Good riddance to a bad molar

Or “I’ve had one hell of a history with dentists, and it’s mostly not that favorable.”

Friday, around 1p.m. or so, I had a molar pulled. It was an emergency extraction, and the molar was barely even a proper tooth anymore at this point. It had a long, very frustrating history, but I now have an odd hole in the back of my mouth. If this sort of thing bothers you, you may want to find different reading material.

Years and years ago, I had a cavity filled in my second to last molar on the right side of my mouth. These things happen, and they’re always a bother.

Fast forward quite a few years. My family had started seeing a new dentist, and they were very good at finding things that needed fixing. Suspiciously good, in fact. I’ll get back to that later, though. As it turns out, my cavity was filled improperly. You can’t just scoop out the filling and refill a tooth, however, so they had to grind the tooth down and put a crown on it. Whatever. That was bad enough, of course. I noticed my gums were sore around the tooth in question, and a particularly angry shade of red. I called and scheduled an appointment, because the next week would be my family’s first beach vacation in years. Needless to say, I wanted the vacation to be amazing.

It was a fantastic vacation, of course, save for the intense thunderstorm (during which I swear I heard tornado sirens, and I panicked and annoyed EVERYONE). Oh, and how by the end of the week I couldn’t even chew bread without my face hurting. The supposed inflammation was clearly more than inflammation. My last night in the Outer Banks was spent in misery, after taking a rather impressive amount of Ibuprofen (read as “more than the recommended dosage”). I did, however, try my very first tastes of Riesling, and I had a glass of…er, some sort of Jim Beam bourbon, I think. I actually don’t recall. Yes, I know mixing alcohol and painkillers is a remarkably bad idea. It’s not something I do as a habit, but it was something I did that night. It’s probably the only reason I didn’t go absolutely mad from the pain.

The week following my vacation, my then-girlfriend was visiting to meet my family and spend time with me (this was all before I had my license, which I didn’t get until I was twenty-six, and she didn’t drive either). The short, non-graphic version is I discovered I had a serious abscess. I ended up getting an emergency root canal, which was entirely miserable. The dentist had to drill down through the crown to perform the root canal.

She talked to her assistant about the work she was having done on her house at the time, which is almost funny to think about now.

Fast forward even more. I’ve been seeing a new dentist, who doesn’t find lots of fun and expensive things to do that aren’t necessarily needed. He pointed out a dark spot on my x-ray, just beneath, surprise, a certain molar. It could be scar tissue, he explained, or it could be infection that wasn’t removed.

This past Thursday revealed that it was, in fact, an infection. After all of that, I ended up having the damn molar pulled anyway. You know what? I feel a million times better already. What fascinates me most, I think, is how dentistry seems to be so full of uncertainty, but it has such serious implications in terms of overall health. Only a couple days after the infected tooth’s been out, and being on antibiotics, and I feel a hundred times better than I did for the past couple weeks.

In any event, this was just a sort of getting things down on paper. For all the trouble it caused me, it’s weird having a hole where that molar once was. I suppose, in reality, I could chalk all of this up to the fact I had to take painkillers earlier this evening, though. Move along. Nothing more to see here.

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