Thursday, April 16, 2015

This Root Canal: Way Better than the Last Time

Five years ago, I started this blog with the purpose of helping myself and others relieve pain. I've come to relieve my pain so well that I don't always know when I'm sick.

I had an abscessed tooth then and I had another one a few days ago. I was in the worst pain of my life back then; this time, I couldn't quite figure out what was going on. (An important difference: the nerve in the tooth was dead this time. The tooth was knocked out of place in an accident a few years ago, and my dentist said it would probably need a root canal someday.) Still, all I had this time were signs here and there that something was wrong.

After seeing my oral surgeon last Friday when my face was swollen (one of those odd signs), he referred me to an endodontist (a dentist specializing in root canals) and gave me a prescription for antibiotics. I said no thanks to pain medicine--nothing against it if you need it, but I didn't. The antibiotics perked me up so much that I did a lot of yard work I'd been putting off.

Monday, I thought I was going in for a consultation, but they gave me a root canal then and there. The endodontist gave me two shots. While I was waiting for them to take effect, I got up to get a magazine and sat back down in the wrong room. The assistant pointed me to the right room, propped open my mouth with a block, and put a rubber dam around the tooth to keep bacteria off the tooth and junk out of my mouth. They put shaded safety glasses on me, but I could see what they were doing reflected in some kind of a scope. It wasn't as interesting as getting a dental implant--just drill and fill. And sterilize--they got bleach in my mouth and I didn't know how to tell them my mouth was burning with what tasted like pesticide. They assumed I just needed to swallow saliva and told me to hold still. (The dentist apologized several times afterward.) They gave me some mouthwash, told me to take ibuprofin every few hours, ran my credit card for a ghastly amount of money, and said they'd see me in two weeks for a permanent filling.

I woke up the next day feeling like I'd been up for days. My face felt like it had a big fake silicon boob stuck to it, it was so swollen. No real pain--that's the odd thing now, just signs like these here and there that something is wrong. The dentist didn't give me an after-care sheet, so it wasn't until after doing a flurry of paperwork that couldn't wait (I work at a CPA firm, and all my colleagues were helping the tax secretaries), around 4 PM I Googled "root canal swelling" and found out I'd better call the dentist's office back. They called in a prescription for industrial-strength antibiotics.

My face went from southern hair puffy to Wheat-Belly-before-face to almost normal now. I'm getting my normal appetite back (I was craving Quest bars and nacho cheese), and playing Fold.it again.

I've just been reading that in some circles, root canals are controversial--Dr. Mercola warns against them based on research by Weston A. Price. I generally agree with Price on poor diet and lack of vitamins causing tooth decay--my own experience bears this out. It could be that in his day (the early 20th century), root canals were often badly done and got infected. But (again, just my experience), I had one other root canal done--by a general dentist in a chain office, no less--and it's never given me a problem. It was certainly easier than having a dental implant--wait, Mercola doesn't like those, either. He'd have you wear a flipper or a bridge that's "somewhat fragile." But I haven't had any problems with my implant, either. I certainly wouldn't get a salvageable tooth pulled on Mercola's advice. But I will keeping taking vitamins D and K, avoiding starchy, sugary food, and eating mostly meat, fish and vegetables with butter.

11 comments:

Larcana said...

Glad to hear you're better. My experience with root canals in was two different settings one with pain and one without, prior to treatment.
I figured it was due to the different levels of inflammation.
But with both procedures I was back at work the next day without pain meds....but I've been GF for so long I don't build much inflammation up.

Lori Miller said...

With the first root canal, I was on Vicodin without much relief.

Lowcarb team member said...

Glad you're feeling better. Teeth can be so problematical throughout our lives. Eating less sugars certainly can help and looking after them as best we can.

I've a check up due soon ! All seems to be ok at the moment .... we'll see.

All the best Jan

Lori Miller said...

Thanks, Jan. Good luck with your checkup!

Galina L. said...

I remember how in Dr.R.Bernstein's book he wrote that very often his patients with an unexplained high blood sugar level had an inflamed root canal or another acute inflammation. May be someday we all will start checking our BS daily, but I am not ready for it yet.

Lori Miller said...

Yes--infection raises your blood sugar. I also recently read a few study abstracts on acute infection inducing insulin resistance during and for several months afterward. It could explain why I've gained about seven pounds over the past month or so.

Galina L. said...

I always cringe at the idea of taking aspirin daily (it is an allergies promoting substance), but may be it is not as wrong as I think, especially for the people who are less prone to allergies.

Lori Miller said...

I'm really prone to allergies (or at least I was when I was eating wheat), but I guess I don't take enough aspirin to make them flare up. My bottle of aspirin expired two years ago, but still works.

Galina L. said...

In our family my husband , who has a PHD in Chemistry and a former employee in a pharm company, is the authority when it comes to discussing different pills. He keeps saying that the expiration date for the absolute majority of pharmacological products means nothing. However, he asked me to keep herbal supplements in a freezer regardless of what is said on a box. I put Rhodiola ,which helped us to survive a higher elevation in Colorado, in a freezer.

fitteratfortyish said...

Glad you are feeling better, that sounds like a rough experience. At least no pain, though! An improvement. Infected root canal pain is a very.special.thing. Glad you missed it this time around.

Lori Miller said...

It was the worst pain I was ever in.