Root Canal in Japan part 3

If you haven’t read parts 1 and 2, I suggest you go back and take a peek. – Parts 1 and 2

So, after the last visit I was starting to dread the next one.  I knew it was going to be routine maintenance but I just didn’t want to go.  I made myself get out of bed and head to the dentist though.

My train was delayed leaving Meinohama, so I arrived at the dentist right on time.  I turned in my appointment card and health insurance card and sat down.  2 minutes later they were already calling me back.  She told me today they were going to clean it again and that she had extra time today, so if she finished early she was going to start measuring my gum pockets.  I just nodded my head, my thoughts drifting to my hope that the whole thing would be over as quickly as possible.

She starts by drilling off the temporary filling and pulling things out of my tooth.  All of this is painless but feels a bit strange.  Then she starts sticking a tool up there to feel around and see if I feel any pain.  Every thing is going well at this point, so she starts sticking the file up there (barbed brush – tool of the devils) and of course it hurts in the one canal.  The pain is less than it was last time, so I just gritted my teeth and bared with it.

After a while she thought they were clean enough to be filled, but she wanted to be 100%, so she stuck these wooden sticks in and sent me off for an x-ray.  This wasn’t as bad as when I had the metal needles sticking out, but still a bit uncomfortable as I couldn’t bite down. After the x-ray, she sat me back in my chair and pulled it up.  Now for the bad news.  The canal that was causing me the most pain has a lesion at the end.

A lesion.  Thank you junior dentist.  Image from: JuniorDentist.com

A lesion, kind of like this. Thank you junior dentist. Image from: JuniorDentist.com

A lesion, hurray!  And then, she was looking at the image and thought she spotted what looked like a fourth root.

Remember I had told you before she thought I might have one, but that it’s rare.  When I came back and I didn’t have any pain she figured I didn’t, but seeing the x-ray, she was about 90% sure. So, she starts digging around.

Now, just in case you aren’t aware, I’m not NUMB at this point.  Because the roots are gone I shouldn’t feel any pain, essentially the tooth is dead.  But now she’s digging around in my tooth to find an active root.  I almost jumped out of the chair.

And then she finds it.

And I feel nothing.  I almost cried from relief.

I had a bit of discomfort, but she said the nerve had long since been dead and that it had already started to calcify.  She told me it wasn’t too bad, and because there was no pain it would be alright.  She squeezed some medicine into the calcified root and the one with the lesion and sent me on my merry way.  No measuring of gum pockets, she had decided I had been through enough that day.

Of course, out of all people, I would just happen to have a fourth root.  Thankfully the nerve was already dead and there wasn’t any pain, but I don’t know what I would’ve done if she had found it and it was live.  Probably punched her or the assistant in the face (accidentally, but still!).

As soon as she started digging for the fourth one my whole body tensed.  After the whole ordeal I was left feeling physically exhausted.

It’s taken me a couple days to write this because all I’ve been able to do is go to work and rest. Following the procedure the tooth and area around it is pretty sore, usually from the pain of having my jaw open for long periods of time and all of the filing/drilling/cleaning.  I just take a whole bunch of pain meds, pray I make it through teaching my classes and head home and hit the bed.  Thankfully on Tuesday by about 7 p.m. the pain was already starting to fade. I’m worried what part four is going to bring.

I head back to the dentist on the 29th.  That’s 3 days after a mole removal surgery.  This is a hell of a month for health-related concerns.  I just want it to be over! 😦

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