Monday, 15 December 2014
The Dentist-lovers amongst you might think this post demonstrates why you should go to the dentist (regularly), where as I think it demonstrates why you should NEVER go to the dentist. EVER. Nothing good can come of it.
So. When I finished my last full time contract in July, I told myself I would finally have time to go to the dentist and get a checkup and make sure everything was ok and perhaps get that chipped tooth looked at. So I did, and got it all sorted out and that's the end of the story. Except I actually didn't. Because I hate going to the dentist, it's expensive and it hurts. And then when you do go, they find lots of other things they want to do to you which will also hurt.
So I didn't go, and then I didn't go some more, and then I continued to not go.
And then I woke up at 3.15am on Friday covered in sweat and with a throbbing tooth. Dang. So being the courageous and brave and very responsible person I am, I booked an appointment with the dentist that morning.
After a few hours at work I headed to the dentist and explained my woes (including explaining my tendency to ignore dental issues). So he took a look and an x-ray and um-ed and ahh-ed (I prefer to think that he didn't gasp, but maybe he did) and then he explained that I had two options.
Option 1: Attempt a root canal, which would be tricky as there was already a filling in the tooth, and it would take a number of weeks/months, and cost $1500 bucks.
Option 2: Remove the tooth. He recommended this option as it was the very back tooth and said I wouldn't notice it, nor would it be visible. It would cost $200 bucks and be done straight away.
So I was happy to go along with option 2 as the last thing I wanted to be doing was returning to the dentist heaps of times and forking out heaps of bucks for the pleasure.
Now I had always imagined that pulling out a tooth would take 10 seconds and be very straight forward (just like in cartoons except without the bit where they attach the string to a horse). Turns out it's harder than that. It took almost an hour of yanking and jiggling and pushing and pulling and cracking (it broke into three) and then worst of all, in order to get purchase on the remaining bits, he had to drill into my jawbone. It was awful - the smell of burning bone was terrible and I thought I was going to spew. In the end it came out but it certainly was a lot harder than both of us were expecting and patients were queuing up outside in the waiting room as a result (I bet they just couldn't wait to get inside that surgery for their own fun). I'd had to get two local anaesthetic injections and consequently I was numb to my eyeballs and in shock at the sheer amount of force that was used. So I abandoned the thought of going back to work and went home and straight to bed.
As Jon was working I only had a couple of hours before I had to drag my still-numb face off to pick up the kids from school then take Zali to horse riding. It was while she was riding that the anaesthetic wore off and I was hit with the full force of the pain. It was pretty bad but luckily her lesson was only 1/2 an hour long so I was able to speed back home and take my one remaining Panadene Forte tablet I had left over from my ankle surgery a few years ago. It did the job magnificently and fifteen or so minutes later I was super relieved it was all over and even ready to go out for dinner with friends.
Unfortunately it wasn't all over and 2 hours later the pain was ramping up and my mood was spiralling downwards - we drove home via the supermarket where I grabbed a few different sorts of painkillers, none of which did any good at all, unless I doubled the dosage. And so the night and next day blurred into a pain and painkiller fuelled cycle. I didn't get one single minute of sleep on Saturday night as the over-the-counter tablets weren't doing anything and whilst I had some Endone (like morphine), which was really pleasant, it kept me awake and only lasted 90 minutes, after which I was right back where I started from.
So by Sunday morning I was a wreck. Thankfully my brother-in-law Rob, who is no stranger to pain himself, having suffered multiple sporting injuries and tooth trauma, had a supply of panadol forte and other good drugs. So first thing Sunday morning I collected his stores and finally got some good pain relief. The only thing was that the relief only lasted for about 2 hours, while packages said to take four to six hours between dosages. There was no way I was able to wait that long, so by the end of the day I recon I'd consumed more Panadol Forte than I had food, which is not at all good, especially coming off the back of the large amounts of over-the-counter stuff the day before. It really hurt though, so I didn't feel I had much option.
As well as providing the good drugs, Rob also recommend a nice combination of tablets for sleeping which thankfully worked a treat on Sunday night.
All this time I thought the pain was normal after an extraction - after all it was too soon for there to be any infection, and the Dentist said it had all gone ok in the end. So I just couldn't understand why on earth he had sent me home, on a Friday (thus with no access to him over the next two days), without a prescription for painkillers. So the first thing I did on Monday was ring up and ask for one (and complain about not being given one in the first place). The receptionist said I should get the dentist to take a look just in case while I was there so despite sitting in a dentist's chair being the last thing I ever wanted to do, I went down there and let him take a look.
And whaddayaknow.. turns out I had this thing called dry-socket, which occurs in 2-5% of patients where (stop reading if you feel queasy) a blood clot doesn't properly form over the site of the extraction, to cover the bone and allow healing behind it, so the bone and nerves remain exposed to everything, causing a lot of pain.
And I've just read on the internet that this is more likely to occur if you have a 'traumatic' extraction. tick. The website describes the condition as leading to 'severe pain'. tick tick and double tick.
So I got my panadol forte prescription and the wound got re-dressed and hopefully things will go better now. I can at least almost last from one recommended dosage to the next which is a big improvement.
So I think we've all learnt something from this experience. I certainly have, and as such I have cancelled my appointment for later in the week for a general check-up and clean. Just to be on the safe side.