So, I had my first Root Canal on Friday afternoon. At first I wondered what all the fuss was about--nothing worse than a regular filling, but then as it went on and on, and with the ongoing tenderness in my jaw, I'm understanding (although it seems to be receding) why it has such a bad reputation. I wish I had looked up exactly what was involved before I did it, but perhaps it was better that I not know.
Strangely, I feel a certain shame that I needed a root canal at my age. As if I do not take good care of my teeth. As one might feel shame that one had lice or bed bugs. I had gotten a filling in late summer and afterwards experienced much tenderness which I attributed to a bad bite form and the dentist kept filing away but finally around Thanksgiving I was having pain and he removed the first filling, added different seal that was supposed to relieve sensitivity but warned me that if I had pain again I would need a root canal. So I had a few twinges, but nothing more until New Years Day (of course--grrr...) .
The dentist that I ended up visiting because she could see me immediately was not my regular dentist. She relieved the pain and sent me home with antibiotics. She also told me it wasn't my fault! I have unusual teeth. I have four root canals in that molar instead of two or three and the pulp came up very high (and does in many of my teeth according to x-ray)--higher than usual so much closer to the filling. Whew.
Turns out my root canals were also very curved, also unusual--the procedure took almost 3 and a half hours. Blech. Strangely though, I almost prefer a root canal to a breast exam. It's a close race. On the one hand, the breast exam is very short, but I often do have bruising or tenderness the next day, and there is the whole fear factor too. Since I have no medical history except that I was born in a country where agent orange was prevalent and since I had a lump (benign) at 34 it's a great unknown. That I will have to go in and get my boobs squashed for the rest of my life is deeply upsetting to me.
I remember in my teens I had all four wisdom teeth out at once with only local because I didn't have dental care that provided for general (which I learned later is often used). Also, because my teeth were coming in sideways I couldn't just have them pulled. I had a friend who had hers intact in a small box. Mine had to be broken in my jaw and pulled out piece by piece. The ongoing joy of unusual teeth.