I really can’t recommend root canals highly enough. I had my first one on Wednesday; now I think everyone should get one.
Of course, there’s a reason for my enthusiasm that may be unique to me. The first part of last week was not good. I had a headache all weekend. At first I blamed this on the fancy Belgian cider I had consumed at fake Thanksgiving; that, and the universe immediately refuting the somewhat Nietzschean theory of hangover evasion that I had explained to Yglesias at drunken length.
But the headache grew, and then started coming in waves, and then the waves stopped having troughs, and it pretty much felt like someone was crushing the side of my skull with an aluminum baseball bat and the moment of impact had been frozen in time. It made for a pretty unproductive week. I hereby apologize for the following tasks and traits that I failed to perform and/or exhibit as a result of my discomfort:
- Conference call attentiveness
- Abstention from pathetic muttering/angry cursing
- Affable rock concert co-attendance
- Subway conversation
- Cordial greeting of the oh-you’re-outside-the-party-smoking variety
- Birthday enthusiasm
- Eating solid food at normal rates
- Web content provision
I went to see the dentist pretty soon after this started — the pain seemed to radiate from suspiciously close to the tooth that had been irritatingly sensitive to cold since my massive filling session. WebMD was, as usual, almost completely useless, but it did get across the point that failure to have tooth pain checked out is a bad idea if you’re at all fond of your jaw. The dentist took an x-ray and assured me that she continued to have a high opinion of the work she had done. I said I didn’t want to cause a fuss and would try to tough it out. Doubtless I was just a victim of our society’s collective neuroticism — I’d probably seen an ad for tooth pain on the subway or something.
But things got worse that evening. Having been told my tooth was fine, I started shopping for candidate diseases on Wikipedia. TMJ? Kinda lame, to be honest, and it didn’t really fit the symptoms. But from there I found atypical trigeminal neuralgia — man, I was sorry to let that one go. I heartily recommend it to any hypochondriacs looking for an especially dire explanation for a headache. It can be difficult to treat and is so frequently misdiagnosed that (Wikipedia claims) it’s sometimes called “the suicide disease”. Now we’re talking!
Sadly, it turns out that I just had a prosaic infection, and that the pain was coming from the nerve’s death throes. When I returned to the dentist the next day to insist on treatment (or at least a prescription for something fun), she referred me to an endodontic specialist a few blocks away. There, a doctor with a very Hispanic name and very midwestern mannerisms quickly diagnosed and treated me. Man! It was great. She was so good and the relief so immediate that I couldn’t help developing a little crush on her. The only pain I felt was the prick of the novocaine needle, which — if you’ve ever flattered yourself by imagining that you’re in the 51st percentile or better of population-wide toughness (and pretty much all guys do, pretty much all the time) — is the sort of pain that you really can’t complain about.
All in all, it was about a million times better than Emily’s experience, and although I didn’t wind up with any painkillers, I did walk away with an awesome metal instrument for emergency dental self-intervention during Thanksgiving travel (the specific procedure also calls for a butane lighter — I know!).
Anyway, root canals: recommended! Would buy from again.