Last week started off like any other week… with the exception of a painful mystery tooth that I simply couldn’t find (as all of my FaceBook friends know well of by now). I know this sounds crazy, but the way our nerves are constructed in our mouths, you can feel pain in all sorts of places when you have a toothache and not be able to pinpoint the problem tooth. It’s amazing that one tooth can have you feeling things from your forehead to your collarbone area. The only thing that I was actually sure of was that the pain was on the left side of my mouth. I went from thinking it was one my top molars, to one of my bottom molars, and even my bottom wisdom tooth. Wrong on all accounts.
For those of you who don’t know, dentists have what some may think is a brutal way of finding a bad tooth. They take one of there little metal dental tools and starting wacking on teeth until you tense up in agony. I’m not kidding here. It’s horrible, but they really have no choice, and teeth are a lot tougher than one would think. This was the case for me.
My first trip found my in the dentist’s chair, mouth gaped wide as the Grand Canyon, with the Dentist wacking away at my molars. No luck. I was sent to the drug store to get some pain killers with orders to return when it gets worse.
Two days later, I’m back at the acute dental clinic, tense as can be in the relaxed position a dental chair gives you, with a second dentist wacking away at my teeth.
The third time turned out to be the charm for me. I found myself in the chair of Ahmanj, who is now a dental hero in my eyes. Ahmanj also wacked away at my teeth, until we were able to distinguish one particular tooth that hurt just a teeny bit. It was then that he decided to try heat. I knew from a painful earlier experience with a McDonald’s french fry that he was about to strike gold. He had the dental nurse melt some sanitized rubbery looking object and then placed it on the suspicious tooth. At first there was nothing at all. About two seconds later I was clutching my chair’s arms like Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man. I’m talking about pain that makes a body straighten out like a wooden plank. The only thing missing was the voice asking, “Is it safe?” Ahmanj was kind enough to immediately grab the combo water/air tool and cool the bad tooth off which brought instant relief. After I had calmed down, he said something very insightful to me. He said, “You have a very sick tooth!” Of course, I couldn’t help but think, “Eureka! I’ve got the greatest dentist ever!” I responded with a, “Your joking…” and both the nurse and I chuckled. But, just when I thought I had reach the height of pain, I was about to find out only what victims of Saddam Husein’s torture chambers must’ve experience, if only for a split second. Ahmanj told me that he was going to simply started drilling and then he would give me anesthesia when I signaled him. Well, it turned out that most of my tooth was so dead that he was able to drill until the nerves were exposed. That’s when I signaled him and the fun really began. He told me that he was then going to give me a shot directly in the nerve, it would only last a second, and that it would be a bit uncomfortable. Anytime a dentist tells you something’s going to be uncomfortable you can best believe he means “strap yourself in for this one pal!” He was right. It lasted for just a second, but I have to tell you that you can feel such pain in one second that it feels never-ending. And, seeing as there was more than one nerve in my tooth, I had to experience that about four times. It was as fun as you think.
After that it was pretty much smooth sailing. He put my tooth to sleep and started cleaning, injecting medicine, cleaning some more, but this time in the roots of the tooth, and all kinds of other stuff. However, none of it hurt. The entire process took about 30 minutes and cost me about $170, medicine and all (here’s where all of those Swedish taxes I’m paying help out).
I’d like to tell you that was the end of it all, but it’s not. I have to make an appointment to see my regular dentist, my mother-in-law when she returns from vacation in a couple of weeks (just in case you’re wondering, we get along great. I couldn’t imagine it otherwise). She’ll have to perform a permanent root canal on me. It’ll be the second one for me from her. Lucky for me she’s a really good dentist.
But it wasn’t all pain for me this week. Just today my beautiful wife ordered a new 24″ iMac. That made the week all the more better.
Until next time, take care of your teeth people. 😉
UPDATE: September 1st is the date for the fabulous root canal at my mother-in-laws. How exciting! 😉