On Wednesday, August 16, I had a scheduled appointment with my dentist first thing in the morning to fix a chipped tooth. But a couple nights earlier, I started to experience severe pain elsewhere, in tooth 19, for those of you keeping score.
So my dentist called an audible and had X-rays done. He saw nothing. I mean, he saw the tooth, but he couldn’t see anything wrong. So his office set me up to see an endodontist at 2:40 p.m. to fix it.
At 12:20 p.m., I got a call from the orthodontist’s office office asking if I could come in earlier, say 1:10. And I could have caught a 12:25 bus and gotten there. But I said “no” because I wanted to finish the reference question I started, and instead kept the original appointment.
Unfortunately, they were running late. While there was time to take the pictures of my tooth, with much more detail – think an MRI, though that’s technically incorrect – there wasn’t time to do the necessary root canal. And the next opening wasn’t until August 31.
So I was pretty uncomfortable, living on antibiotics and extra-strength pain relievers, which provided only a modicum of actual relief. I muddled through work and a five-day vacation in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.
What I discovered is that some food was OK – the obvious soft foods such as apple sauce and eggs. Cheese and sliced tomatoes were OK, if I ate them on the other side of my mouth. But some foods, such as broccoli and lettuce and raisin bran had the annoying habit of drifting to the wrong side of the mouth. MISERY!
Finally, the day of the procedure came. It’s not nearly as painful as it apparently was a generation ago. And while I was tired afterwards, and the mouth was sore from the manipulation, pain from the infection went away almost instantly. I still need to go back to my primary dentist to get the tooth capped.
I’ll admit I now regret my customer service orientation at work that, as it turned out, cost me two weeks of unnecessary pain.