Friday, June 12, 2009

What would you do?

I had terrible problems with a back molar tooth last week.

This is the very back one on the upper right hand side. It's had a deep filling in the past and the dentist has said that it was close to the nerve and might cause future problems. Well, it started doing little twinges a few months ago which I ignored because I knew that would mean the last resort -root canal- which I didn't want to hear.

To cut a long story short, it began throbbing very severely and very suddenly as I lay in bed last Tuesday night. So bad in fact that I couldn't get back to sleep. Taking paracetemol only seemed to take the edge off the problem for a very little while at first and soon seemed to have no effect at all. I might as well have been swallowing lollies.

I tried to get into my local dentist but they were full up. I managed to contact the local dental emergency service at our local hospital. They do nothing unless you're in agony. By then, the intense pain was throbbing right through the tooth, gum and cheekbone so that touching it made me wince, so I managed to give a pretty good description. The lady told me to come to collect an authority for an emergency visit to any dental surgery I could manage to squeeze an appointment with. Just after I picked up the form I felt a sudden crack in that tooth, and found myself holding the old filling in my hand. Then there was a massive hole when I felt it with my tongue but at least the pain had eased somewhat.

I managed to get into a dental chair at about 3.30. At first I thought it might be OK. The dentist started saying, "Perhaps I only need to replace that filling. That'd be your best scenario." But as he started digging around back there, he said, "This doesn't look good at all." I hate it when you're lying flat on your back and dentists start saying that sort of thing! He said, "The nerve has just about worn away. No wonder you've been having trouble. I can give you two options, an extraction or root canal therapy, and I think I can save that tooth so I'd suggest the latter but you'll be looking at $1100. Today I'll just begin the treatment and you'll find the pain will lessen very quickly."

So here's the position I'm in now. The tooth is no longer aching or even twinging. I'm sitting here with the beginning of a root canal in my mouth but find that I can't stand the thought of paying over a thousand dollars on a back tooth! It never sees the light of day even when I smile. At this stage I choose to opt for the extraction. Some people have been saying, "Once it's gone, you'll never have it back." But my sister had a back molar extracted once rather than paying for a root canal and she says she's never missed that tooth. Since my dh has been studying and doing odd jobs rather than working a full-time job money has been very scarce. We've had the household incentive payment from the government so if I really wanted to, we could spend a chunk of that on the tooth, but there are so many other great and sorely-needed things that money could be spent on, including curriculum, clothes and decent shoes for growing feet. Hence my question, what would YOU do?

In fact, does anybody know a bit about dentistry. I'm on a waiting list to have a cheap dental check-up at the local hospital but my name probably won't come up for over 18 months. If I could go around with the start of this root canal in my mouth for that long I would. Do you think this temporary measure would last for a year or more? At the moment, I'm still expecting it'll be the extraction in about a month.


  1. I'm probably the wrong person to ask about this, since I'm terrified of dentists. :o) I can offer some advice that my children's wonderful dentist gave a friend of mine. This friend had recommended the dentist to us. She had teeth in really bad shape but couldn't afford the several root canals that needed to be done. The dentist suggested she brush after every meal and come for regular check ups to keep an eye on the situation. I don't know if she ever got the work done, but brushing regularly after every meal is sound advice to me. At least it will keep things from getting worse.

    Feel better! I'm happy you liked Mary Ann's article!

    Peace and Laughter,

  2. Todd listened as I read your post to him. He is emphatic - never, ever pull a tooth unless it's unfixable. He is very firm on this. My dentist felt the same way when I suggested he pull a tooth of mine - he said pulling teeth can jeopardize one's jaw integrity. So, there's the opinion of an American dentist and my nurse husband. As for me, I have often felt like you, just pull it and spare me the time and money. But ... since this advice comes from men I respect and have known a long time, I think they may have the right idea. Pray for God's guidance - teeth issues are never easy. I wish I could help more! Could you make payments over time for the dental work? Just a thought. I'll pray for you.

    Take care,

  3. I would have that puppy pulled. If it never sees daylight and is not vital to your every day living, let it go!!!

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