So, after several days of debating about what to do for my toothache I decided (with much prodding from Jenny) to go to the dentist.
Last night was horrible. I could barely swallow because the gland in my neck had swollen. I couldn’t talk without drooling all over myself because the knot on my gum had spread to under my tongue and each time I laid my head down my jaw and tooth throbbed.
At 1:30 am I found myself sitting in the garage (cause I was probably keeping everyone awake moving around), sitting on the concrete floor with a mouth full of gauze that had been soaked in clove oil and way too much ibuprofen in my body.
Finally at 2:30, I was so exhausted I was able to doze off as long as I was in a sitting position.
As soon as the local dental clinic opened, I called. “I’m sorry. We can’t see you until Monday.”
That was the same response I got from 6 different offices.
At about noon, I sent Jenny a text. I told her I was still trying to find a dentist because I knew that as quickly as my situation was deteriorating, I would not make it to Monday.
In fact, there were moments last night that I considered the idea of doing a bathroom extraction just so I could get a little relief from the pressure.
My only option was to go to the ER and see if I could get a prescription for antibiotics.
Well, my Jenny came to my rescue. She called and told me that her dentists office would squeeze me in if I could be there by 3pm.
I flew across town to get there on time.
I explained that in the past, my experience with dentists had been Army “quacks” who’d botched root canals, fucked up the removal of my wisdom teeth and in general made me feel worse than I did when I went in.
The hygienist was amazingly sweet. She explained everything she was doing and could see that I was in pain.
As she took the X Rays, she would check in with me. “Are you comfortable? Does this hurt? Let me know if this hurts.”
Shortly after she finished with her portion of my visit, a doctor popped her head in. “I’m sorry it’s taking so long. I’ll be back in just a second.”
I thought that considering I’d been squeezed in, it was going fairly quickly.
I’d only been in the back area for about 10 minutes when the dentist came in. She is about the same age as Jenny and I. A few years younger but still young by my stereotypical standards.
She was polite, understanding and sensitive to the fact that all I really wanted was some relief.
After looking at my X Rays, she then began “tapping” on each tooth in the back of my mouth.
“Does this hurt? How about this?” I explained that while it was a bit uncomfortable there really wasn’t any pain.
Her determination? I had a gum infection. She pointed out the bone in my “bite wing” (whatever that means) and explained that she couldn’t see anything really wrong with my teeth or the bone. Apparently, something had gotten under the gum line and my smoking causes it to get infected.
What’d she do then? I really don’t know. But whatever it was made all the difference in the world.
She must have ruptured the spot. Because (this gets kinda gross. Sorry) she said, “Yep, there’s the puss” and all of a sudden my mouth felt 100 times better. It didn’t hurt. No pain. None. The tapping was uncomfortable but they didn’t go into my mouth like cave dwellers digging for water!
She gave me a prescription for antibiotics and sent me on my merry way.
She told me to come back on Wednesday. She wants to get the infection cleared up enough that she can redo the X Rays and make sure there’s nothing more going on.
All in all it was a pleasant experience.
I think I may reconsider this whole dentist thing thanks to Dr. Anton.