It's amazing what a couple of pots of coffee can do.

06 March 2009

It's been one of those weeks where I've got nothing I wanted to get done accomplished, but a great deal that I needed to do got taken care of.

Wednesday afternoon was my rescheduled root canal for tooth #31, the next-to-last molar on the bottom right side of my mouth. Unlike previous times, this tooth wasn't actually too badly off; the nerve, I'm told, wasn't as heavily involved like the other couple of times so it was a pretty straightforward task for Dr. Brian Suh, the grand master of endodontics, to drill it out and start carving away. As before, he even remembered the extra nerves I have in those particular teeth and when he broke through into the pulp took a long, pistol-shaped syringe and nailed me a couple of times right in the (dental) business to knock it out. After that, all I could do was sit back and try to relax as he went to town with those tiny little files, scraping, rasping, and digging infected soft tissue out of a slightly cracked molar.

I say 'try' to relax because sitting in the dentist's chair is never a relaxing thing when it comes to oral surgery. Not only is it unpleasant and uncomfortable, but it always has me digging my fingertips into the arms of the chair so that my hands don't shake. I also find it unusually tiring. So, after the metal and rubber bondage gear dental dam and framework were unclamped from my mouth I managed to mumble a somewhat coherent question: is it true that local anesthetics really have epinephrine mixed into them for its vasoconstrictive effects? The answer it that only some locals, namely my good friend lidocaine are indeed combined with epinephrine (more commonly referred to as adrenalin) because otherwise the local bloodstream would begin to lower the concentration of the drug too fast for it to last all the way through whatever procedure it was administered for. The down side of this is that the levels of epinephrine in the bloodstream are increased, much as they would be for, say, just barely dodging a dumptruck that jumped the kerb, finding out that the IRS really doesn't want to audit your tax return, or realizing that the guy who just tripped and fell was about to stab you.

The soft tissue damage was minimal enough that I wasn't prescribed any painkillers after the procedure, save for the bottle of Aleve that I've been carrying around like a binky for the past few days. While the aftermath doesn't actually hurt, the tooth in question does give off an odd sensation of discomfort from time to time. The last S-O-S cries of dying nerves screaming to the brain that they've been abused in the same way that a Thanksgiving turkey thrown into the maw of a wood chipper has been abused. I'm pretty certain that the remaining nerves in that location will give up the ghost in another two or three days, when they realize that they reallly won't be getting any repairs.

Either that, or I'll be writing yet another post to the effect of "I'm in a lot of pain, my dental work went pear-shaped, life sucks."