Friday, March 18, 2016

Root canal!

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 :)


19 comments:

  1. It actually makes a lot of sense that you like the lead vest. Many kids and adults use weighted products (blankets, lap pads, vests, etc.) to provide their bodies with additional deep pressure. This has an overall calming effect on the body. You're definitely not a weirdo- you were just using a great strategy! :)

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    1. I was going to say the same thing! You should look into getting a weighted blanket for home use, Katie!

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  2. Oh man, dental work stinks! I agree with you about the vest-- it does feel comforting.

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  3. DH has had an extraction before, it was not an experience I would want him to go through again.

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  4. This was super helpful! Thank you so much for writing about it! My dentist has threatened me with a root canal a couple of times and now I have just been avoiding going because I have been scared. :/ But This helps. I didn't exactly know what to expectbut this gives me a better idea. Honestly it sounds more akin to a cavity filling than anything else, would that be right?

    Also, Joey and Pheebs on the blanket is the cutest ever!

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    1. I think root canals have gotten a bad rap. The worst part is the bill. I really don't think they are much worse than a filling. My root canal actually failed, so I later had to have the roots surgically clipped (apicoectomy). When they went in to do it, they discovered that the roots had actually grown into my sinus cavity, so it was a complicated procedure. So crazy. Anyway, they gave me about 10 shots, but I was fully awake during that entire procedure, and even drove myself home. No big deal. Lol.

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  5. That picture of Joey & Phoebe is soooo cute.
    My brother has so much trouble at the dentist. He has actually kicked the dentist - on two separate occasions. It wasn't intentional -- just a stress reaction. I'll have to tell hm your trick about the lead blanket. That would never have occurred to me, but it makes sense!

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  6. lol Can't resist - I told you so! :) The anticipation is SOOOO much worse than the actual procedure. Glad you finally got yourself there and that they were able to save the tooth and not have to pull it.

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  7. After all you've been through Katie, a root canal is a piece of cake. Childbirth, falling and breaking your jaw, skin reduction surgery, and running almost every day (I know that be painful!) hurt much worse than a root canal. It's the unknown that is scary, and now that you know, you won't have to dread it if there is a next time. Right now I'm enduring some incredible pain trying to re-hab my knee in physical therapy. Hurts worse than anything I've been through and I had three long labors with three childbirths, kidney stones, several surgeries, along with numerous root canals. Not sure that I will ever get the other knee done. Oh, and the crown placement is really nothing! Not to worry!!!

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  8. Glad you got it done! The most painful part of a root canal is the bill! Im still paying mine off from September. :S

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  9. For a lot of people, it's not the pain with dental work that is necessarily the problem - it is a real phobia of having work done in your mouth. The therapy ahead of time is a great idea! I personally go to a sedation dentist because of my mouth phobia, and that has been great, but super expensive. I had the initial root canal procedure (like you did today) as well as my two lower wisdom teeth (impacted) removed while under one sedation visit. Talk about being sore after that! But the sedation was great, as I remembered almost nothing and didn't bother the dentist with all my stress and freaking out.

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    1. I know it's a real fear that people struggle with, but it doesn't bother me at all. Last week, while waiting for the dentist to come into the exam room, I checked my Fitbit to see how many steps I had. I noticed that my current heart rate was 56. The hygienist and I got a laugh out of that....because clearly the dentist doesn't scare me! Lol!

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  10. The most annoying pain I had after my crown was because I strained my jaw keeping it so open! One of the downsides of the numbing is that you don't feel the muscle strain so it's easier to over-extend it... definitely made eating a little uncomfortable for the next week... but the hard part is over! Then next appointment they'll just pop off your temporary crown and put your final one on- super easy and no pain/numbing! Getting dental work done immediately definitely reduces the potential for something even worse if you let it sit!

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  11. Ok so I just commented on today's post but it's definitely even more appropriate for this out...you have just inspired me, yet again, by this post. I'm terrified of the dentist-even for a simple cleaning! I had a filling from a very old cavity, come out last year when I was eating a tuna fish sandwich lol It hurt so I went right to the dentist and got it fixed but I cried, and shook like a leaf, throughout the entire procedure. Oddly, I got very sick in 2006, started dialysis, got a kidney transplant and had more than 50 surgeries in 5 years and I dealt with all that a MILLION times better than I did with this stupid tooth. About 6 months ago, the exact same thing happened with another tooth on the other side of my mouth only this time the tooth cracked...big time. The only difference is this one doesn't hurt at all(which may sound like a good thing but if it hurt, I'd probably be more inclined to go take care of it) Dentist said I need exactly what you had done-a root canal and crown-and I can't bring myself to go back to get it done :( I know the longer I wait the worse it will be but I almost would prefer they just pull it. It's the very last molar on the bottom so no one would even notice.
    OR....I can pull up my big girl panties and just go take care of it lol

    Thanks for sharing your life...the good AND the bad, it's incredibly inspiring to see someone face their fears and kick some ass!!
    Bridgette

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  12. Oh and the funniest thing about my fear(and could actually be partially responsible for my fear) is my aunt was not only a dental hygienist for over 30 years, she taught in the dental hygiene department of our local community college and was the dept chair for 14 years lol I used to have to go in to her classes and be a "dummy" for the students to practice on...especially when I got braces. I think having all those students, who didn't know what they were doing, all up in my mouth-poking and prodding-is what freaked me out. I didn't actually think about that til just now tho but I really do think this is partially to blame!

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  13. I am the same way with dentists.....I found one (not in my network for insurance of course) that deals with kids and scared adults. It was the best (most expensive) thing I have ever done. I am still scared to go back for my cleaning lol but I got my 2 bridges done that I had been putting off for almost a decade.

    I never thought of the lead bib and I think it is brilliant!

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  14. YAY! I am so glad you went to an endodontist, I highly recommend it for a root canal over your regular dentist, not that a regular dentist is bad, but an endodontist is a specialist and it makes a difference. I love my endo and his staff!
    I am also glad it was not as bad as you thought. I hope this post helps spread the word that root canals are not that bad and putting them off could make them a lot worse. Glad it wasn't an easy fix!!
    Interesting about the lead vest. I am glad it worked for you and you are not a weirdo.

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  15. I enjoy the feeling of the lead vest, too. I'm always a little bummed when they remove it after the x-rays are over! That was a great idea to ask to keep it on for the procedure :)

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