I’ve heard tales of dental emergencies, full of crowns, caps, and root canals from those who have questionable oral hygiene. Or so I thought. I assumed the screaming call to the dentist was reserved for those slobs who never flossed, the people who, unlike me, did not brush their teeth religiously at work after lunch. Fast forward to this week when I experienced my first dental snafu and I take back my words. And judgmental thoughts. I take those back too.
Tooth pain hurts, people. It fecking hurts. I spent a chunk of time in my second least favorite medical contraption today when I sat in the dental chair. Those trained professionals dug, tapped, X-rayed, and prodded all sorts of things. I kept the saline from running out of my eyes and down my face as best I could. In the end, they couldn’t figure out what was behind the tiny, forceful fists punching up through my left bottom gum-line. They could not see small aliens in there trying to bust free as I had envisioned, but they mentioned a few possibilities.
I might have a degraded filling that needed replacing after forty years of service. That is the best case scenario and the thing I am hoping for with every fiber of my being. Another possibility is that the tooth is undergoing root resorption, meaning that the tooth is eating itself up from somewhere in the roots. Cannibal tooth. I’m picturing the Donner Party at a weeklong buffet of friends of neighbors. They can try to arrest this by performing a root canal which will stave it off for awhile and let me hang onto the traitor tooth. The worst case scenario is that the entire tooth is cracked apart below the gumline and cannot be saved. They will not know what is in there until they open things up. Next Thursday. Until then, I will continue to eat Alleve tablets around the clock and supplement them in the post working hours with wine until the tooth merely throbs. The throbbing is there to remind me that teeth aren’t a guarantee after middle age. Even brushing after every meal and flossing like it’s an Olympic sport won’t keep all the teeth viable. Sometimes teeth have an expiration date.