Root Canal, Part 2

So. You might remember I had my first root canal in the not-so-distant past. If you don’t, it went something like this: get hit by stupidly large waves of pain two weeks before the biggest tradeshow of the year; ask for recommendations for, make appointment with, and see dentist on the same day; get antibiotic and prescription painkiller vicodin, which I can take every four hours and makes things better for about an hour and takes an hour to work; after pleading with dentist get appointment moved up three weeks and get first half of root canal done: much pain relief — and only $37.
And so, on Thursday when I went to see my dentist for the second-half of my root canal, I expected (a) to pay a little more, since the procedure would be completed, and (b) to get all patched up with a permanent filling.
Well, I did get to pay more, but guess what? No permanent filling. No, instead, Mister Dentist discovers I have another nerve canal in my tooth — which explains why I could still feel a mild discomfort. So, he spends some time removing the pulp from that canal (breaking a few files in the process). No fewer than three x-rays were taken. He finishes up, and puts in a temporary filling. The next appointment, he says, we’ll be shaping the tooth to put a crown on. Okay, so I am getting a crown on the tooth after all. It’s a good thing, by my estimation, anyway, since the tooth surface doesn’t look all that stable.
So, we go to make the next appointment. Except, there are no open blocks of 1.5 hours until the end of March! So, now I’ve got my tooth-shaping appointment at the end of March. Fine, right? You’d be right, except, while I’m paying my $118 bill, I feel this PANG in my tooth. The one that was just drilled. This isn’t a particularly moment for me, as it was my understanding that the dentist had removed the last of the nerve tissue from my tooth. So then, why does it hurt? I tell the receptionist, who lets me know they have 600mg tablets of ibuprofen on-site, if I’d like one. I tell her (while signing the credit card slip) I’ll wait a minute and see what happens. It subsides, slightly, and I decide to see what happens. The receptionist reassures me I can take ibuprofen for the pain.
So I leave. But what I didn’t realize at the time was that I’d be back in four days. Sunday night, right before bed, I discovered that the temporary filling material that they put in my molar was, well… how can I say this… missing. Looking in the mirror, I could see right into my tooth. That would explain the headache. Needless to say, this was disturbing, considering I’d just finished eating a big meal a couple hours previous. Hmmm. Seeing into my tooth. Can you say potential bacterial badness? Then it struck me, Listerine is antibacterial — so I gargled. And tried to go to sleep. I Listerined again in the morning, and called the dentist’s office at 8:00am on the dot. To my surprise the same receptionist who offered me the 600 mg ibuprofen answered, and she remembered me. I explained what had happened, and she asked me when my next appointment was. March 31st, says I, “a ways off”. She explained that “To be honest, if it weren’t filled between now and then it would make very little difference, it would just be annoying because food would get stuck in it.” “Wouldn’t it be kind of unhealthy?” Apparently not. But she went on to explain that I could drop by the office at any time without an appointment and they’d fill it in. Which I took them up on and got it filled at 11:30 that morning. The receptionist — who also happens to be a dental assistant — does the work. She explains that the substance they’re putting in my mouth can actually be purchased at the drug store, and that I could actually do the procedure myself if I were so inclined. Interesting. I ask again about the health hazard of the of the tooth getting food stuck inside. She explained that three weeks wasn’t nearly enough time for anything like that to develop. If it were 6 months, it’d be a different story, but three weeks is nothing. I return to work. The dentist drops by to see how I’m doing. I explain that the tooth is still exhibiting a bit of pain. He tells me I can take ibuprofen for it. I left, feeling satisfied my tooth was once again in a satisfactory condition, with a plan for dealing with the existing pain.
What I didn’t count on was that the pressure of my upper molar pressing on my now-once-again-temporarily-filled-molar during a regular chewing motion is starting to cause pain. This is, yet again, somewhat disturbing, as I thought the previous appointment had taken care of this. I’m currently taking a wait-and-see approach, but I’m losing my patience by the hour — although it’s not nearly the same level yet, the type of pain is very similar to what I experienced before I had the root canal done. Loverly. I am a little worried.


  1. The dentist drop by your workplace to see how your tooth is doing? Wow, that is very nice of him/her.

  2. Haha, er… no. I guess I got my thoughts a bit out of order there. Just remove the sentence “I return to work”. 🙂

  3. no matter how much it costs i’m getting my crown…. after reading your experience i never want a root canal!
    good gorsh what an experience -best of luck and keep that semi-filled tooth clean (that’s what my dentist told me about my cracked tooth)

  4. Honestly, it was actually going well until I came in for the second appointment and they found another nerve in the tooth. Until then, it was just sort of a dull pain in the background. Now, it feels like the tooth is a little loose — like I can push it in a little if I clench — which, needless to say, hurts.

  5. Maybe you better go shopping at Cape Canaveral until this is taken care of….

  6. That totally sucks. I feel your pain. Or rather, I hope I never feel your pain.

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