Tuesday, April 15, 2008

When Is It Time To See The Dentist

That's right. My life has become a bad joke:

Q: When is it time to see the dentist?
A: At 2:30. (Tooth-hurty)

That's really what time my appointment is, too.

Warning: The rest of this post talks about pain and teeth.

I have a dentist appointment today. It's my third in three business days. The first one was with my regular dentist. He determined that there was likely and absess or infection and sent me to the endodontist to determine the specifics. The endodontist has determined that a root canal I had done 22 years ago was not done well. He made a crack in the tooth that ran deep into its root. Well, at some point recently, an infection managed to creep under the crown. It may have happened when I had the crown replaced 6 months ago. Who can say for certain. At any rate, the infection is causing swelling inside the dead tooth. The pain that woke me up last Thursday night is from the swelling trying to push through both the inner and outer walls of my jaw. Yuck.

The endo told me that the tooth really had to come out. I'm risking bone loss in healthy teeth and in my jaw if I leave it in. I could save the tooth if I wanted to have the crown removed, the posts taken out, the infection treated, the root canal redone, and the crown replaced. My mouth aches just thinking about it. Well, that, and from the infection.

So, today, I am going to my third different dentist. I'll be seeing an oral surgeon today. He'll yank the tooth under local anesthetic and tell me exactly how much it is going to cost me to get an implant. The other option is a bridge, but that is less appealing even though it is less expensive. To put a bridge in, they would have to cut down the two healthy adjacent teeth so that the bridge has someplace to attach.

In the immortal words of Clubber Lang: "Prediction? Pain."