Who knew that endodontic therapy is the same as the common term "root canal?" I certainly didn't. Until now, that is. Today I had a root canal (technically that term is incorrect but that's neither here nor there, really). The procedure itself was not all that bad. The giggly dental assistant gave me apple juice, that was probably the best part. She was the same dental assistant who, yesterday, wrote her notes on a napkin while the dentist was explaining things to me. I was embarassed for her, especially when the dentist asked her what she was doing and she waved the napkin in the air and said "I'm writing down what you're saying." Apparently she's new!
Anyway, like I said, the procedure was not all that bad. They gave me several shots and numbed me all up. Then he started drilling and the sound was so loud and high-pitched (and damnit, I had my iPod but forgot to charge it!) and suddenly I felt it, enough to make me shudder. So he gave me several more shots around the tooth until it felt basically dead, which was GREAT. The weird thing was, I could hear all this terrible drilling and scraping and saw giant needles go into my mouth, but I couldn't feel a thing. It was morbidly fascinating because I know if I hadn't been anesthetized, I would have been screaming bloody murder and probably would have passed out from the pain. So the dentist removed the stuff inside my tooth, reshaped the canals, and filled it with some temporary stuff (that is the highly technical term). In a couple weeks, he will check again to see whether there is a fracture. If it's only a small crack, he will put a crown on my tooth. But if there's a fracture, my tooth will actually have to be extracted. Yeah, did you get that? EXTRACTED. REMOVED. OBLITERATED. PULLED. UPROOTED. YANKED. But I'm trying not to think about that because I am optimistic that it won't have to happen.
Here is a little visual for those of you who are really into this. 1) unhealthy tooth. The nerve tissue inside is flaring up because there was a crack in my tooth that allowed bacteria to get inside. 2) Loud, ugly drilling of giant hole in my tooth. 3) Tiny tools clean out the nerve tissues. The thought of that still gives me the chills. 4) They fill it up with this rubber-type material and put a crown on it. That didn't happen to me today (they just put a temporary seal on it) but hopefully that is what the outcome will be in a couple weeks.
The best part is, I had a fancy frozen drink tonight and swished it around on my tooth and didn't feel a thing. It was great! My jaw and tooth are pretty sore right now but otherwise it's ok. Wish me luck. I hope it's just a little tiny crack. I really like this tooth and would like to keep it.