If you've had a root canal in the past
Monday, December 17, 2012
I'm putting this out there as a sort of public service announcement, because it's something I wish I had known. They symptoms of a root canal needing retreatment are different from when you need a root canal initially. Last time I had one go bad, I figured that couldn't be what it was, because it didn't react to hot or cold the way it used to.
What I'm feeling, and what I felt in June, is kind of like there is something massive stuck between my teeth (but I flossed and there isn't). The tooth is also starting to be noticeably raised. But it doesn't hurt, for the moment, because it doesn't have a nerve in the usual place. There's kind of a weird rubbery or maybe electric sensation that isn't pain... yet. It's sort of like a funny bone whack or post charley horse sensitivity.
What it does have is a little hollow down at the bottom of the roots, where an infection has been stewing over the last 12-14 years eating away at the bone. I know this because it showed up on a bone scan the endodontist did when he treated my other side in June. We talked about it probably needing to be treated eventually. I guess it will need to be now. I hope we can get it wrapped up before the new year (which will involve a new deductible).
Back in June, I was feeling what I feel now, only it was a Thursday night, and I thought maybe it would go away on it's own. I called my dentist on Friday, but they were already closed for the evening. On Saturday, I wanted antibiotics and opiates. By Saturday night, I wanted an ice skate and a rock (if you've seen Cast Away). I paid $350 bucks to see an emergency dentist and would have let him pull it, except he saw a different problem from what I was feeling on the X-ray. (It turns out both teeth were bad, also I got about half the $350 back after insurance). I did get the scrip for antibiotics and opiates, and felt much better except on Sunday, my cheek grew a golfball sized lump where the infection somehow escaped the bone. Total weirdness. The endodontist was impressed when he went in to deal with that, I can tell you.
So, yeah, call in as soon as you feel that the tooth is raised. It won't feel like an abcess, until it does. If you haven't had a root canal and you're reading this far, poor thing, I would recommend getting root canals from endodontists and not your normal dentist. They are really expensive, but that's what I will do next time.
It's kind of amazing that I went back to eating candy again after what happened last June. Well, we're only human, I guess. I don't know that the candy could be put to blame directly, I just thought I would be scared straight. That double root canal redo was just horrific. But at least this one isn't in the upper jaw.