Why you should regularly visit your dentist.

I hadn't been to my dentist since May-2004 (normally I went on weekends, but since Sofia and the kids moved to Montreal, I am not in Ottawa on the weekends).

Last night, as I was munching on some cashews, I felt a pain in one of my molars and then some grit in my mouth. I went and washed it out, assuming that maybe there had been a stone or something amount the cashews. Turns out I noticed a hole in the surface of the molar (top right, second from the back, my wisdom teeth were removed years ago). Fishing around for grit in my mouth, it looked like crumbled filling. So I assumed that my filling had cracked and crumbled and come out.

Went to the dentist this morning, he took an x-ray and came back with bad news. I have a large cavity under the filling, which gave way. The filling did not fall out, but rather impacted into the space of the cavity. He did not rework the filling, since the cavity is very near the root - cleaning it out would likely result in exposing the root. As some may have already guessed, I need a root canal. I have never had one, so it should be an interesting experience. The doctor says it will take two hours since there are 3 roots he needs to clean out.

The one thing he is surprised at is that I am not in pain (I am not, not even a little bit). The spot where the filling impacted is a little sensitive to pressure, so I don't chew on it.


Ouch, best wishes to you. I am going to the dentist tomorrow. Months ago, my dentist told me that I have a large cavity, too, very near the root. He stuffed some white toothpaste looking material on my tooth and told me that it had to stay that way for several months. That way, the tooth can sort of heal by itself, and I might not need a root canal. I'll find out tomorrow.
I always thought root canals themselves would be painful, but my husband had one last year and it turned out to be an almost painless procedure (both during and after). I hope your experience is painless as well!
No pain now? Oh, that'll come! When the freezing comes out! It's all part of aging...even our fillings get old! Lucky you didn't swallow it. I've had 1 root canal, a cap and a bridge. All that may await you! Good luck. Maybe you'll get to watch a movie while he orks! I'm assuming you have a good dental lan!

Seem to be dropping the initial consonants today!

Works and Plan!
Richard said…
man with the fun: I am not aware of anything that can repair a cavity, except having it filled. I wonder what that stuff was? Good luck!

MIO: I am not terribly worried about it. I am more concerned that my tooth my suddenly erupt into a mountianof pain. Denstistry is significantly better now-a-days than it was in the past.

MOI: I haven't had a cavity in nearly 20 years, but I have had my fillings changed over the years.

My dental plan is pretty good. It will cover one root canal per tooth (shouldn't need more than that). There is no limit on the number of canals per year. I do have a $2000 per year limit on crowns, though (and they will only cover the cost of metal ones).
b said…
Ugh. Not fun. Fortunately you are not in pain yet and it is good that you are going to take care of it sooner than later. My brother needs a couple of root canals and he is now in excrutiating pain because he has put it off for too long. Mouth pain is the worst in my opinion. And yes, visiting the dentist regularly isn't such a bad idea. Hope it goes well, Richard.
tin-tin said…
when i was still a kid, i love visiting the dentist. it's really a habit. we visit the dentist regularly. but when i started wearing braces when i was in college, i became lazy. till now i'm lazy already. maybe because i'm afraid that my dentist would scold me because after getting my retainers, i haven't visited her again. hehe
That is a good plan!

Don't eat any taffy apples from Hallowe'en! (Not that people give those out anymore!)
ghee said…
why you felt no pain?thats weird :)

i hate to go to the dentists,too..though,i am forced for some time.

once,they televized that someone died so sudden and the biopsy said that "a germ" from his cavity came up to his brain and that damaged his brain to stop that caused his death..unbelievable..
letter for you said…
Hope u get the root-canal treatment soonest before the pain comes. I've never had one of those treatment yet but I heard from friends that it's painful. I'd rather have a head-ache than a tooth-ache!

My, the last I visited a dentist was as way back as yours! :)
Richard said…
breal: I hope it goes well too. Some say that the only place we truly feel pain is in our teeth. I don't know, I can hurt pretty bad in other places.

tin-tin: When I was a kid, I hated visiting the dentist. He was rough and had big fingers and was always saying “Open wider". Now, I don’t mind going. It is just the time. sigh.

MOI: As I have mentioned in other posts, my job has a number of very addictive incentives (along with good pay, a good health plan, and a genuine honest to goodness pension plan – very rare in private companies), that is why it is so hard to give it up and strike out on my own, because I won't find anything like that elsewhere.

ghee: I know I can feel pain in my teeth, but I am glad that I feel no pain at the moment. There is some correlation between gum disease and heart attacks.

letter for you: The process is pretty simple: (1) he will freeze my mouth, (2) he will clean out the old filling and cavity, (3) he will drill 3 holes in the tooth so he can scrape out the nerves in the tooth all the way down through the root of the tooth. The tricky bit is making sure he gets all the nerve out, if any remains, it will cause me pain later on. I presume he will have some fine pointy thing for scraping the nerve out of the root.
freckled-one said…
I hear root canals are no fun, fortunately I've never had to experience one. I sure hope it goes smoothly with very little pain for you. I'm willing to bet you'll be seeing the dentist more often. Personally I hate them.. never trust anyone that's willing to put their fingers in your mouth. Haha
Anonymous said…
Gosh, that must be ghastly! I would hate having a cavity anywhere. Although I seriously need to visit the dentist soon, have been putting it off for a year already.
KayMac said…
How's the tooth?
Barbara said…
If the endodontist will let you listen to music, take a head set because having a root canal is not a pleasant experience. Your mouth will be numb for hours afterwards. I've had a couple of them because I have really bad teeth. I've also had 4 crowns. The worst pain is writing the check afterwards. This is pricy dentistry!
Richard said…
juphelia: I suppose it could be worse. Regular maintenance of our health is important.

kaymac: Actually, it is fine. I will see how it is after Monday.

barbara: I don't know what it will be like. I am told the technique is much better now-a-days. Yes, it is expensive - about $900 worth of expensive. Fortunately, my insurance covers it.
RennyBA said…
Sounds like a scary experience but I am so glad everything turned out well for you. I have had two root canals and had a lot of pain afterwoord - lucky you!
Wish you a peaceful Sunday and a great week ahead:-)
Ed McGoldrick said…
After bouts of toothache that spanned for three nights, I finally visited my dentist last week and he found out that I've been long overdue for getting a root canal. Just like a typical male, I tried to tame the toothache down with painkillers. Guess none of those really helped that time.

I know for sure that the root canal you got really helped out a lot. Here in Colorado Springs, dentistry is at par with the latest trends and technologies.

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