Monday, December 11, 2006

Dentistry - Again

I'm in pain. I've been in pain for the last couple of days, hence no new posts.

Every root canal I've ever had done has wound up going bad, and this one is no exception. I actually had it done about 3 or 4 years ago. Just before our annual beach trip. The endodontist who did it used the latest electro-sound devices to locate the roots and fry them with virtually no pain. Then he put that percha-gutta stuff in there and sent me back to my dentist to have a post and crown put in.

Everything was fine until about a year later. The year I was preoccupied with my open heart surgery and couldn't be bothered with my teeth. For reasons I'll never understand one of the percha-gutta "points" started working it's way out the side of my gum. It hurt, but I ignored it because I had cardiologists and surgeons around me most of the year.

Earlier this year I noticed that the gum under the crown was slightly tender, and I mentioned it to my dentist two visits ago. He pulled the crown off, looked inside and say, basically, "uh-oh." He said that he could either a) do something about it then or b) put the crown back, hope for the best and wait. I opted for b.

Well, b. came home to roost on Saturday. I went to the movies with a friend and I noticed, as I happily sat there munching popcorn, that the tooth was slightly painful. But nothing more than usual, so I thought.

By Saturday night, I was in severe pain. I felt the crown being "pushed up" by the inflammation beneath it and it hurt like hell to put even moderate pressure on the crown, to try push it back down into place. I slept fitfully Saturday night, with the aid of Tylenol P.M.

I did my usual Sunday morning stuff, but I knew I'd have to call the dentist before the day was out. I finished up my duties, got home and called the "hot-line" my dentists have. I got a call back within 10 minutes.

The good news is that, because I have had a mycardial infarction and subsequent bypass surgery, I have to take a massive dose of antibiotics every time I visit the dentist, to prevent infections from entering my heart and taking hold. So I had a nearly full prescription of Biaxin in the house. The dentist told me to take one 500mg tablet immediately, another before I went to bed, and to call the office immediately in the morning to schedule an appointment for later (today).

The first pill started working within an hour. I noticed that the swelling under the tooth was easing up, so the crown was subsiding back into it's usual position. By the time I took the second pill at 9:30 last night, I was feeling much better.

I called the dentists office as soon as I got to work and they're seeing me at 1:30 today.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to cost me a small fortune, and we have lousy dental insurance at work. But I have learned a very important lesson from all this.

Root-canals are witchcraft, at best. If you can avoid them, by all means do so. It's an inexact science, and they never, entirely, get the whole root.

Secondly, never ignore mouth pain, no matter how insignificant it might seem. Especially if you're a recovering drunk/addict. We have high tolerance for pain and painkillers.

Wish me luck!


Bev Sykes said...

ouch! I hope it all goes well today.

Anonymous said...

Antibiotic prophylaxis is not necessary in your case. See here and here.

Hopefully you have better luck with the root canal situation.

JoyZeeBoy said...

Thanks, Bev.

And thank YOU, Ameloblast, for that information regarding premedicating prior to dental work. I'll pass it along to my dentists.