, I had thought I'd get through it with aspirin, Tylenol, and/or Advil, but had ended up needing the Vicodin that had been prescribed. With just the Tylenol and Advil, I had not been able to sleep because the pain was so intense. I further explained that I needed only two days' worth of pain meds.
They said, "There are too many addicts. We don't prescribe anything, ever."
I said, "If you had told me that before the procedure, I would have never consented to it and would have gone elsewhere."
(LegalMist's life lesson: always ask about pain med policy before consenting to a dental procedure.)
They said, "It will not hurt as much as it did before you came in." I said, "It already hurts more than it did before I came in because I came in at the first sign of pain and cracked tooth, based on my prior experience. And besides, I know from experience that the pain will keep me from sleeping for two nights. I did not pay $800 to have a root canal/tooth extraction (and have a tooth extracted!!) just to get two days' worth of drugs that I could probably buy on the street for less than $40."
They said, "Sorry, we can't help you. "
I said, "You people are sadists! This is like 'Little Shop of Horrors!' This is why people hate endodontists!"
I walked back across the parking lot to my dentist's office and explained the problem. My compassionate dentist gave me a prescription for a few days' worth of Vicodin. The man (now retired) is a saint.
Sure enough, I needed the pain meds. I would not have slept for two days without them.
(I have since that time told two people not to go to that endodontist and have told my new dentist that he should never send anyone to her, ever. I hope he takes that advice.)
I still hadn't gotten the implant to replace the first lost tooth. It was in the back, not really visible. And the procedure promised to be expensive, time consuming, and potentially painful, so--as any normal person would do--I had procrastinated.
But this second one was near the front and visible when I smiled, making me self-conscious and afraid to smile.
I knew I had to get two implants ASAP. Ugh...
Implant procedures: not fun!
Implant results: awesome!