Yesterday, I finally went and did it--I had my root canal! I wrote about it back in October, explaining what a nervous wreck I was. There was truly nothing more terrifying to me than the thought of a root canal. I kept putting it off for the last several months, even though I kept getting twinges of pain in my tooth. Finally, when we got our tax return money, I decided to make the appointment (it's crazy how expensive a root canal is, even with insurance).
My original appointment was on February 29, but I ended up rescheduling because I'd forgotten that was the day of the Leap Day 4-Miler race. I didn't want to go race after getting a terrifying dental procedure! The next appointment available with the endodontist was today. I almost chickened out again, but I knew I couldn't put it off forever.
I made the appointment for the initial consult as well as the root canal, should I end up needing it (my dentist was confident I would need it). First, I went to my psychotherapy appointment in the morning. It was my second appointment, and I'm very happy with how it's going so far. I really like the psychologist, and I feel confident that she can help with my anxiety. I felt very comfortable with her right away, so I'm looking forward to continuing the therapy sessions once a week.
Right from there, I went to the endodontist's office. He and his assistant were super nice, and made me feel very comfortable (well, as comfortable as I could get, considering the situation). He explained everything well, without freaking me out any more than I already was, and assessed my tooth. Like my dentist had explained, there was a tiny crack in my tooth (from when I fell and broke my jaw) and the tooth was dying.
The endodontist said that he could drill into it and see how deep the crack went. If it wasn't too deep, then he could do the root canal treatment and I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. If it was deep, then I'd have to have it extracted. I almost fainted when he said that--extracted?! I prayed that the crack wasn't deep, and I cursed myself for not going sooner. It never occurred to me that I might have to get it pulled out.
I told him that I needed to do it right then, because if I went home, I certainly wouldn't go back. He agreed. I sat back in the chair to get comfy for my first (and hopefully only) root canal procedure. I asked the assistant if I could wear the lead apron (for x-rays) throughout the whole procedure, because I like that cozy feeling of its weight draped across me (does anyone else like that? Maybe I'm a total weirdo).
The endodontist gave me an injection of the local anesthetic (which was pretty painful!), then waited for me to get numb. I hate the feeling of being numb! But clearly, it's better than being in pain. He then placed a rubber dam over my mouth to isolate just my problem tooth, and that was surprisingly comfortable. It even helped me to hold my mouth open during the procedure.
I probably should have just put on some headphones and zoned out, but I was too nervous the whole time. Next time (hopefully there won't be a next time), I'll know. The endodontist explained what he was doing without going into too much detail, which was helpful. Basically, he spent a few seconds drilling, and then about 20 minutes poking different instruments in there (I didn't want to know, so I closed my eyes). I didn't feel any pain! I could feel the instruments tapping against my tooth now and then, but no pain at all.
THANK GOD, the crack in my tooth wasn't too deep, so he was able to clean out the root canals and said I wouldn't need an extraction. That was such a relief. He filled my tooth with whatever it is they fill it with, and I have an appointment to go to my dentist next week for a crown. The whole procedure, from the time I sat in the chair to when I got out of the chair to leave, was less than an hour. I really should have done this back in October! It wasn't bad at all. If anything, it's just really inconvenient--feeling numb all day, having to be careful about eating with this tooth until I get the crown, and having to get numbed for the crown procedure next week. Not fun!
After the numbness wore off, my mouth was really sore, particularly where the injection sites were. My jaw feels sore on that side, too. Eating has been challenging, because I'm trying to avoid chewing on that side. I'll be so glad when the crown is done and I don't have to worry about this tooth anymore!
I have no pictures for this post (not that you'd want one to go along with it); so here's a picture of Joey and Phoebe sharing the electric blanket :)