It's over. It wasn't nearly as bad as I'd thought it was going to be.

16 March 2007

At 1000 EST5EDT I drove into the endodontist's office for the root canal procedure that I've been dreading for the past week-and-some.

The waiting's always worse than anything else, or at least that's what I've decided now that I've had two such procedures done so far. I showed up a couple of minutes early and was immediate greeted by Dr. Dellork and the attendant. Their manner is quite friendly, and immediately put me at ease, which is something that I very much needed at that point in time. Once room #1 was free, I was lead back to the.. you know, I'm not entirely sure what to refer to that part of the office as, so I'll just keep calling it an office.. office, sat down, and waited for Dr. Dellork to come in.

I'm glad that I brought a book with me, because I had something of a wait until he had reached a stopping point with another patient and walked over to get me set up for the root canal. First things first, he scooped up a goodly amount of benzocaine gel and placed it on my gum, way in the back, where the largest nerve trunk runs. Presently, I could feel the parts of my mouth that I was most concerned about lose sensation.

Better living through science and chemistry. He let me sit there for a while as he loaded up a hypodermic syringe with novocaine and carefully knocked the lower left quadrant of my face offline for the next hour. I thank all that is good and holy in this universe for the invention of novocaine, let me get that said and out of the way right now.

I'm glad that I brought a book with me this morning, because I wound up sitting for a while as Dr. Dellork took care of another patient. This gave me an opportunity to get good and numb sitting in the chair. In fact, I wound up sitting for so long killing time that I started to fear that the novocaine would wear off, something that I wanted no part of.

It took the endodontist a good ten minutes to drill through my crown, the cast post holding it in place, and the bottommost layer of enamel in the remaining tooth, probably the fastest drillwork that I've ever been under for any reason. Materials science, in particular the fabrication of diamond studded drill bits certainly rivals the synthesis of novocaine in significance in my book. Once the accessway was drilled, I took a couple more shots of novocaine right down into the molar, something that both reassurring and downright disturbing. It was especially disturbing when I felt the business end of the needle scraping around down inside the tooth, where things don't normally enter, leave, or move around for that matter.

Quite a few times in the next half hour or so, I jumped, yelped, or made other noises indicitive that something was not going quite right as Dr. Dellork removed the tissue from the roots of that particular molar. That's not anything new for me, actually - there's a good bit of hydrostatic pressure in such a small space generated by the tip of the file. It's not exactly painful, but it's also not particularly comfortable to feel friction or grinding down below the gum line.

The whole process was almost anticlimactic: About an hour after walking into the office, the root canal was complete, or at least stage one was. There is now a tiny little temporary filling plugging the accessway in my crown, and analgesics running in my bloodstream. It's taken me about six hours to write this post, all told, because I've been taking it easy, and have napped for the past few hours. No pain, nothing out of the ordinary, just.. tired.