5/22/2008

Call me Fishmael*

Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would get a toothache... The carpenter out pincers, and clapping one hand upon his bench bids him be seated there; but the poor fellow unmanageably winces under the unconcluded operation; whirling round the handle of his wooden vice, the carpenter signs him to clap his jaw in that, if he would have him draw the tooth.

OK, it wasn't exactly like that but, some years ago, I did have one of those face-rotting toothaches that inevitably leads to a root canal. Last week, my dentist told me that, based on x-rays, the infection seems to have returned to said tooth. Today, I visited the endodontist. After subjecting the teeth in the area to probing, tapping and freezing (was that dry ice?!?), he agreed with my dentist, and laid out three choices for me:

1) ignore the problem, and wait for it to flare up painfully, and inevitably at an inconvenient moment.

2) try a second root canal on the same tooth. However, if the problem is occurring becase the tooth canals are exceptionally narrow and hard to clean out, or if any of a half-dozen other problems occur, the problem will not be resolved, and I'll have to proceed to the next option,

3) submit to oral surgery, wherein my gum will be cut and peeled back, allowing a portion of the jawbone will be cut out or drilled away to reveal the infected root, which will then be excised.

None of these options seems remotely acceptable to me. Murphy's Law precludes 1), especially with summer vacation approaching. Do I really want a southern dentist working on my teeth?
* apologies to Herman Melville, and his heirs. My prescience announces option 2) as a waste of time, and who wants to suffer an unneccessary root canal? And finally, option 3) sounds absolutely terrifying. I can barely cope with biting the inside of my cheek, or getting a canker sore. What would oral stitches be like?!

And so, like any good blogger, I turn to my audience. What would you do, gentle readers? Please fill my comments with your enduring advice.


UPDATE:
OK, I chickened out. I know y'all are right. I should just get the surgery done. But I've decided to go with the advice of my endodontist, and try the root canal procedure. Wish me luck!

5 comments:

Shell said...

Option #3. Doesn't seem you have much of a choice here. The other choices just aren't going to solve the problem...especially #1. Bite the bullet and Git r done!

The Fishmonger said...

Much as I hate option #3, I was leaning that way, too. Except the endontist is pushing for option #2. Just seems like a waste of time and effort. Thanks for the input, shell! How are things in California East (or is that South?)

Geoffer said...

I'm with Shell (I was even before I saw her comment). Sounds positively cruel and unusual, but I'm for getting rid of the problem forever rather than get over one painful thing only to have it resurface again months or years later. Just don't have it videotaped, fer gosh sakes.

Shevy said...

#3 for me too! Just think of all the good pain relief you might get. Make you forget about those stiches!

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone else. I've had so many dental problems in the last few years I try to avoid the painful flare ups when ever I possible can! Yup, bite the bullet and go with the horrible sounding option! ...and if that doesn't solve your problem, start stalking your endodontist!

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