Saturday, September 30, 2017

Root Canal: Part 1

I have to have a root canal. My first one!

For the past month or month and half I have experienced a sharp stinging sensation in one of my lower teeth whenever I have my first sip of a cold drink. The sensation fades away after a few seconds, and at first I thought I had a loose crown. But then three weeks ago it started to feel painful chewing on that side of mouth.

My wife is well experienced with root canals. When I described my pain, she said I should make an appointment with the endodontist that she used. (An endodontist is a dentist with a specialization in treating the inside of a tooth, usually with root canal therapy.)

"Don't wait until the pain becomes unbearable," she said. This was good advice, since the pain didn't go away following my typical self-prescription of "wait and see."

I made my appointment with some trepidation. My wife said that they would try to induce the symptom by testing the affected tooth with a cold liquid. I wasn't looking forward to that!

The doctor indeed performed a cold test, but she applied the cold liquid to an instrument, and touched that to my tooth. She then had me raise my hand to indicate the sensitivity rising and subsiding. She also took a small mallet and rapped a few of my teeth, with me again indicating when I felt the sting.

After looking at some x-rays, she laid it out. My problem tooth was number 29. It has 1) symptomatic irreversible pulpitis and 2) symptomatic apical periodontitis. Bottom line: pulp in my tooth has to be removed to relieve the pain. This is done by a root canal procedure. That happens in two weeks, after which I'll write Part 2 (the procedure and aftermath).