Getting at the Root of it All

AP photo by Greg Baker


It was to be a simple procedure.  My dentist, the esteemed Dr. Torquemada, assured me that dental technology is so advanced these days, a root canal (which used to put fear into the hearts of every person 20 years ago) was a routine procedure.  He also reassured my fears (read: he gave me Valium) and patted my hand, telling me it would be pain-free (hello? needles?) and would not take long at all.

He was so wrong.  My rootine (lol) root canal turned into a root canyon and even though he had on those cool hi-tech glasses, I think his GPS kept correcting routes (roots? get it?  rofl – pain meds & blogging = so much fun)

You see most people have a tooth (well, actually most people have more than one tooth except for a few from certain areas of Kentucky)  and that tooth has one root.  When a root canal is requred, the dentist drills out that one root and all is peachy.

I, on the other hand, am always different.  Always.  I am a nonconformist.  My 16 faithful readers know this to be true.

So living up to my reputation, my achey-breaky tooth had not one, but THREE roots.  Oh crap on a crutch.  This was not going to be a quick appointment.

Dr Torquemada and his backup band set to work at 10 a.m. and I walked out of the office at about 1:15 p.m. dazed, with a terribly stiff back, and feeling as if that big roller machine that smooths out the asphalt on streets had run back and forth on the side of my face…and then went back a few more times for good measure.

The good news is I should be able to chew again on that side of my mouth soon.  The better news is my dental insurance should pick up most of the $1400 bill.  Yes, I said $1400.  Ridiculous – how badly I feel for those without any insurance.  I only had to cough up a co-pay of $120 and was very grateful.

Don’t get me wrong — I truly like my dentist; he’s very kind, patient, and truly understands those of us who have had traumatic dental experiences in the past. (My childhood dentist was a ringer for Vincent Price – need I say more?)  That’s why he hands out the Valium and he’s happy to write a prescription for pain meds, too.  You see, God made pain medicine for a reason and I am not one who “suffers in silence” nor do I “man-up” – I take the meds and conk out.  Smart cookie.

So here I am at the stage of my life where I share my medical stories with you.  I find that frightening and pitiful.  You, my faithful readers should be happy it was only a root canal procedure I went through….sigh…


9 thoughts on “Getting at the Root of it All

  1. Okay Linda, I only have one question for you. Since you’ve already experienced this procedure, if I need one – Will you be my stand in? LOL!
    umm….errr…uhhhh…. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I’d rather be stuck in a VW with clowns than go through that again and you KNOW how I feel about clowns!!!! lol

  2. Call in the hydraulic root chopper bucket. BTW, “the better the root structure, the better the crop”. #justsayin.
    Feel better, Sweetie. xoxo
    I think my dentist graduated top of his class at the University of Rotor Rooter!!! 😉 (ow) {hugs}

  3. Linda, we have something in common in terms of number of roots per tooth. I had a root canal done years ago by a dentist on a tooth that normally has 3 roots. He drilled the first 2 fine. The third root he attempted sent me to the ceiling in pain, and he did it not once, not twice but 3 times before deciding to send me to an endodontist for consultation. The second doc used the first x-rays and took some of his own. And upon examination said to me, “I don’t know what’s wrong with that dentist, you only have TWO roots”!!!! Arghhhhhhh, the needless pain I went thru. (Can I whine now?) LOL That dentist quit his dental position not long after (or could be he got fired by the group he was in). Justice was served in the end. I did get my money back for the one non-root, though I had to put out a bunch more to the endo guy:(
    Yikes! Dentist never told me I had 3 roots in that tooth – I kept wondering why he was hitting me with so many needles – after the 4th shot – he showed me the x-ray and that’s when I knew I was in for a rough time. sheesh Couldn’t have picked an easy tooth – he got thru 2 roots fine – the third one he only got thru part because of what he called calcification – beats the crap outta me – all I know is it hurt and today it hurts WORSE. ack – pain pills and the couch for me. 😉

  4. Sounds like a painful experience, and I’m sure you’re glad it’s over. I love the description of how your face felt afterwards – I so know that feeling. And is it some kind of record to have so many roots?
    My brother-in-law once noticed, a few hours after his dental appointment, that his face still looked swollen. He realised that he still had those cottonwool pads inside his mouth – hahahaha! 🙂
    I don’t know – I guess some teeth have more roots – I don’t understand it all – and I had taken a Valium an hour prior so as he was explaining I was thinking more of what I wanted to listen to on my iPod. LOL That’s funny about the cotton pads left in his mouth – no – I don’t have any left in my mouth but my face is swollen. Today will prob be worst and then it will fade away like all the other bad dental / doctor memories! lol {hugs}

  5. Ooohh, I hate dental procedures. I haven’t had to endure much except quite a few fillings and one crown, not bad so far, although I know my time will probably come. Give me the pills, give me the gas (you know the kind I mean), give me anything to take my mind off of what is going on! Just thinking about it makes me a little queasy. Sure hope my roots are normal…
    Sometimes life is not fun – thankfully I had a Valium, plenty of pain pills & a fully charged iPod!

  6. I hope you feel better soon!
    I’ve been lucky and not had to have any work like that done. I think I would rather have them pull the tooth!
    It was like something out of a Medieval torture chamber. Ack – I just kept turning up the volume on my iPod and tried not to think about what was going on. It’s been 2 days now and my face still hurts – dang dentist.

  7. I managed to read your post, but I can’t bear to read the comments. I’ve been pathological about dentists since I got a few teeth knocked out in an auto accident. But I hope the drugs and time are improving things!
    It’s okay baby, I’m pathological about it too since childhood – I’ll try not to blog about dental issues again for a long, long, long time!!! 😉 xo

  8. I cannot remember exactly how long it took for my one and only root canal to take place, but it ocurred with many office visits. My root was sideways and they would drill then pack it to stretch it out and then drill again and repack it. It took about 4 or 5 visits and two weeks inbetween each visit. Then they put a crown on it, and last year it fell off. So the new dentist had to put a screw down inside to hold the new crown. That took another 4 visits. Yup, pulling it out would have been one visit and then done with it. Sometimes maybe that is the better choice, but then again that new crown should be in there until I die.

    Sorry for all you went through and you are so lucky you get Valium. My dentist doesn’t even put me to sleep. I just sit there and squeeze my hands and look into the light……

    God bless.

    There was no way I was going thru it without Valium. Period. End of discussion. Way too many traumatic dental visits as a child w/Dr Vincent Price. Ugh. If I could afford it, I’d have ’em all pulled out and replaced with implants and be done with it. This ‘crown’ nonsense is getting on my nerves (and they’re expensive). Ack. I sincerely hope this is my first and last root canal!!

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