Why does a real bad toothache always happen the day before a three-day holiday?
Even if you have your own dentist, you know, like stored away in your back closet, chances are you won't be able to get an emergency appointment before the next week. Probably a good reason why dentists want you to come in on a scheduled, regular basis to make sure such emergencies don't happen. That's nice from their point of view, but there's usually absolutely nothing except one hell of a toothache to get you to start thinking about going to the dentist. At least that's the way it is in my house. Yeah, I know. I had a couple of teeth that needed some work, but just kept putting it off since they weren't bothering me. Problem was, this tooth was capped and didn't indicate any problems.
Then this last Thursday evening rolls around and I happened to notice a dull throbbing when I was eating some ice cream. By Friday morning I had already been into my wife's aspirin a couple of times during the night. I rarely ever take aspirin since I hardly, if ever, get a headache. I was looking in the Eureka telephone directory under dentists and found a couple that take new patients, even one that said “Emergencies” were welcome. So, by the time these different dentist's offices opened 8:00 and 9:00 that morning, we were calling. New patients? That was a joke. Emergencies? That was even a bigger joke. One of my wife's workmates told her about the clinic at the Burre Center. She called and they said come in as soon as possible and we'll do what we have to do to get you through the weekend or until we can fully take care of the problem. That was welcome news, because by now, I'd had three or four sessions where I totally lost the left side and top of my head. I've had toothaches before, but NEVER anything like that.
So, we went to the oral surgeon's office and talked to a very nice, but more importantly, very helpful person. The doctor wasn't in the office, but they could work me in on the next Tuesday afternoon, if I was willing to wait to be fit in. You know, I jumped at that! Now that I was taken care of, I got my Ibuprofen and Tylenol and went home to tough it out. Later that afternoon I received a call asking me if I could come in in the morning, they had a cancellation. Does God look after the little people or what? However, and I do mean HOWEVER, by Sunday evening my toothache was down to just a throb and I stopped taking anything for the pain. Supper time caused a bit of a resurgence so a big Ibuprofen, but most all Monday and even Tuesday morning I only took two Tylenol, just to make sure. I don't know what happened. I could bite down on the tooth (gingerly) and my head wouldn't come off.
So, since I didn't have a chauffeur, I drove myself over to begin the battle. By the time I got all the paperwork done there, I was promptly called back and seated. Everything seemed to be ready for me, it wasn't long and the doctor came in, introduced himself, made sure of the tooth – and began. I'm not sure if the doctor was just really good at what he does or the whole tooth problem was misdiagnosed. The doctor used the same xrays taken at the clinic. I don't know if it was positive thoughts or the little prayer, but “The Tooth” came out relatively pain free – not easy from my point of view, but it came out without any muss or fuss all in one piece just the same. The doctor showed me the decay in the root and said that was what was causing the pain. I was given some gauze and written instructions and promptly shown to the door OUT -- DISMISSED.
Well, today is Wednesday, the bleedings stopped, but the empty hole in my jaw still thinks the hurting tooth is still there. It hurts just like before. Not quite as bad, my head still stays on, but enough to hit the pain med's. So, what did I learn in all of this?
I learned to suck it up and get a dentist to look at the rest of my poor teeth. Maybe I'll be able to keep the rest. That's really no guarantee of anything, though. I had a doctor I'd been seeing on a regular basis for hypertension and he was taking all the tests he said he needed and I still had a serious heart attack.
[UPDATE :: Wednesday, March 3, 2010]
Why is it that getting sick always follows getting a tooth extraction? Too bad the antibiotics didn't fend off the flu bug. One benefit to getting sick is lots of soup and bed time rest. Do you think my body is trying to tell me something?