Last year when I was in Paris I developed a wicked toothache and nearly killed myself (not exaggerating) by taking massive doses of Tylenol to try to knock back the unrelenting pain.
An emergency visit to a French dentist revealed a huge infection had taken up residence below an old root canal. Armed with antibiotics and a stern warning about how dangerous Tylenol can be, the dentist sent me off to recover. He also said in no uncertain terms that I needed to go and get the problem dealt with properly the minute I got home.
Antibiotics are a wonderful thing and soon the swelling and pain receded. I was in Paris for several months and after I came back to Canada I was… well, busy… distracted. And, to be honest, not that keen to go back to the dentist.
Almost a year to the day after my first round of tooth trouble, I found myself back in Paris on another visit and, guess what, the toothache returned! I toughed it out until I got back to Canmore and went to my dentist here who said the problem was bigger than she could handle.
Which is how I found myself in a specialist’s office in Calgary today with a dentist doing horrendous things to my poor molar. Turns out that during my original root canal years ago the tip of a file had snapped off in one of the root prongs of my tooth!!
The bottom, pointy tip is quite likely embedded in my jawbone! Despite all sorts of wicked tools, vigorous drilling, poking, prying, filing, routering, and jiggling that thing is in there to stay! As is the infection, if I were to just go into denial and refuse to set foot in another dentist’s office. Ever.
Alas, the fear of more misery when the infection comes back (usually when I’m run down, stressed, or sick) has me determined to get to the bottom of this once and for all.
So, next week I’m off for a bit of dental surgery so we can cut open the gum and extricate the offending bit of metal from the bottom, leaving the tooth in place.
What shocked me most about this whole situation was that the specialist was not at all surprised to find the piece of file in there. Apparently, it happens all the time! In fact, when I told Dad about it he was very nonchalant. “Oh sure – I have one of those, too.” His, though, isn’t causing any problems. It seems to have been sealed into its new home sans any nasty bacteria and the consensus in his case is just to let sleeping files lie.
Dentist by Candlelight by Gerrit Dou, circa 1660
And that, as they say, is all she wrote. I need to go to bed and recover from all that! My face hurts and I can’t chew anything crunchy, so I’m feeling a tad sorry for myself.