When I was a child, dental care was not on the family priority list. I can remember only one dental visit in my entire childhood. Tooth brushing was not really reinforced. I recall one dental visit at our school, to educate us on dental hygiene. They gave us some kind of chewable stuff that stuck to plaque. My teeth were pink for a couple of days.
Needless to say this lead to more than a few cavities. In my early twenties I had excellent dental coverage so I went in and had it all fixed, which involved the loss of six adult teeth. No big deal, just normal life, right? After all, my Mom got dentures in her twenties.
Fast forward ten years: A failed root canal while I was pregnant with Citygirl led to another lost tooth. Add a permanent bridge to cap three bad teeth and close up a two-tooth gap.
A couple of years ago the enamel on the bridge began to deteriorate. It was down to the metal in a couple of places. Add a good sinus infection and BAM! Permanent toothache. My dentist removed the damaged bridge this morning, looked at the teeth underneath and sent me off for a root canal.
Seriously. Can anybody else say they had a quarter of their mouth numbed totally up at 8 AM and then AGAIN at 6 PM on the SAME DANGED DAY??? (For that matter, can anyone say they got into an endodontist for a root canal less than 8 hours after their dentist recommended one?)
For those of you who have never had the pleasure, root canals involve opening the entire top of the tooth (not a problem since I'd already had the tooth crowned) and inserting what might as well be metal toothpicks directly up through the NERVE of the tooth until it's dead. No matter how much Novocain they give you, trust me - it isn't really enough.
Phase one is over - I go back for the second, far less painful part next week. And then back to the dentist to have the new bridge built and installed.
This is all just a metaphor for my life. We rush from crisis to crisis. Watching my beloved elderly deteriorate little by little is much worse than a root canal because there is no way to numb the pain, not even a little. We joke and laugh about how everybody's gears are slipping, but the nerve just keeps throbbing.